Things to Consider When Filing a Police Report - Adamson Ahdoot

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How to Get A Police Report After Your California Car Accident

December 9, 2022 Alan Ahdoot Accidents, FAQ, Injury, Police, Traffic, Wrongful Death
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Getting into a car accident in California can be overwhelming. There are so many things to think about in the moment, from seeking medical treatment to acquiring insurance information, that it might not occur to you to obtain a copy of the police report of the accident or why it’s important.

If you’re seriously injured from a California hit-and-run or vehicle accident, you’re entitled to recover damages from your losses. Obtaining a report may make it easier for you to receive the proper compensation you deserve. This article discusses the importance of obtaining a report and how to get a police report for a car accident in California.

Importance of Filing a Police Report in California

Even if you only incur minor injuries after a traffic accident or hit-and-run in California, you have certain obligations you’ll need to fulfill regarding reporting the crash.

According to the California Vehicle Code, the driver of any vehicle involved in a car accident that resulted in injuries must make a written report of the crash to the California Highway Patrol or to the police department of the city where the accident occurred within 24 hours. 

What to Do If You Forgot to Make a Written Report?

Alternatively, you could call the police after your accident, and they’ll prepare a written report on behalf of the agency. In this case, you won’t need to make your own separate report.

It’s strongly advised that you call the police after any road accident. They can help direct traffic if you can’t move your vehicle and obtain statements from other drivers, passengers, and witnesses. 

Even if you don’t think you’ve been injured or your car hasn’t been damaged, you never know what aftereffects will surface later on. A police report is a crucial document you’ll need in a car investigation and insurance lawsuit.

When to File an Accident Report?

Suppose you’ve been in a California hit-and-run collision that resulted in injuries, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. In that case, you’ll also need to report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days.

Here are the important things to include in the summary of your accident report:

  • Location of the crash
  • Number of vehicles involved
  • Names and contact details of the driver/s and passenger/s
  • Witness statements
  • Diagram showing the points of collision
  • Weather and visibility conditions at the scene
  • Initial investigation and findings

How to Get a Police Report for a Car Accident?

driver looking at the cop who is writing a police report

There are different ways to get a police report after your accident in California. Here’s what you need to do:

Call the Police to the Scene of the Accident

The simplest way to get a police report is to call 911 after the accident immediately. An officer will arrive at the scene of the crash, ask you questions about the accident, and provide both sides with a copy of the report. 

While waiting for their arrival, you can take photos of the scene to serve as evidence that will support your case.

Request a Copy From the Police

If you can’t get a copy from the office or lose track of it, call your local law enforcement officers, who will retrieve it for you. Prepare your accident identification number and the accident’s date, time, and location, so they can procure the correct document. 

Remember that many California cities charge a small fee if you lose your police report. For example, if you live in San Diego, you’ll need to pay $12 to get a copy of the report.

Ask Your Insurance Company

It’s possible that your insurance company retrieved a copy of the police report on your behalf. Since California is not a no-fault state, both insurance providers of the involved parties must compensate depending on each individual’s fault percentage.

For instance, if one driver is 45% at fault and the other is 50% liable, that is how much each of them will need to pay. However, they can still sue the other party for additional damages. Even if you were only partially at fault, you can still get accused of a hit-and-run if you escape from the scene and did not cooperate with the officers.

Regarding reporting your accident to your car insurance company, California doesn’t have any laws dictating whether—or when—policyholders who get into a car accident should report the accident to their automobile insurer. 

However, most car insurance companies require the policyholder to report a car accident to the insurer very soon after the fact. Even if your accident was minor, it’s advised that you report it to the insurance company to ensure they provide coverage for the accident should you need it.

Why Choose Adamson Ahdoot?

With over 100 years of experience, our team will strive to help you with your personal injury case. We will keep you informed throughout the legal process and support you every step of the way. After a one-on-one session, we’ll thoroughly investigate your case and determine the best course of action to help you get justice.  

Using our exceptional expertise and resources, we’ll work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. This includes the approval of your claims for any lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and psychological trauma.

Talk to a Certified California Car Accident Attorney


Injured in a California car accident as a result of another driver’s negligence? Consider reaching out to our trusted lawyers at Adamson Ahdoot LLP

No matter the size or complexity of your case. We’ll pour our undivided attention and resources into helping those who have suffered from the negligence of others. Our clients deserve justice.

We’ll give you the peace of mind you need. We’ll take care of all the details related to your insurance company. Not only that, but we also handle DMV, auto repairs, medical care, and everything in between. For a free consultation in English or Spanish, give us a call at (800) 310-1606. You can also fill out our contact form today.

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