According to Los Angeles Police Commander Marc Reina, before the pandemic, Los Angeles witnessed a fatal car accident every 36 hours. In Los Angeles, about 90% of accidents are caused by driver’s negligence. The most common freeways car accidents take place on are the 405 and the 5 freeway. Especially with businesses reopening after the pandemic, car accident rates will rise back to their pre pandemic levels, since many drivers have not driven long roads for a while. If you’re looking for an experienced car accident lawyer, contact Heidari Law Group today.
A Los Angeles accident report is a document that provides information about your accident, along with any other parties that were involved, any witnesses that saw the collision, the place where the accident took place, and the injuries each party sustained. When a police officer arrives at the scene of the accident, they create an accident report. Any party that is involved in the accident has rights to view the report. A report could be requested about 45 days after the accident occurred. The length of the report depends on the activities that occurred, it could go from 1 page to about 60 pages.
If no police officer arrived at the scene and created an accident report, report the accident to the DMV within 10 days through a document titled SR 1 Traffic Accident Report. This form must be used if 1) there are damages of more than $1,000, 2) someone was injured, or 3) someone was killed. You will need your driver’s license card, your car license plate, and your insurance information.
When litigating a personal injury claim, a traffic collision report will aid in determining liability. Other than the report, there may be other documents that could help your car accident case. Our experienced personal injury car accident attorneys at Heidari Law Group will develop a strategy in determining maximum compensation for your auto accident, and determine what other paperwork is necessary.
There are two ways to obtain your Los Angeles accident report:
In order to pull your Los Angeles accident report, you will need to 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. That number is the accident number. Once you have entered all the information, along with the accident report number, you will be able to view your accident report online. There are fees (subject to change) to download and view the accident report
- By mail
You can also request your accident report by mail. You can request it by mail by filling out the traffic collision request form (seen here) and mailing it 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. Accidents that involve arrests or fatalities must be requested by mail rather than viewed online. Accidents that also took place prior to the year 2016 must also be requested by mail.
Information needed to fill out the form includes:
- The requestor’s name, phone number, and home address
- The incident number
- The requestor’s birthday
- The day and approximate time the accident occurred
- The license plate of all known vehicles involved
- The party asking for the information (attorney, insurance company, etc.)
- A declaration that states “I declare this statement is true and correct, sign and date your request”
How to Get a Copy of Your CHP Report
If you were in an accident that took place on a highway in California, you will be unable to find your accident report on the Los Angeles police site. Instead, you will need to submit a request to the California Highway Patrol on their site here. The fee for getting a copy of the report can range from $15 to $40 depending on the amount of pages the report contains.
Will a Los Angeles Traffic Collision Report Determine Liability?
An accident report will oftentimes be very brief and to the point, simply stating what the police officer observed. It will not make any conclusions as to who was at fault. However, sometimes, an accident report that determined that you are not at fault is helpful when dealing with your insurance company. Your insurance company will most likely pay for any damage if you are found to be not guilty in the accident report.
If the report states that you are at fault, remember the accident report is not conclusive. The court will not determine who is at fault just by looking at the report. Oftentimes, a report would not even be admissible in trial since it could not be authenticated without the police officer. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to argue that the liability is on another party. For example, an attorney would argue that the sketch of the accident on the report is not properly drawn. This can be best supported with photo evidence or witnesses.
Traffic Collision Causes
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, below are the top five negligent acts that lead to car accidents.
- When a vehicle follows another vehicle too close, also known as tailgating. When the front car brakes, the car behind them will slam into the front car.
- When a driver fails to stop at a red light
- When a driver speeds over the posted speed limit
- When a driver makes a left turn without looking for other oncoming traffic
- When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Changes to the Law
Nowadays, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, it takes on average three to four hours for a police officer to get to the scene and write an accident report. The department is now working on an online community reporting system for minor accidents. Major accidents will still need to have a report written by a police officer. The city of Gardena currently has a self-reporting system.
Although traffic declined in 2020, the National Safety Council reported a 24% spike in the car accident fatality rate. About 42,000 drivers passed away due from car accidents last year. The Safety Council says the main cause of accidents is speeding on empty roads. That is why it is important to get adequate legal representation. If you decide to pursue a personal injury auto accident lawsuit, our Los Angeles attorneys at Heidari Law Group will be able to go over details of your accident and determine the liability for any damages.
***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.