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How Do I Look Up an Accident Report in California?

Car accidents happen every day throughout California. While some of these incidents are quickly and easily resolved by the parties involved, this is typically only possible for very minor accidents that cause minimal damage. When it comes to more severe accidents, the police are often involved, and California drivers are legally required to call 911 to report accidents resulting in significant property damage, injuries, or deaths. When the police respond to a car accident call, they will arrive on scene and conduct a preliminary investigation, detailing their findings in a formal police report.

You may need to look up an accident report in California if another driver caused your recent accident and you intend to file an insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit against them. The police report from your accident will be crucial for an insurance claim, and you will also need this report if you intend to file a civil claim against the at-fault driver.

How do I look up an accident report in California?

How Do I Look Up an Accident Report in California?

To secure a copy of the police report for your recent car accident in California, you will likely need to contact the California Highway Patrol office or the police department that responded to your accident. This report will include the responding officer’s findings from the scene of the crash and statements from parties involved in the accident as well as bystanders. The police report will include:

  • The time, date, and location of the accident. This description should be detailed and include nearby landmarks.
  • The weather conditions and other unique factors relevant to the accident. For example, an officer filling out the report may note that the road was very slick due to recent rain or there was a noted presence of oil or other substances on the road surface.
  • Detailed statements from everyone interviewed by the police at the scene of the accident. These statements may need to be evaluated later and corroborated.
  • A complete list of the drivers, passengers, and witnesses involved in the accident.

If you notice any important information missing from your copy of the police report, it is wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you determine whether the police report is complete and correspond with the officers who completed the report, if necessary.

Why Do I Need a Police Report from My Accident?

The police report of your accident can be crucial for an insurance claim or a civil claim against the driver who caused your accident. When the police respond to the accident scene, they will gather immediately available evidence and take statements from those involved. Once they conduct their initial investigation, they will allow the drivers involved to leave and start clearing the accident scene to restore the flow of traffic. This could potentially remove crucial evidence, so you may need to rely on the police report to proceed with an auto insurance claim and/or civil claim.

You may need a police report to help you substantiate your claim that the other driver caused your accident by running a red light, speeding, or some other act of negligence. The police report, when used in conjunction with other evidence such as traffic camera footage and vehicle computer data, can allow you to prove exactly how an accident occurred. Your attorney can help you compile an insurance claim and/or personal injury case against the driver who caused your recent accident using the police report and other available evidence.

Insurance is typically the first step toward securing compensation for your damages from a car accident, and the insurance company will want to see a copy of the police report from your accident as they investigate your claim and determine your eligibility for compensation. You will also need the police report to proceed with a civil claim against the at-fault driver if you cannot secure full compensation for your damages through your insurance claim.

Important Notes About Police Reports in California

If you need a copy of a police report from a recent car accident in California, it is vital that you go directly to the California Highway Patrol or other law enforcement department to secure the copy of the report you need. If you search online to find your report, you are likely to notice several websites from private companies that claim to allow you to secure a copy of your report online. However, you must be wary of these sites, as many of them are scams designed to scrape personal information. Contact the California Highway Patrol directly to obtain your police report. Otherwise, ask your attorney to secure a copy of the report on your behalf.

What to Expect After a Car Accident in California

California enforces a fault system for resolving car accidents, meaning a driver who causes an accident is liable for the resulting damages. The first step in securing compensation for your losses after an accident is proving exactly how the accident happened, and a police report is a valuable piece of evidence for accomplishing this. An experienced car accident attorney will help you secure a copy of your police report as well as any other evidence you may need to prove fault for your accident.

Your legal team can also assist you in proving the full scope of your damages. While the at-fault driver’s insurance policy may cover some of your vehicle repair costs and the medical care you need, you may ultimately need to file a civil claim against them to secure full compensation for your damages.

Rush Injury Law can provide the guidance and support you need after a car accident. We understand the stress and uncertainty that often follows these events and strive to help our clients recover as fully as possible. If you need help securing a copy of the police report from your recent accident and want professional legal representation to assist you in your recovery, we are ready to help you. Contact Rush Injury Law today and schedule a consultation with our team to learn more about the legal services we provide.

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