Should I Report My Accident to the DMV?

Should I Report My Accident to the DMV?

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Should I Report My Accident to the DMV?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) maintains accurate records of everything motor vehicle-related within their jurisdiction, including changes of vehicle ownership, license information, and reports of car accidents.

Some states require motorists involved in accidents to report every accident, while others require it after a certain dollar amount of property damage. Some people think that their police report is enough documentation for government regulations, but it’s often not the case. The police department may not file your incident with the proper organizations or wait too long, which can land you in legal trouble.

It’s recommended that anyone involved in a car accident confirm the DMV’s receipt of their police report to ensure they’re on the right side of the law. Continue reading for more information about the process and some frequently asked questions.

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  • How Can I Report an Accident to the DMV?

    Every jurisdiction has different rules. If you’re involved in an accident, you need to check with your local DMV office and inquire about their reporting process. This can be done by visiting in person or online.

    Failing to report an accident can result in fines or license suspensions. You don’t want to find out your license is suspended during a traffic stop or have penalties accumulate late payments, so it’s best to contact the DMV sooner rather than later. 

    Although it might be challenging after an accident, it’s important for your financial and legal future.

  • Does a Police Report Get Filed With the DMV?

    The police department should file your accident with the DMV, but they might not. This leaves the DMV without record of your accident and can force them to make legal decisions that affect you financially.

    You should contact the DMV to confirm their receipt of your accident record. If not, you can quickly right the wrong and protect yourself from a future headache. Remember to keep evidence of their confirmation of your documents, too, just in case an error occurs in the future.

  • How Do I Find My DMV’s Rules?

    You can quickly find the regulations for your jurisdiction by searching online or by visiting your local DMV in person. Online, there might be a portal containing tools to report your accident. Other jurisdictions require drivers to report their accidents by mail.

  • What Happens if I Wait Too Long to Report an Accident With the DMV?

    If you wait too long and receive notice that you’re facing legal penalties, you should contact an attorney to understand more about the situation. There may have been a clerical error on the DMV’s part that resulted in your error, or the police department could have acted negligently and failed to report your accident. In either case, having an attorney by your side puts someone in your corner who knows how to leverage your rights in situations like these, giving you a much better chance of reaching a successful outcome.

    If you reported your accident to the DMV and are incorrectly damaged by legal action, or your police department failed to report your incident for one reason or another, Morgan and Morgan can help you explore your legal options and, if you have a case, advocate for your rights. Complete a free, no-risk case evaluation to get started.


    In some states, all accidents must be reported to the DMV or face possible fines and/or license suspension.

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