The steps you take in the aftermath of a California bicycle accident may have far-reaching effects. If you wind up suffering a serious injury in the crash, the actions you took right afterward may have a substantial impact on the outcome of your personal injury case.
Per the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles, there are laws requiring you to report any California car-on-bike crashes involving injury, death or property damage within 10 days of the incident occurring.
The traffic collision report
If the bike wreck is serious enough to warrant calling law enforcement to the scene, then the law enforcement official who arrives at the crash site typically creates something called a traffic collision report. While the report includes a summary of what occurred, it is not admissible in court. However, it may become useful if you go find yourself going back and forth with insurance companies after the incident and need documentation to back up your claims.
The SR1 form
You also have a legal obligation to file an SR-1 report with the Department of Motor Vehicles detailing any car-on-bike wreck involving property damage, injury or death. The report is relatively simple to create and should include your personal information and anyone else involved in the incident. You should also include information about where the crash occurred, what might have contributed to it and what types of injuries, fatalities or property damage resulted from it.
Missing any of the deadlines associated with making reports after a bike crash may leave you with little or no legal recourse.