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Will California Police Respond to My Accident?

Even though they happen almost every day throughout California, being in a car accident can be extremely stressful and scary. This is especially true if you’re injured, or if the underlying cause was another driver doing something illegal. In these instances, one of the things you’ll need to do is call the police so they can respond to the scene. But sometimes, for any number of reasons, this might not happen.

Are You Supposed to Call the Police After a Car Accident?

Like most states, California law says that you must call the police after you’re in a car accident where there’s an injury or death. Not only is it wise legally, but in many cases, it’s also necessary for your insurance carrier. This is because a police presence usually means the gathering of essential evidence that will very likely form the foundation of your claim.

Despite this fact, a police report is actually not admissible as evidence in a court case in California, because ultimately it relies on hearsay. That said, the actual information that the police can help you get is nonetheless vital. Most of the time, the police will help:

  • Clear the accident scene and begin moving traffic
  • Help you get to a safe place and call for medical help
  • Take down your contact and insurance information, and will get the same from anyone else involved
  • Get vehicle, weather, and any other pertinent information

Sometimes, these reports will even include a preliminary determination of who is at fault in the accident itself.

Will the Police Respond to My Accident?

While we usually expect a quick response from the police, there are times when they may be dealing with things that are of a higher priority at the time. Staffing issues and resources come into play here, as well. But generally, if the police don’t respond to your accident, it’s because:

  • They’re dealing with a criminal matter
  • They’re protecting the public in an emergency situation
  • They’ve been called elsewhere and they don’t have the manpower to respond at the moment

Regardless of the reasoning, if the police don’t respond to your accident, you can still take matters into your own hands. In these situations, make sure to do the following:

  • Take pictures or videos of the damage
  • Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver or anyone else involved
  • Gather detailed information about the incident
  • Get names and contact details of any witnesses
  • Get recorded statements if possible
  • Don’t admit fault or apologize

Even if the police don’t show up initially, you can later request that the police make a report after the fact.

Obviously, it can be problematic if the police don’t arrive at the scene following an accident. On top of your injuries and vehicle damage, you’ll likely be trying to gather the type of information that is absolutely necessary for strengthening a potential legal claim. What’s important to remember is that you’re not alone. After you’re able to get all the information you can, you can contact an experienced California car accident lawyer to further discuss your options.

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