How To Get a Police Crash Report for a Car Accident in California

How To Get a Police Crash Report for a Car Accident in California

It’s always important to get a copy of the police crash report when you’re in an accident. Not only should you get a copy, but you should review it carefully.

How do you get a police crash report in California? 

Our car accident lawyers explain the ways to get your crash report.

How do you get a police crash report in California?

To get a police crash report in California, make a request for the report from the agency that investigated the accident. It may be the California Highway Patrol or a local police agency. Each agency has a procedure for requesting reports, and you may make the request by mail, in person or online depending on the procedures for the agency.

How to Get a Police Crash Report for a Car Accident in California

If the crash was investigated by the California Highway Patrol:

In Person

You can go to any California Highway Patrol office to request a copy of a collision report, if the accident was investigated by the California Highway Patrol. Find your nearest California Highway Patrol office

By Mail

A party who has an interest in the accident can use form CPH 190 – Collision Request Form to request an accident report by mail.

Send the completed form to the CHP office that reported the collision. You must also submit a copy of your driver’s license, picture identification or other proof that you are a party of interest. If you don’t have the required identification, your CHP 190 form must be notarized.

An interested party is any of the following:

  • Driver
  • Passenger
  • Vehicle Owner
  • Parent of a Minor Involved
  • Legal Guardian
  • Insurance Companies
  • Attorneys
  • Coroner
  • Highway Construction and Maintenance Officials

To complete the form, you must provide the following information:

  • Date of the accident. If you’re not sure, provide as much information as you can
  • Location
  • Drivers or vehicle owners involved
  • Your name as the requester
  • Your address
  • Why you are an interested party
  • Signature
  • Fees

Through Your Insurance Company

You can ask your insurance company to provide you with a copy of the report. It may take longer to receive it, but the insurance company may not ask for a fee.

If the crash was investigated by a police agency other than the California Highway Patrol:

Each police agency has their own procedures for producing copies of police reports. Determine what agency investigated the crash. Check their website for the procedure for how to request a report, or call them and ask. Most agencies will produce crash reports in response to online, mail and in-person requests.

How do I get a police car crash report from the Los Angeles Police Department?

Los Angeles Police Traffic Collision reports are available online and through the mail. To make the request, submit the Traffic Collision Report Request Form or send a written request that includes the required information. Submit your request with a $16.00 check or money order. Cash is not accepted.

Submit your request to:

Los Angeles Police Department

Records and Identification Division

Document Processing Unit

P.O. Box 30158

Los Angeles, CA 90030

Can you get a copy of a car accident report in California if you live out of state?

Yes, you can get a copy of a car accident report in California if you live out of state. Complete and submit form CHP 190, and mail it to the appropriate CHP office, along with your identification and payment.

What does it cost to get a California car accident report?

Costs for a California car accident report are based on the size of the report:

  • 1-25 pages = $10.00
  • 26-50 pages = $20.00
  • 51-75 pages = $30.00

For most reports, the charge is $10.00. There is no handling or mailing charge.

How do you pay for a California car accident report?

The California Highway Patrol accepts personal checks and money orders for car accident reports. Cash is not accepted for mailed requests. Credit and debit cards are not accepted.

How should you review a crash report for a car accident?

As you get a copy of the police report and review it, there are several things to keep in mind.

First, look at who created the police report. It may have been created by the responding officer who appeared at the scene and investigated the accident. However, drivers may also make their own written reports of accidents.

Always consider the source and the biases of the person who wrote the report. In the case of the investigating officer, they may state who they believe is at fault for the accident. Remember that their primary purpose is determining if traffic violations or crimes have occurred. They’re not in the business of determining civil fault and sorting out complex issues of comparative negligence. The investigating officer does not take the role of the jury. The observations that they record may be important. However, they are not the final say when it comes to determining civil fault.

Second, if the crash report was submitted by a party to the accident, keep in mind that their opinions may be biased. They aren’t likely to admit that they are at fault for the accident. The report may contain helpful information about witnesses and evidence. However, by itself, it’s not proof of fault. Use the report for the ways that it can benefit you and help you build your case. But remember that the report has limitations, and it does not take over the role of the jury in determining legal fault for the accident.

Getting a copy of the police report for an accident

It’s always important to get a copy of the police report when you’re in an accident. As car accident lawyers, we review the police report as a starting point to build evidence and investigate the case. A crash report can be a helpful tool to gather information and begin to prepare your claim for compensation.

Have you been in a car accident? Contact our car accident lawyers at LA Century Law for a review of your claim.

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