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True or False: 5 Must-Know Questions on Post-Accident Driver Responsibility

As a California personal injury lawyer, I represent many people that have been involved in automobile accidents. Therefore, I have to have a good command of our state's rules that govern the privilege of driving on our state's roads. Rules like the requirement to have active auto insurance for your car will impact your measure of recovery if you get injured in an accident. Did I mention that everyone knows someone who has been involved in a vehicle accident?

Some driving rules are so fundamental that everyone should know them, if not to be well-informed, then to avoid being penalized for not following them.

Don't get penalized. Test your knowledge with this short "true or false" quiz. Keep your answers in mind. And then on Friday, December 14th, 2012, I will update this post with the answers.

1. True or False?

Facts: Auto accident, involving two vehicles on private property in Los Angeles, CA. One of the motorists sustained a one inch long cut on his right arm with little-to-no blood. Both drivers must notify the DMV about the accident.

Answer: True. When a driver is involved in an auto accident in CA, they must notify the DMV within 10 days of the accident (by filling out an SR 1 form) if anyone is injured—not matter how minor.

2. True or False?

Facts: A vehicle owner that parks her car on a California road for long periods of time, but does not drive it, is not required to maintain minimum automobile liability insurance for the time in which she does not drive her car.

Answer: False. A vehicle owner must maintain active liability insurance on her vehicle when the vehicle is parked or driven on California roads.

3. True or False?

Facts: Rear end auto accident, involving two vehicles on a public highway in Hermosa Beach, CA. The accident will likely be classified as a low-speed collision because the vehicles were not traveling fast when the collision occurred. Neither of the drivers were injured. The car that got rear ended only has minor paint damage. The rear ending car (whose driver was at fault) is slightly worse off with minor paint damage to the hood, a cracked front head light and a dented front fender. Only the driver that caused the accident must notify the DMV about the accident within 10 days.

Answer: False. When vehicles are involved in an accident in CA, the drivers of all vehicles involved in the accident must notify the DMV of the accident within 10 days if any vehicles or other property has more than $750 worth of damage. Here, the rear ending car most likely sustained at least $750 in body damage. Thus, both drivers must report the accident to the DMV within 10 days by filing and SR 1 form.

4. True or False?

Facts: If you are involved in a minor two-vehicle car accident that was caused by another driver, you have the right not to notify your own insurance company about the collision, so long as you are not injured and the other driver agrees in writing to pay for any damage to your car.

Answer: False. Car insurance policies contain a clause that creates a contractual duty for the insured to inform their insurance company when a covered vehicle is involved in an accident.

5. True or False?

Facts: It is a myth that if you hit a parked car and you can't locate the owner, you are supposed to leave a note that contains your contact information on the parked car.

Answer: False. Believe it or not, California provides that if you hit a parked car, you must notify the owner of the vehicle about the accident. If you cannot locate the owner, you are supposed to leave a note on the car.