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The Process of Requesting a Crash Report

Experienced Lawyer

A crash report is a document that is compiled by an investigating officer that explains the available evidence and professional theories to the cause of the accident and who is at fault. While there are many facts included within the report, it is necessary to make the distinction between fact and opinion, especially if your claim goes to trial. However, as most personal injury and car accident claims are settled outside of court through negotiations, these reports are valid and useful, but how do you obtain a copy for your records?

Information You Will Need

When requesting a police report, there is specific information you will need about the accident. If you have an identification number, the process is typically more streamlined. However, without this number, you will need to provide the location, date, and time of the accident. Also, you will need to have your ID, and you must be either the owner of the vehicle or one of the drivers involved in the collision.

Requesting a Paid Report

Next, most jurisdictions do charge a fee to get a copy of the official crash report. While prices vary by state, it is typically around $15. In order to request this paid copy, you will need to find the proper traffic division of law enforcement agency. If a responding officer gave you a receipt on the scene, then it will likely have the incident number and who to call. However, if you did not receive a receipt, then you can contact the station that responded to the accident to find out the next steps.

Checking for a Free Copy

If you are lucky, you can obtain a free copy of the accident report from your insurance company. You can contact your claims representative and see if they have a copy of the report. If they do, the insurance company will often provide you a copy for free. However, not every insurer will have a copy on file, but it is still worth checking to save yourself the report fee, possibly.

Importance of a Crash Report When Filing a Lawsuit

While it may not seem important, a crash report is useful, especially during settlement negotiations. These reports will state the facts of the scene as well as the expert opinion of investigators to the cause of the accident, which can help in determining fault.

If you are not sure if you need a crash report, then contact a local car accident attorney, like a car accident lawyer in Woodland, Hills, CA, to discuss your claim. They should have the expertise to guide you through your legal and settlement decisions.



Thanks to Barry P. Goldberg Law for their insight into the process of requesting a crash report. 

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