What Is an SR1 Form: How & When to File a California SR-1 With the DMV

sr-1 form

Being involved in a vehicle accident in California can be a stressful experience, and understanding the various legal requirements can make it even more overwhelming. One such requirement is the medical report form, a crucial document that needs to be filed in specific circumstances.


This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on the complexities surrounding the SR1, providing you with the information you need to navigate the aftermath of a traffic accident in California.

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What is an SR-1 Form in California?

what is an sr 1 form in california

Officially known as the “Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California,” it is a document required by law — mandated by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


This form serves as an official report of a traffic accident and is required by California law when an accident involves injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000.

When Do You Need an SR1 Form with the California DMV?

Understanding when you need to file this form is essential to comply with California’s regulations. You are required to submit in the following circumstances:

  1. Injury or Death: If the accident results in injury to any party involved, regardless of how minor or severe, or if there is a fatality, you must file a report.
  2. Property Damage Exceeding $1,000: If the accident causes property damage exceeding $1,000, it is considered reportable, and you need to fill out the SR-1 form.

It’s important to note that these requirements apply to all parties involved in the accident, regardless of who is at fault.

How Long Does a Car Accident Stay on Your Record?

As per the California Vehicle Code, a traffic accident typically remains on your driving record for three years. However, the duration can vary depending on various factors.


For example, if the accident involved driving under the influence (DUI) or other serious infractions, it may stay on your record for a longer period. The DMV is unable to guarantee the exact length of time an accident will be on record.


Note that once you report a traffic accident, it will not be removed from your driver’s record until the date stated in the SR1 form.  If you disagree with any information provided on the form, you may file a dispute and request that corrections be made.


It’s best to contact your insurance company or local DMV field office for more details regarding possible changes in the duration of time an accident stays on your record.

Who Fills Out the SR-1 Report?

The responsibility of completing the form falls on the driver involved in an accident. However, if the driver is unable to fill out the form due to injuries sustained in the incident, a legal representative or a member of law enforcement can send the form to the DMV on their behalf. It’s crucial to ensure the form is accurately completed with all the necessary information.

Deadline to Fill Out an SR1 Form California

Timing is of the essence when it comes to filing. California law requires that the form be submitted to the DMV within 10 days of the accident. Failing to meet this deadline can have severe consequences, including the suspension of your driver’s license and driving privileges until the report is filed.

Failure to Report:
Consequences of Not Reporting an Accident

Failure to report a car accident in California that requires an SR1 form can result in significant repercussions. The most immediate consequence is the suspension of your driver’s license (California Vehicle Code §16004).


This suspension will remain in effect until the report is filed and processed by the DMV. Additionally, insurance companies may also require the form as part of the claims process, so non-compliance can impact your ability to seek compensation for damages.

Sample DMV SR-1 Form and Key Components

To help you understand what information is required, the California DMV provides a sample form on its website. The form includes sections for:

  • Date, Time, and Location: Detailed information about the accident: when and where the incident happened.
  • Vehicles and Drivers: Description of the vehicles involved and the drivers’ details.
  • Injuries and Property Damage: Information regarding injuries sustained and the extent of property damage.
  • Insurance Information: Details of insurance coverage for the vehicles involved.

Referencing the sample form can be helpful when filling out the form to ensure all necessary details are included accurately.

Important Reminders Before Filing a Form SR-1

Here’s a list of important reminders before filing an SR1 form California:

  • Ensure you have your driver’s license or identification (DL/ID) card.
  • Note down your vehicle’s license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Have your vehicle’s insurance information readily available.
  • If applicable, gather the other party’s vehicle and insurance information.
  • Remember that you must complete an SR-1 report and send it to DMV within 10 days if:
    –Someone is injured, regardless of how minor the injury may seem.
    –There is a fatality involved.
    –Property damage exceeds $1000.
  • Keep in mind that an SR-1 report is required in addition to any other report made to the police, CHP, or your insurance company.

Other Relevant Information About Accident Reports

In addition to the key points mentioned above, there are several other aspects of reporting vehicle accidents in California that are important to be aware of:

Documentation and Evidence after a California Car Accident

When completing the SR1 form California, it’s essential to have all the necessary documents and evidence on hand. This may include:

  • Insurance Information: Make sure you have your insurance policy details readily available.
  • Photographs: If possible, take photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any injuries sustained.
  • Police Report: If law enforcement was involved in documenting the accident, obtain a copy of the police report as it can be a valuable source of information.

Legal Representation: Hiring a Car Accident Attorney

In cases where the accident involves significant damage, injuries, or legal complexities, it’s advisable to seek legal representation. A personal injury attorney who specializes in traffic accidents can provide invaluable guidance on filling the details out correctly and assist with any resulting legal issues.

Filing a Claim with the Insurance Company

It’s important to understand that filing a form is separate from initiating an insurance claim. 


The SR1 form California is a requirement for reporting the accident to the DMV, while an insurance claim is the process of seeking compensation for damages. Both processes may run concurrently, but they serve different purposes.

Victim of a Vehicle Accident?
Get Help from RTM Law Firm

The SR1 form is a critical aspect of handling a vehicle accident in California. Timely and accurate completion of this form not only fulfills legal obligations but also aids in the smooth handling of any resultant insurance or legal processes.


If you find yourself overwhelmed by the process of reporting a vehicle accident in California or facing legal challenges related to such an incident, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance.


RTM Law Firm specializes in traffic accident cases and can provide the expertise and support you need. Reach out to our experienced car accident attorneys today. Your peace of mind is our priority.

Do You Need Compassionate Support and Effective Representation?



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