Fail to File the Right Document after your Accident-Lose Your License!

by Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation
Contact

Barry Goldberg has found that most clients are shocked when they learn that they could lose their licenses after an accident---even if they were not at fault and even if they had sufficient liability insurance! Moreover, most people incorrectly think that reporting an accident to the police or to their insurance company is all that is required under the law. They believe that---somehow—the California Department of Motor Vehicles will learn about the accident and be sympathetic because they were not at fault, were injured and carry at least the required amount of automobile liability insurance. But, the DMV requires the filing of an SR-1 Form which identifies you and your insurance within 10 days of an accident.

The truth is that your insurance company will not file an SR-1 Form. They probably will not even tell you that it is required. They are not your "Good Neighbor" in this respect. Further, the police and the DMV are not one in the same. The police just take down the information---they do not do anything with it! If YOU fail to file an SR-1 Form with the DMV—YOU get your license suspended for one year! No excuses accepted!

The reason that the consequences are so severe is that the little old SR-1 Form is the single link in a complex system known as the Financial Responsibility Laws. Without the SR-1 Form, the laws do not work. Many people would be surprised to learn that the state's exclusive method of enforcing that all drivers are insured as required is from the reporting of accidents.

The law requires that traffic accidents on any California street, highway or private property must be reported to the DMV within 10 days if there was an injury, death or property damage in excess of $750. The SR-1 Form forwards your information and information about the adverse driver to the respective insurance companies for verification. When it is determined that the adverse party does not have insurance, you need this information in the form of an SR-19 Form to access your own Uninsured Motorist Coverage. The offending driver without insurance has his or her license suspended immediately.

It is a bit tricky if YOU are the one without proper insurance! Do you dare not report the accident? If you do, your license will be automatically suspended. If you do not, you must hope that the adverse party forgets to report the accident.

Remember, the law requires the driver to file an SR-1 Form regardless of fault. The report must be made in addition to any other report filed with a law enforcement agency, insurance company, or the California Highway patrol. An attorney is permitted to file the report for the driver. Our office always provides this service to clients.

California Vehicle Code section 1806 requires the DMV to record accident information regardless of fault when drivers report accidents under the Financial Responsibility Law and if law enforcement agencies make a report. In fact, insurance companies access DMV accident information to determine an applicant's driving record and to adjust insurance premiums.

If you were in an accident and forgot to file the SR-1 Form you may still be Okay. Internal DMV policy is to give all drivers a "second chance." If another driver filed an SR-1 Form identifying YOU, the DMV will send you a "last chance" letter to your last known address even though it is well past 10 days after an accident. If YOU receive one of these letters, you must act within 10 days or your license will be suspended for one year. Do not rely on the DMV to have your correct address thinking that you will get a "last chance." We hear stories from clients all the time that they never got their "second chance."

There is also an interesting internal policy that the DMV seems to selectively enforce. The DMV states that it does not accept reports or take actions against non-reporting or uninsured motorists unless the SR-1 Form is received by the DMV within one calendar year of the date of the accident. So, if you were uninsured and one year has passed, you may have gotten lucky. But, it is also a warning to accident victims to promptly file all documents in order to access Uninsured Motorist Benefits. The DMV's internal procedure conflicts with two statute of limitations to pursue a personal injury action, including the pursuit of Uninsured Motorist claims. Although it is possible to prove that an adverse driver was uninsured without a DMV SR-19 Form, it is more difficult and always more expensive.

Of course, if you are confused or uncertain about your reporting requirements, do not ignore the law and risk losing your license. Consult promptly with and experienced personal injury attorney right away.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation
Contact
more
less

Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!