Dealing with a car accident can be an emotionally-charged experience, and the aftermath may leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, one essential factor that can heavily influence your claim is an accurate accident report.
In California, the Highway Patrol (CHP) is responsible for investigating and creating a report for most accidents that occur on public roads. This report is an essential piece of evidence that can help prove fault and determine the amount of damages owed.
This blog is designed to help Californians understand the importance of obtaining a car accident report and reporting it, as well as providing detailed instructions on how to do so. Additionally, we will also explain why consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer could be beneficial in these cases.
Why Is the Accident Report Important?
The accident report is a vital document that contains essential information about a car accident. Here are a few reasons why the accident report is crucial:
Provides Evidence of the Accident and Involvement
The accident report provides documented evidence that a car accident occurred and the parties involved in the accident. It includes information such as:
- Location of the accident
- Contact information of drivers and passengers involved
- Insurance details
- Statements from witnesses
All of this information is crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
Necessary for Making a Personal Injury or Property Damage Claim
If you have the unfortunate experience of being involved in a car accident, filing a personal injury or property damage claim may be unavoidable. Luckily, an accident report is your most powerful form of evidence to prove any damages incurred as well as determining who should responsibly pay for them—making it essential that one is filed after such incidents occur.
Helps in Determining Who Is at Fault for the Accident
The accident report contains an unbiased and impartial account of the events leading up to the accident. The investigating officer notes any violations of traffic laws and includes their opinion on who was at fault. This information can be crucial in determining liability and establishing a case in court.
How to Obtain an Accident Report Copy
Obtaining your copy of the accident report from the CHP is a relatively simple process. Here are the steps to follow:
Determine Which Agency Investigated the Accident
If the CHP investigated the accident, you can obtain the accident report from the CHP.
Obtain the Required Information
To be given a copy of the accident report, you must provide pertinent information such as when and where the crash occurred, who was operating or owning cars included in it, and involved parties. Additionally, you might need to offer identification to validate your demand.
Request the Accident Report
You can request a copy of the accident report either by mail or in person at the local CHP office. This is done via a release of information application for CHP 190. If you want your copy by mail, you’ll need to send either a check or a money order for the required fee and a copy of your ID.
Pay the Required Fee
The cost of obtaining a copy of your accident report is $10 for reports up to 25 pages in length. Longer reports may cost more.
Wait for Your Report
It’s important to be aware that you might have to wait as long as two weeks after submitting your request and fee to receive your accident report.
If you’re having trouble getting a hold of your accident report, it’s time to consider enlisting the help of a personal injury lawyer. They can not only retrieve your record but also provide legal advice related to your situation.
The Importance of Reporting an Accident
Reporting an accident is crucial for several reasons. Here are some reasons why you should always report an accident:
Reporting an accident to the police and requesting paramedics ensures that anyone who sustained injuries receives immediate medical attention. Even if you do not think you have suffered any injuries, it is still essential to seek medical attention.
Sometimes, injuries are not immediately apparent, and seeking medical attention can help identify any underlying injuries.
By reporting the accident, you can help ensure that there is an official record of the accident. This record can help establish who was at fault and what happened. It can help prove your case and prevent the other driver from denying that an accident ever occurred.
Helps with Insurance Claims
Reporting an accident to your insurance company allows them to investigate the accident and determine the extent of the damages. Failing to report an accident can result in the insurance company denying your claim, leaving you to pay for the damages out of pocket.
In California, if an accident results in injuries or death—or property damage of more than $1,000 is incurred—it must be reported by law. Not abiding by this requirement can lead to hefty fines and even criminal charges.
Protects Against Hit-and-Run Drivers
By promptly reporting a hit-and-run accident to the police, you can assist them in apprehending the perpetrator. Dial 911 as soon as possible and provide all pertinent details; this is of utmost importance, for it will enable law enforcement officers to locate and take responsibility for their criminal behavior.
Benefits of Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you suffer from a serious injury due to an accident, talking to a personal injury lawyer can be beneficial. Here are some of the benefits of contacting a personal injury lawyer:
A personal injury lawyer can offer you invaluable legal guidance and assistance, helping to outline what options are available to you in your case and the necessary steps needed to move forward.
Protect Your Rights
Seeking legal representation from a personal injury lawyer is essential in assuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the rightful compensation you deserve. By having an attorney on your side, they will make sure to fight for justice and see to it that all proceedings concerning your case abide by the law.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Personal injury lawyers have experience negotiating with insurance companies to ensure that you receive a fair settlement for your injuries. They can help you understand your rights under your insurance policy and work with the insurance company to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Personal injury lawyers can help gather evidence related to your case, including accident reports, medical records, and witness statements. They can use this evidence to build a strong case and prove your claim.
Represent You in Court
If required, a skilled personal injury lawyer can fight for you in court to make sure that you get just recompense for the injuries endured.
Help in Obtaining the Accident Report
Personal injury lawyers can help you obtain a copy of your accident report, which is essential in building a strong case.
Don’t let the legal complexities of your injury case overwhelm you. Let an experienced personal injury lawyer help simplify and explain these implications, as well as offer direction on what steps need to be taken next. Reach out today for more information!
Call The Law Brothers® for a Free Consultation
At the Law Brothers®, we understand the challenges and difficulties that come with recovering from a car accident. That’s why we offer both virtual and in-person consultations throughout all of California, and we handle every case from start to finish.
Our highly trained legal team is committed to protecting your rights and making sure you are rewarded with the compensation that you deserve. If we take on your case, you won’t pay unless you win. Call (800) 820-0000 today to get started.