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Did you know that police officers create a car accident report after arriving at the scene of an accident? Any of the parties involved to the accident can review the car accident report. Oftentimes, the car accident report could even be brought into trial as evidence. This article below describes what exactly a car accident report is, how to obtain it, and how it will be used in a car accident personal injury trial.

A car accident police report may be easy to obtain, but, bringing it into trial or using it to show liability might be a little complex. That is why it is very important to hire an experienced car accident personal injury attorney to litigate your claims for you while ensuring maximum compensation for your car accident injuries.

During the covid-19 pandemic, when a majority of cities were considered to be under lockdown, the number of car accidents substantially declined since there were no drivers on the road. But, nowadays with the economy slowly starting to open back up, more and more cars are being driven on the road, and the car accident rates are back on the rise. Especially in suburban and congested cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident.

What is a Car Accident Police Report?

A car accident police report is a document that states all the information regarding the car accident that occurred. Each party to the accident has a right to view the accident report. The information on the accident report includes:

  1. The names of all parties that were involved in the accident
  2. Date and time of accident
  3. Location of accident
  4. Information of any witnesses
  5. The police officer’s name who wrote the report
  6. Information about each party to the accident
  7. How the accident occurred
  8. Any injuries any of the parties may have
  9. Which party may potentially be at fault for the accident

How is a Car Accident Police Report Created?

When parties are involved in a car accident, our attorneys advise that the parties call the police to the scene. When the police officers arrive to the scene of the accident, they then start to document everything that occurred into a police report. They may finalize that report after a couple hours when they get to their office.

Depending on the jurisdiction where the car accident occurred, it may take days (even weeks) until the car accident police report could be viewed or requested. In California, a police accident report could be viewed 45 days after it was created. For more information on retrieving a Los Angeles report specifically, please visit our page here.

How Long is an Accident Police Report?

The length of the accident report depends on the type of accident that occurred, and the parties involved. But, on average an accident report could be around 40 pages in length since almost everything is documented by the police officer.

How to View Your Car Accident Police Report

Different states have different ways parties could obtain their car accident reports. Usually, states offer both the digital and physical evidence of the police report. California and Nevada both follow the digital and physical options.

View Your Police Report Online

In order to  view your accident police report, you will need to visit the California Police Department website and provide the date of your accident (oftentimes they may ask for a time), the location, and your full name on the site here. When the police officer created an accident report, a specific number was given to all parties involved in the collision. A police officer will always provide all parties with an accident number after making a police report. After inputting all this information into the website, you will be able to access your police report digitally through a PDF document. The document could be downloaded and printed out.

View Your Police Report by Mail

Many would want their police report mailed to them so they have a physical hard copy. In order to receive a hard copy of your police report, a request for must be mailed to Los Angeles Police Department, Records and Identification Division, P.O. Box 30158, Los Angeles, CA. 90030. A check for $18.00 (price subject to change) must also be mailed along with the form. Please note, the cost is subject to change. Information needed to request a physical copy of the police report includes:

  1. The requestor’s name, phone number, and home address
  2. The incident number
  3. The requestor’s birthday
  4. The day and approximate time the accident occurred
  5. The license plate of all known vehicles involved
  6. The party asking for the information (attorney, insurance company, etc.)
  7. A declaration that states “I declare this statement is true and correct, sign and date your request”

What If the Car Accident Occurred on the Freeway?

A car accident police report that occurs on the streets is obtained differently than a car accident police report that occurs on the freeway. All states have different ways a person can request a car accident report when the accident has occurred on the freeway. If the car accident occurred on the freeway, the accident report will not be available on the state’s police department website. Instead, parties to the accident must request the police report from the Highway Patrol Administration. For example, in California, parties to an accident that occurred on the freeway will need to request a police accident report from the California Highway Patrol’s website. Similar to the police department report, the California Highway Patrol also has administrative fees when requesting an accident police report.

Los Angeles Car Accident Causes Stated in Police Reports

There are several causes to car accidents, and below are the five top reasons car accidents have occurred in Los Angeles according to the Los Angeles Police Department:

  1. When a car fails to stop at a red-light, and drives through an intersection
  2. When a driver tailgates another driver
  3. When a driver speeds above the limit on residential streets
  4. When a driver makes a turn without looking at other oncoming cars
  5. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs

What if No Police Officer Arrived at the Scene and No Car Accident Police Report was Created?

Oftentimes, due to the stress and anxiety caused by car accident, many parties forget to call police officers to the scene. Although this may make a potential future claim difficult, there are still ways parties could create an accident report on their own. Parties could report the accident on their own to the DMV within 10 days of when the accident occurred. The report must be filled out on form SR 1.  At first, the DMV did not make it mandatory to fill out this form. However, nowadays, the DMV requires that drivers fill out the form when there are damages that amount to more than $1,000, there was a death that occurred as a result of the accident, or injuries were sustained as a result of the accident.

If you are unable to get a police officer to the scene and create a traffic accident police report, it will not make or break your case. Although a police report could help your case, not having a police report does not determine the outcome of the case. Oftentimes, the court does not consider the traffic accident police report as the governing body of law. For example, if the traffic accident police report stated that party one was liable, the court will not completely rule that party one is liable. The court must hear both sides in order to determine who actually is liable. Although the police officer was acting within their duty to create the police report, the police officer is not considered a judge to rule and determine the outcome of a case.

If you were unable to get a police officer car accident report, contact our experienced Los Angeles car accident attorneys for assistance. Our attorneys will work to retrieve your car accident report.

***Disclaimer: This blog is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this blog, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.