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How do I Get a Copy of my Traffic Accident Report in California?

Being involved in a serious traffic collision in Los Angeles can be overwhelming. If you were seriously injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver, you might not initially think about how you can obtain a copy of the traffic accident or police reports or why doing so is important. People who are seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents that result from negligence may be entitled to recover damages for their losses. If you do not get a report, it might be more difficult for you to recover the compensation that you deserve for your losses.

An accident report might help you to recall important details about what happened. An attorney at the Steven M. Sweat Injury Lawyers can also review the police and traffic accident reports from your case to determine whether you should pursue a car accident injury claim. Getting copies of these reports is one of the first steps that you should take after you have sought medical treatment for your injuries.

Why Getting Copies of Your Accident Reports is Important

If this is the first time that you have been seriously injured in a car accident, you might not understand how to obtain copies of the reports for your collision. You might be overwhelmed by trying to keep up with your medical appointments, dealing with the insurance companies, and trying to make ends meet while you are recovering from your injuries. However, while getting copies of the reports in your case might seem like one more task on your to-do list, the reports will contain crucial information that you might need to recover compensation for your economic and noneconomic losses.

Traffic accident reports are written to document what happened in vehicle collisions.[1] These reports include all of the following types of information:

  • Names and contact information of the involved drivers
  • Owners of the involved vehicles
  • Interested parties, including passengers, property owners, vehicle owners, drivers, witnesses, and anyone else who was involved
  • Date, time, and location of the accident
  • Citations for any type of driving behavior, including whether a driver was intoxicated, speeding, or otherwise violating the traffic laws
  • The officer's opinion about what caused the accident

Reports that document serious accidents may include detailed narratives that provide additional information. Since police reports contain hearsay statements and the opinions of the responding offers, it is important to note that accident reports cannot be used as evidence in your car accident claim. However, they include important pieces of information that your attorney and the insurance company will use to help to determine liability.

What Types of Damages are Recoverable After a Car Accident?

The damages amount that you might recover will depend on the circumstances and facts of your case. Some of the types of damages that might be available include the following:

  • Past, current, and future medical costs
  • Past lost wages
  • Future reduction in your ability to earn an income
  • Property losses
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of your ability to enjoy life
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium for your spouse[2]

To recover these types of damages in your case, you will need to file a claim and prevail. Getting prompt medical care immediately after your accident is the first step you should take. When you can, you should then get copies of the relevant reports that document what happened.

What are The Different Types of Accident Reports?

Depending on where your accident happened, it may have been investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department or the California Highway Patrol. Responding officers from these law enforcement agencies will write police reports about your accident. After a serious accident, you should call 911 to report it and to request that an officer and emergency responders come to the accident scene. After the officers arrive, they will investigate what happened and will write formal police reports. These reports can provide your attorney with important information about your accident and the potential factors that contributed to it.

The second type of accident report is a traffic accident report. Under California law, drivers must report accidents that cause bodily injury, death, or property damage that is valued at more than $1,000. People who fail to report their accidents within 10 days may be fined or lose their driving privileges. The traffic accident report is filed with the state on Form SR-1.[3] If you plan to file a claim against the other driver's insurance policy, you must file this report.

The traffic accident report in your case will include the following types of information:

  • Names and contact information of everyone involved
  • Each driver's insurance information
  • Description of any property damage
  • Information about any injuries

You will want to get copies of the police report and the traffic accident report to provide to your attorney.

How to get Copies of the Police and Accident Reports

To get a copy of your traffic collision report from the LAPD, you can request a copy online or by U.S. mail.[4] To obtain a copy online, follow the provided link in English or Spanish, and fill in information about where your accident happened. If you want to request your traffic collision report by U.S. mail, you will need to download the traffic collision report request form.[5] Mail it with a check or money order for $18 to the following address:

Los Angeles Police Department
Records and Identification Division
Document Processing Unit
P.O. Box 30158
Los Angeles, CA 90030

If your accident was investigated by the California Highway Patrol, you can request a copy of your CHP collision report in person or by mail.[6] To request your report copy in person, you can go to your area's CHP office. To request it by mail, you will need to download and complete the request form and submit it with the fee and a copy of your driver's license.[7]

To get a copy of the traffic accident report from your case, you can go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to ask for a copy. Finally, you can purchase copies of your crash reports from LexisNexis® Buy CrashTM online.[8]

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer at the Steven M. Sweat Injury Lawyers

Car accidents can cause lasting damage when people are seriously injured. If another driver caused your accident and injuries, getting copies of the accident reports after you have received medical treatment is important. These reports can help your attorney to analyze your case, and they include details that you might forget as time passes.

The attorneys at the Steven M. Sweat Injury Lawyers understand how to analyze police reports and what might be required to conduct a thorough investigation. To learn more about your options and the legal merits of your accident case, contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at 866.966.5240.

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Client Reviews
★★★★★
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
★★★★★
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
★★★★★
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
★★★★★
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
★★★★★
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.
★★★★★
I believe I made the best choice with Steven M Sweat, Personal Injury. I was very reluctant to go forward with my personal injury claim. I had a valid claim and I needed a professional attorney to handle it. I felt so much better when I let Steven take my case. His team did everything right and I am very satisfied. Stia P.
★★★★★
I have to say that Steve has been exemplary! I met Steve at a point with my case that I was ready to give up. He took the time and dealt with all of my concerns. Most importantly, he was present and listened to what I was going through. He was able to turn things around, put me and my case on the right track! The results were better that expected! Highly recommend!! Cody A.