If you have been involved in a car accident in California, one of the essential steps toward filing a case against the at-fault party is obtaining a police report. Doing so is not always as simple as you might think. Keep reading to find out the steps to follow, or contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation to see if we can help you.
Determine the City in Which You Need to Request the Police Report
You will need to collect the police report from the police station that issued it. This is usually a city police station. If you were there when the police report was taken, you should have gotten a card from the police officer. The station listed there is where you will get the report from. If you do not know which station it is, you will have to call around to possible options until you find the right one.
Find Out if You Can Request It Online
Ideally, you could request the police report online. However, many police stations do not allow you to obtain a Traffic Collision Report online. You will be required to either go to the station in person or send a request through the mail. Remember that if you have hired a personal injury attorney, they are likely taking care of this for you.
Call to Verify the Report is Ready
Before you run down to the police station or send them a letter, we recommend calling the station to confirm that you have the right station and that the report is ready. You can call the general line for the station and simply ask for the report. In some cases, they take several weeks to be completed. If a death or serious injury occurred, it could take months.
Going to the Police Station to Get the Report
Once you are at the station, you will fill out a form and provide your ID. If you are the person involved in the accident, then you can get the report without issue. If you are not, for example, if your spouse was involved in the accident, then you need signed, written authorization from them to release the report to you.
You will be required to pay a fee to get the report. Generally, this can be paid with cash or check and is less than $10.00 though it can vary by station.
Requesting the Report by Mail
If you decide to request it by mail, you should expect it to take seven to ten days from the date they receive your letter if the report is ready, and longer if it is not. Check the department to find out what they require in a mailed request. It will likely include a copy of your ID, a signed letter with details on the accident, and a check.