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Should You Call the Police if You’re in an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist?

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, the average American driver has three to four accidents in their lifetime.Though having car insurance is required by law, some drivers may be negligent or confused about the Los Angeles car laws. West Coast Trial Lawyers is the top-ranking personal injury law firm in Los Angeles and can answer any questions you have about your insurance policy or lack thereof.

Minimum California Auto Insurance 

In California, it is mandatory that every car owner registers for at least the minimum amount of auto insurance. This auto insurance policy is set in place not only for your protection but for the safety of your passengers, pedestrians and other drivers, as well.

Why Should You Call the Police After an Accident?

Depending on state laws, the circumstances under which you need to file a police report after an accident may differ. In most states, it is required to file a police report if someone was injured or 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 at the scene of the accident, they will create an official accident report. Alerting the authorities at the scene of an accident can help prove the negligence of another driver, the city, or outside circumstances that affected the collision. Having an official police report will also strengthen your insurance claim. A strong insurance claim is important, especially when it comes to receiving coverage for personal injuries.

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

What to Do if You Choose NOT to Call the Police

Though it is ill-advised, depending on the situation, you may opt not to call the police. If you prefer not to do so, understand that you are diminishing the likelihood of winning a favorable insurance claim. Regardless of your decision, you should know what to do after a car accident. In order to best protect yourself, be sure to collect the following information:

  1. Contact details of the other driver (or drivers involved) including their name, address, and telephone number
  2. The driver’s license plate number
  3. Description of the car, including the  make, model, and color
  4.  The name of the other driver’s insurance company

What Happens if There Is No Police Report?

Some drivers think that if there is no police report then there is no proof that the accident ever happened. This is completely false as many drivers can still be sued without the written documentation. In such cases, witness testimony, video evidence and driving records may be examined by the court. Though a report is not exactly necessary, it is a written account that can help strengthen and prove your case. It is not up to the police to assign fault or blame but presenting a written account is certainly a way to prove you’ve done your diligence.

Available Damages

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact  are only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

What to Do if You Do Not Have a Police Report and Need to File a Claim 

If you do not have a police report you may be confused as to how you can prove your case. The insurance company may challenge the situation with a comparative negligence claim in order to diminish your reward. When challenged by colossal insurance companies be sure to reach out to the qualified attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

Read More About Car Accidents 
Our excellent team of car accident attorneys have created several resources for you to read through. Feel free to browse these topics and read the ones you would like to learn about more.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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