How to Obtain a Police Report After an Accident


How to Obtain a Police Report After an Accident

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. When you have a car crash, there are certain things you must do such as reporting the accident. Many Californians are unsure of the requirements. Having a grasp of what is expected of you will make handling a car accident easier.

Calling the Authorities

Under Vehicle Code 20008, Californians who are involved in an accident where there is injury or death to another person must report the accident to the authorities within 24 hours. The authority who must be contacted is the California Highway Patrol if the accident happened on the highway and the police department that has jurisdiction, if the accident occurred in a city or town. The police department will forward the report on or near the 5th of each month to the Sacramento office of the Department of the CHP.  If a car accident report is received by the wrong agency, the receiving agency should forward it appropriately. If an officer responded to the accident, you may ask for a copy of the report at that time.

How Do I Obtain a Copy of the Police Report?

If the CHP did not give you a copy of the report, you need to contact the appropriate office to obtain a copy. If the officer gave you his or her name, you can use that to help identify the accident. Otherwise, it is possible to go online to request that a report be sent to you. In order to get the collision report, you will need to provide certain information, such as:

  • At the top of the form, you must fill in the accident date, where it happened and the driver’s or owner’s name.
  • In the next section, you must fill in your place relative to the accident. For example, you may list whether you were the driver, owner, passenger or a property owner if property was damaged.
  • Fill in your name and address at the bottom, and sign the form along with the date.
  • Send the fee along with your request. The fee changes, depending on the complexity of the report. If you are unsure, call a CHP office near you for clarification.
  • Finally, make a copy of your driver’s license, and send it along with the request form.

Local Police

If the accident happened in a city or town and was responded to by a local police representative, you will need to send a request to the police department. If the accident happened in Fresno, the following steps need to be taken:

Police reports are only provided to:

  • A person directly involved in an accident such as the driver or a passenger
  • A legal guardian of someone involved in an accident
  • An attorney for someone in an accident
  • The insurer of anyone who was in a crash. If you wish to send a request for a collision report online, you can do so. There is a $12 convenience fee.
  • If you wish to pick up a report at the Fresno Police Department records lobby, you can do so for free. Please know that there may be a wait.
  • You must know the date the accident happened as well as two of the following:
    • Street address
    • Last name
    • Case number
    • Registered owner

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Fresno Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. A motor vehicle accident can change your life or that of a loved one in a second, leaving behind serious injuries or the death of a family member. If you or a member of your family have been injured or a loved one has been lost due to negligence, please call me, Ed Smith, at (559) 377-7676. My advice is friendly and free. Outside the area code, please dial (800) 404-5400.

I have assisted injured Californians as an injury lawyer, including those in Fresno and the rest of the San Joaquin Valley, with obtaining fair compensation for their personal injuries and wrongful death claims since 1982.

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