Depending on the state laws, when you need to file a police report can be different. In most states, it is required to file a police report if someone was injured, killed, or if the property damage is above a certain amount. In compliance with the California Vehicle Code section 20008, you are only required to report an accident to the California Highway Patrol or the police department when the collision contributes to a death or injury. When the police arrive they will create their own accident report which alleviates your responsibility in doing so.
Under California law you do not have to call the police unless you or the other person is injured. However, alerting the authorities is in your best interest as it can help prove the negligence of another driver, the city, or outside circumstances that affected the accident. Regardless of how small the accident may be or the damage done, it is recommended to call the police as it will strengthen your insurance claim, especially since certain personal injuries such as brain damage and whiplash injuries can take some time to take effect.
Without a doubt, you should absolutely call the police if:
- You are part of a Hit and Run accident
- You or anyone else has been injured
- You suspect the driver is drunk, over tired, or under the influence of any legal or illegal drugs
- The driver is aggressive, uncooperative, or flat out refuses to share their insurance information with you