Car accident reports are a critical part of the process when it comes to getting insurance on your vehicle, filing a claim, or dealing with personal injury cases. We’ll cover what an accident report is, how to acquire one, why you might need a copy for your potential personal injury case (if you were injured), and when to potentially consider legal representation and a personal injury attorney. This way, you can understand the laws that apply, and how to resume your life.
What is an accident report for personal injury cases?
In personal injury cases, an accident report is a document that describes a traffic collision and is created by an officer who was present at the scene. It contains information about the car accident including who was involved, the unique circumstances, and other factors such as personal injury damages. The police report of the car accident can be used by attorneys to support your personal injury lawsuit. Details provided in this document may allow you and your attorney to seek compensation and a fair settlement offer. It is vital evidence for your claim that can help determine if the other party was responsible for the car accident and can help define a money point in a potential personal injury settlement.
The police officer will complete this form when they arrive on the scene after a car accident has occurred; however, it can also be completed by witnesses, other drivers, or even yourself if you were not in an automobile at all but were involved in some way (for example: being hit as you crossed the street).
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will mail or email accident reports for a fee, or allow you to file in person for free.
- The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will mail or email car accident reports for a fee, or allow you to get the report in person for free.
- If you want to get your accident report in person, go to the OCSD Administration Building at 10250 Culver Drive and request one from the Records Division. They’ll be able to help you fill out any necessary legal forms and answer any questions as an experienced government agency.
The California Highway Patrol will send you an accident report by mail if you submit a written request and pay a fee.
For most car accidents, the California Highway Patrol will send you an accident report by mail if you submit a written request and pay a fee. You can also request the report by phone or email; in-person service will not be available. A lawyer can also reach out on your behalf.
A written request for your personal injury case can be submitted either online or in person at:
1171 N. Vineyard Ave., Suite 200
Ontario CA 91764-0001
File personal injury police reports and in Los Angeles
- You can get your car accident report from the CHP, or you can get one from the police department in which the crash occurred. Lawyers can also reach out on your behalf and file personal injury police reports.
- If you have not reported your car accident to law enforcement yet and would like to do so, it’s important to know how long that process will take. Generally speaking, it takes at least three weeks for a police report to be completed after car accidents occur. If you want to file a personal injury claim as soon as possible after an accident has happened in Los Angeles County (or anywhere else), then be sure that it’s been reported within three weeks of its occurrence.
- If you already know who was at fault for causing your crash because they admitted fault themselves—or even if there are clear signs of negligence on their part (like if they ran through a stop sign or tailgated someone)—then getting a copy of their driver record is crucial when preparing for negotiations with them later on down the road. It may allow you to earn more compensation to recoup medical bills, restore property damage, and recover from the harm dealt. This may also be the best form of evidence against clear negligence and should play a big role in your settlement and overall compensation if your personal injury lawsuit hits a court of law.
- Also, for car accidents in Los Angeles, you have the ability to get your report online through one of two different agencies: the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the Los Angeles Police Department. Both websites offer their own benefits and drawbacks for obtaining this information, so it’s important that you know how each works before deciding which option is right for you.
Filing and acquiring the accident report in Ontario
If you’re filing a personal injury claim, it’s important that you have all the relevant information. The Ontario Police Department should be able to provide the car accident report on your behalf, but if they refuse or are unable to do so, there are other avenues for getting this information, such as working with an attorney. Lawyers can reach out on your behalf through agencies such as these.
You can visit the police department in person at:
- Ontario Police Department – 201 East A St., Ontario CA 91762 (Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm)
- Call 1-909-986-2044 for more information about filing a personal injury claim with the OPD
To request a copy of the report:
- Include your name, address, and phone number.
- Include the date and location of the accident.
- If there were witnesses to the accident, including their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
- Write a statement that you would like to receive a copy of the police report (for example: “I am requesting a copy of my accident/incident report for case number “xxxxxxx”
Filing and Acquiring the Accident Report in Irvine
The Irvine Police Department handles all reports in person at its office. A lawyer can also reach out on your behalf.
The address is:
- 150 W. Harvard Street, Irvine, CA 92620 (map)
- 714-657-7000 (general information)
Irvine City Hall also handles accident reports and other documents for personal injury cases. You can go there if you don’t mind driving a bit further than the police department; it’s located on:
- 1 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 300, Irvine CA 92618 (map)
Why do you need a copy of the accident report for your personal injury lawsuit?
You need a copy of the accident report because it can prove your case in court.
- Proof that another party was at fault in your lawsuit. If you’re going to sue someone for causing your injuries, your attorney will have to show that they were negligent or reckless to obtain a fair car accident settlement. This is where having an accident report comes in handy. The police officers who investigate an accident will write down how the crash happened, who was involved, and the circumstances before, during, and after the impact. They will also list any witnesses who were on the scene at that time and their contact information if available (though some states limit this information from being released). This is important evidence, especially in cases such as aggressive driving, defective tires, or distracted driving. Eyewitness accounts and accident scene footage can help prove liability in car accident claims. Was the accident caused by the negligence of the other driver? Or, in the case of car accidents resulting from a defective product (like defective tires), the manufacturer could be at fault. Once all this information has been collected by investigators from local law enforcement agencies, then it makes its way into a final report which will include the following:
- Who was at fault (if anyone) based on evidence collected from both parties involved in the collision;
- A list of harm and damages sustained by both parties involved (including property damage and medical expenses);
- Names of witnesses with contact information if available;
- Any other valuable pieces of evidence presented regarding fault determination or liability issues such as photos taken before/after impact showing damages sustained by vehicles involved. These determinations can be worth a lot of money in accidents, especially if the lawsuit reaches court and is handled by an experienced car accident lawyer. A compelling case at this point can result not only in more money from a settlement but potentially punitive damages if the harm is deemed bad enough in your lawsuit.
