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car accident lawyerBeing involved in a serious traffic accident in California can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. If you were seriously injured in a car accident, you might not consider how important it is to obtain a copy of the traffic accident report. Because you were seriously injured, you may be able to file a claim against the driver who caused the accident and recover compensation for the damages. To prove the other driver or drivers were at fault, we will need to obtain a copy of the traffic accident report of the police report. 

This article will walk you through how to obtain your own police report. However, if you find yourself in an accident, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, PC can obtain your report for you and represent you through your case so you obtain the compensation you deserve. To set up an appointment, call 888-848-5084 today or contact us online.

Why Your Report Is Important

A traffic accident report can be one of the most valuable pieces of evidence in your personal injury case. The responding law enforcement agency generates the report containing everything they observed at the scene. The report will include:

  • The names and contact information of the drivers involved in the case
  • The owner of the vehicles
  • Any other interested parties who were involved in the accident or witnessed the accident
  • The day, time, and location of the accident
  • Traffic violations given at the scene
  • The officer’s opinion about the cause of the accident.

Law enforcement officers are impartial third parties, allowing them to report the facts exactly how they occurred without adding certain factors to persuade those reading the report. Many times, police reports contain information that we cannot directly admit into evidence in your court case. Still, by giving your attorney the full picture of what happened, we can properly present other evidence to prove the other party’s fault.

Types Of Accident Reports

Depending on where your accident occurred and which law enforcement agency responded, there are different types of accident reports. Usually, the local municipal police department or the California Highway Patrol responds. Whichever officer responds to the accident will write the police report. A police report will provide your attorney with the necessary information to use in your case. In order to be sure a police report is written and available for later use, call 911 and report the crash. 

If multiple officers respond from different agencies, they will each write a police report, which we can use to help determine what happened. Differing views may be helpful when determining the series of events that led to the accident. If the accident was minor, a police report is not required, but it is a good idea.

The second type of report generated after an accident is a traffic accident report. Under California law, all drivers must report accidents that cause bodily injury, death, or property damage of more than $1,000. If you fail to report your accident within ten days, you face being charged a fine or losing your driving privileges. 

These traffic accident reports must be filed on a state form SR-1. If an insurance claim is going to be made, you must ensure this report gets filed. This report will include similar information to the police report, but both are necessary for your attorney to review.

How To Obtain Copies Of The Reports

Again, you will need to know what law enforcement agency responded to your accident. Many times the responding officers will make sure you have copies of their business cards which include their contact information. So you are able to obtain your reports, make sure you contact the police station indicated on the officer’s card to understand their process of providing you with a copy of the report.

Los Angeles Police Department

As an example of what to expect, if your accident was responded to by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), you can request a copy of the report either online or by U.S. mail. To obtain the report online, visit the LAPD Website and follow the instructions on the screen to request the report. When requesting online, you can enter your credit card information and pay directly online for the report. Reports from the LAPD cost $21.

To obtain your report from the LAPD by mail, download a collision report request form. You will then need to fill out the report and submit the report to the following address along with the required fees. Currently, the fees are $16 for the report and an additional $5 for the processing fees. Be sure to send a check or money order, do not send cash.

Mail your application to:

Los Angeles Police Department

Records and Identification Division

Document Processing Unit

PO Box 30158

Los Angeles, California 90030

These steps and forms are specific to LAPD, but it will be similar if another municipality responds to your accident. Call the police department or visit their website to find out the specific steps.

California Highway Patrol

If your accident was investigated by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), you need to request a copy of your CHP collision report in person or by mail. To request a copy in person, go to your area’s CHP office. Call ahead to make sure the report is ready for you to pick up. Especially if your accident did not occur close to home, it could take a few more days for your report to be available in the system so the staff at the CHP office can obtain the report. 

To request a copy of the report by mail, you will need to fill out the Application For Release of Information and submit it with the appropriate fee. The current rates can be found on the CHP website.

California Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You

As your attorneys, we can also request your traffic incident reports on your behalf. You will need to spend time healing and taking care of yourself. Do not worry about getting your reports. Allow us to help you obtain the reports we will need in your case. 

If you find yourself in an auto accident, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, PC can help you. We are ready to represent you and make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve. Call 888-848-5084 today to schedule your appointment or contact us online.