Can I request a copy of my accident report?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

After a car collision on California roads, you may be too shaken to think of practical matters – or you may keep your head enough to call the police, exchange insurance information with the other driver and do everything you can to document the accident. Yet one critical document often required by insurance companies is a copy of the accident report. Can you request a copy of your accident report from the police?

Not only can you request a copy of your report, but the California Highway Patrol makes it fairly easy with a mail-in form. You may not be the only person who requires a copy of the police report, depending on extenuating circumstances. If you are not the owner of the vehicle and the insurance policy on the vehicle, perhaps if the car is registered in a spouse’s or parent’s name, then they may need to submit a request for a copy of the report to follow up on any damage claims. Passengers or owners of property damaged in an accident may also have the right to request a copy of the accident report.

So why do insurance companies need the accident report? This document provides the most reliable legal verification of events to use when processing claims and their validity. Claims adjusters may request the report directly from the police department, or ask you for a copy. These documents can make a major difference in determinations in personal injury and compensation claims.

This is an educational and informational post that should not be misconstrued as legal advice.

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