How long does it take for a traffic collision report to be filed?
Attorneys will tell you—car accidents often devolve into a long legal process. In a lawsuit such as this, the law may be on your side, but the process may take a long time. You may have to wait a little while before your own insurance company decides how much compensation you’ll receive. An experienced car accident lawyer may be able to speed up the legal process (in cases of difficult communication).
A police department will take longer than an insurance company or your lawyers because:
- Police departments are busier than insurance companies. This means that they need to prioritize accident reports and sometimes even get backed up by backlogs of reports from previous weeks or months.
- The court system is also very busy, so there may be long lines in front of courts where drivers need to go pay tickets related to their car accidents and fill out paperwork for claiming damages from their own insurance companies.
Getting an accident report as soon as possible can help support your case and a possible settlement.
For example, if you have been injured in a car accident and your insurance company is asking for an accident report, it’s important to get this document as soon as possible. The sooner you obtain the report, the better for your case and overall settlement chances.
Personal injury lawyers suggest that timing factors heavily in a claim. If you collect these documents (plus medical records, etc.) in a timely manner, you’ll be able to provide evidence of due diligence on your end. Further, your lawyer can build a convincing case, one that may prove serious injuries, medical bills, property damage, or other factors from your car crash. A compelling case is vital in receiving a fair settlement in your lawsuit and moving on with your life.
Your insurance company will need access to any relevant information about what happened when the car accident occurred. For example, if you were injured during a car accident and are trying to obtain compensation from the other driver who caused it or from their insurance provider, being able to demonstrate that there was some fault on their part will be helpful in establishing liability (i.e., who was at fault). This can help support your claim that someone else was responsible for causing injuries or damages during a car accident. Lawyers can use these reports, among other services, to prove liability in court.
Keep track of who you talk to and when you talk to them.
When talking to police and other officials, keep a record of who you speak with and when. This will allow you (and your lawyers) to keep track of important conversations and ensure that nothing is missed. It is also helpful for future reference if your case goes to court. When speaking with an individual, ask them their name, the date and time of your conversation, and what information they gave you (for example, “You said that there were no signs posted on the road”). Keep in mind that this will be used by lawyers as evidence in a court of law, so it should be accurate!
Involve a personal injury lawyer if needed
These are all documents that should be possible to obtain for the injury victim. However, if you were injured and you feel as though you need help procuring any documents, a personal injury law firm and a personal injury lawyer can get the appropriate documents from all parties.
Attorneys and their provided services are vital to the personal injury claim process by introducing accident victims to their legal rights, all while engaging and communicating with the appropriate parties. They will look back to when the injury occurred and interview all other parties at the scene. They will consult medical professionals to ensure your medical treatment is properly recorded, and they will also ensure these medical experts collect and divulge all the necessary medical records for later settlement negotiations. Further, they will ensure their client receives proper medical care and can proceed with their life.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will also help injury victims by contacting the other party on their behalf in order to negotiate a fair settlement or pursue compensation in some other form. A good lawyer will seek to recover medical expenses, lost wages from lack of earning capacity, damages via emotional distress, pain and suffering, possible spinal cord injuries, or (in serious cases) even punitive damages for the plaintiff. It is the role of your personal injury attorney to fight on behalf of their client (you) with a full understanding of personal injury law (at least in your case).
Personal injury attorneys often work on a retainer agreement or on a contingency fee basis, so you might not have to worry about hourly rates and will only pay the attorney once the case settles. If you are indeed able to find an experienced attorney on contingency to handle your personal injury lawsuit, take the offer. Personal injury claims such as these are best handled by a legal team with experienced attorneys. Your attorney will take your lawsuit and build a compelling case around it. The lawyer will attempt to prove that negligence on the part of the defendant led to the plaintiff’s injuries, whether through negotiations or in a court of law.
Personal injury law tips: how to obtain the accident report rundown
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to get your accident report as soon as possible. Your personal injury lawyer will use this document to help in the process of proving negligence and building a strong settlement case against the defendant and their insurance company. If you are working with an experienced personal injury lawyer, they should be able to handle getting the report on their own without any problem at all. Personal injury lawyers will be able to present your personal injury claim to the proper parties and receive the correct documentation.
Takeaway: in most accidents and personal injury cases, there are many ways to get an accident report. However, it is best if you work with an experienced law firm and personal injury lawyer who knows how to do this properly. This way, your lawyer can properly document your injury case, including the severity of your injuries, your pain and suffering, and whether this was a result of the defendant’s negligence. The proper documentation is needed at every step to ensure liability can be proven, along with injury, to ensure a maximum settlement.
If you or a loved one has been injured and need help with your case, contact our legal team here for a free consultation. Our team is experienced in a wide range of personal injury law and can provide personal injury victims with peace of mind and compensation for their injuries. If you are experiencing pain and suffering and are getting no help from your insurance company, you’re in need of a lawyer who will fight for you and ensure the law is on your side. Remember, you pay nothing unless we win!