What is an SR-1 Form and When Do You Need It?
Thousands of vehicular collisions occur every year in the state of California alone. Given the ever-busy streets in the Golden State, especially in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, a car accident resulting in serious injuries, wrongful death, or property damage can happen to anyone.
If you or a loved one gets involved in an accident, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires you to fill out an SR-1. This document is as important for documentation as it is for your injury claim. Also called a Driver’s Accident Report, it is a document that provides the DMV with detailed information about a car accident.
When Do You Need to Fill Out an SR-1?
What is an SR-1 form, and when do you need it? California law requires anyone who suffers a major car accident within its jurisdiction to fill out an SR-1 form with the DMV within ten days of the incident.
This requirement transcends liability, insurance policies, vehicle registration, and traffic accident reports. This means you will have to fill it out if:
- You are the driver at fault
- You do not have the necessary auto insurance
- Your vehicle registration and driver’s license are not up to date
- There is no traffic accident report
- There IS a traffic accident report, and authorities were at the scene of the accident
SR-1 Form Filing Exceptions
Do you need to fill out the DMV SR-1 for every car accident that occurs? The answer to this question is NO.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), if property damage is below $1000, or the incident happened on the driver’s private property, and no one suffered any personal injury or wrongful death, then filling out the SR-1 self-report form is no longer required. In other words, you will have to fill out an SR-1 only if:
- Property damage costs $1000 and above
- Any member of the parties involved in the car accident sustained bodily injury
- Any member of the involved parties dies from the injuries sustained in the car accident
Filling Out The DMV SR-1 Form
The SR-1 is a 3-page document that shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to fill out if you have complete information regarding the auto accident. It does not ask for any personal information but instead requires you to provide details such as:
- Names of the parties involved and how to contact them
- Information of the vehicles involved (make and model, license plates)
- Description of the accident
- Property damage details
- Insurance information
Do I Need To Fill Out Form SR-1 For A Scratch?
No, you do not need to fill out the DMV SR-1 if the only damage sustained is a scratch or dent. It is meant for major accidents where there are significant damages or personal injuries suffered by any of the parties involved.
Why File an SR-1 Report?
We know what you are thinking. Why file another report if the incident has been documented by the authorities? Should I turn in an SR-1 form even though the police already sent an investigation? Yes, you do.
Apart from gathering statistical information regarding motor vehicle collisions, SR-1 report forms are used as evidence if an uninsured driver or underinsured motorist is involved in a vehicle accident. An uninsured motorist is someone without auto insurance, while an underinsured motorist is an individual who does not have sufficient liability coverage.
Failure to Report a “Reportable Accident”
The failure to file a report of a “reportable accident” could get your driving privileges suspended as a result. Even worse, it is violating California Vehicle Code 20002 on accidents and accident reports.
Said code states in part that “the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists.” Leaving the scene while neglecting any portion of the CVC 20002 will result in:
- Jail time of up to 6 months
- Fine of $1,000
There are many things that can potentially go wrong if you fail to file an SR-1 form. From an insurance company dismissing your claim to the other party shifting all liability to you, these things can quickly escalate and become a major source of stress.
That is why regardless of whether or not the incident is a minor accident, if it qualifies as a “reportable accident,” make sure you submit an SR-1 to the DMV.
Can You Amend a DMV SR-1 Form?
Yes, you can. You will have to file a written request with the DMV to make any changes or amendments to your already filed SR-1 form.
Fill Out an SR-1 Form Here
If you want to fill out and submit the form online, you can do so by clicking here. You can also print a copy to manually fill out the form. Once done, you will have to mail it straight to the DMV. Just be aware that forms submitted online are processed faster than those that go through traditional mail.
The Process After Filing Form SR-1 with DMV
After filing your SR-1 form, the DMV will investigate the accident and determine who was at fault. They will also check if any of the parties involved were driving without insurance or had an expired license. If you are found to be at fault for the accident, your license may be suspended.
It is important that you seek the help of an experienced car accident lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected and to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Reputable California Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are not unsure how to go about it, there is absolutely no need to worry. Our team of personal injury attorneys at Farahi Law Firm can help you if you find yourself a victim of an accident by somebody else’s fault.
We work on a No Win, No Fee guarantee, meaning you don’t have to spend any money out of your pocket until your case is won. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. We speak English and Spanish and are available 24/7.