How to Obtain a Police Report –


How to Obtain a Police Report –

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. When you are in a car accident, particularly where someone is injured or dies, a police report is usually generated. This report has enormous importance when you are submitting a claim to an insurance company or if you are involved in a lawsuit.

What Is a Police Report?

When a police officer is called to an accident, he or she will fill out a report. The report details what happened, the location of the accident, weather and road conditions. Beyond that, the officer will note traumatic injuries or if anyone died in the crash. The vehicles will be described listing the make, licence plate number, vehicle identification number and year and model of the vehicle. Information about what happened prior to the accident, the impact point and a diagram showing this is also included in the report. The officer will gather information from anyone involved in the accident as to home address, phone, driver’s license ID number and insurance details. Any comments the driver may have is also included.

Witness Information

The police officer will also talk to anyone who witnessed an accident. In addition, the witnesses’ contact information is also provided in the report. Since witnesses often supply important details, this is an important part of the police investigatory process.

Photographic Evidence

In all likelihood, the attending official will take pictures of the accident. These include the position of the vehicles after the crash occurred and any marks on the roadway such as skid marks, which provide critical information. Skid marks, for example, are usually the result of braking. The length of the skid mark indicates when the braking commenced. Yaw marks, curved in shape, indicate steering and are due to a rotating wheel. In some accidents such as rollover accidents the cause of the accident is often supplied with gouge marks in the ground around the overturned vehicle.

Citations Issued at the Scene

If there were traffic violations, such as speeding, or if one of the driver’s was inebriated or high on drugs, a police officer might issue a citation or arrest the driver. This information is of great interest since proving that another driver was at fault in a crash is aided by the fact they were driving too fast or did not stop or was impaired.

Getting a Police Report at the Scene

The police officer may provide a copy of the report at the scene, or give the driver a card with their name and/or a report identification number. This makes it possible to obtain a copy easier. In the event neither a copy nor identification is given, there are ways to obtain a copy yourself. Looking at the police officer’s name badge and writing it down is a good place to start.

Getting a Copy of the Accident Report

How you do this is related to where the accident occurred. For example, if the accident happened on a highway or roadway not under city jurisdiction, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer will respond. You can download the formal request form for a traffic collision report online. You will need to fill in the information, and take it to the nearest CHP office or mail it. You will need to attach a payment for the report fee. The fee varies, so call a CHP office for information.

Local Police Offices

If the accident happened in Fresno, you have two options when requesting a report. You can obtain one free of charge by going to the records lobby at the Fresno Police Department. According to the department website, there may be a substantial wait time. The second option is going online to obtain a report and paying a $12.00 fee.

Who Will Reports Be Issued To?

Accident reports are issued to the following individuals:

  • Anyone involved in the incident, including witnesses and the owner of the vehicle if different from the driver
  • Insurance representative
  • An attorney
  • The parents or legal guardian of a minor

Fresno Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. Having an accident is a daunting event, and you may need assistance from an experienced injury lawyer. If you do, just call me locally at (559) 377-7676. If you reside outside the local area, you can reach me at (800) 404-5400. I am available to give you friendly advice that is always free of charge.

Over the past 35 years, I have assisted many residents of the Northern California area, including those in Fresno, with catastrophic injury claims such as brain injury or loss of limbs and wrongful death lawsuits.

I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This is a nationwide group comprised of trial attorneys who have obtained $1 million results for clients in either case settlements or trial verdicts. You might want to look at what I won for some clients on my settlements and verdicts page.

Clients often want to know more about me and my law practice. They find that information on websites such as Yelp, Google + and the law site, Avvo, by reading comments by former clients and my peers found here on my website

Photo Attribution:

:cd [cs 882] cv

Client Reviews

  • Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!
  • Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation.
  • Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything.
  • Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime.
  • I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone.
  • Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury.