When you sustain injuries in a car accident, it’s usually best to file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. However, to file your claim, you must first get a copy of your accident report from the officer that responded to the crash. For accidents on California state highways, the California Highway Patrol usually files the accident report.
This report is an important piece of your claim. It not only includes details about the crash, such as damage to vehicles, injuries, and witness statements, but also the investigative observations of the officer. While it’s possible to get your California Highway Patrol accident report on your own, our car accident attorneys can help gather any evidence pertaining to your claim.
While accident reports include a lot of individual pieces of information, attorneys use them to piece together the events leading up to the accident. In some cases, it’s possible that the evidence in an accident report shows the fault of the other driver. For example, the officer may include a note about the other driver being potentially intoxicated or distracted. Ultimately, this information may give you leverage in your claim.
In contrast, the accident report may also contain mistakes made by the reporting officer. Even minor errors, such as misspelled names or incorrect birth dates, make it harder for you to process your claim. At Glotzer & Leib, LLP, our attorneys help address these errors by requesting an amended report. While it’s not always possible to have the original report change, many officers add updates to the report identifying the mistake in certain circumstances.
Currently, the California Highway Patrol doesn’t have accident reports available online. If you see any service offering a CHP accident report form online, it might be a scam. To keep your information safe, avoid requesting a copy of your report from any party other than the California Highway Patrol.
To get a copy of your California Highway Patrol accident report, you must be a party of interest in the accident. This includes the driver, passengers, and owners of the involved vehicles. If the accident involved a minor, their parent or legal guardian may request a copy for them. In addition, any party’s attorney may obtain a copy of the report on their client’s behalf.
There are two ways you may request an accident report from the CHP, either by mail or in person at an area office. No matter which option you choose, you must fill out the CHP’s Application for Release of Information (Form 190). This form requires a few pieces of information, including:
The information provided on the form helps the CHP look up the correct accident report. If you can’t remember the address or date of the accident, try listing the cross streets or an estimate for the date. Any other identifying information may help expedite the search.
To turn in the form, you also need a copy of your driver’s license or state-issued ID. For those who don’t have an ID, the CHP allows you to have the form notarized. If you have any issues printing the form, you may write a letter to the California Highway Patrol asking for a copy as well. Be sure to include any information needed to find the correct report.
The cost of your California Highway Patrol accident report depends on the number of pages included. This is the current fee schedule for accident report requests through the CHP:
As stated, these are the current fees as of the writing of this article. Please be sure to check the CHP website for current fees, as they are subject to change.
If you send your request form through the mail, be sure to include a check or money order made payable to “California Highway Patrol.” For those who make their request in person, the CHP also accepts cash payments.
If your accident happens within Los Angeles city limits, there are four offices where your report may be filed. Despite this, it’s possible to pick up a copy of your accident report from almost any area office in CHP’s Southern Division. Here is the contact information for the four Los Angeles area offices for your convenience.
777 West Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
6300 Bristol Parkway
Culver City, CA 90230
1601 Corporate Center Drive
Monterey Park, CA 91754
19700 Hamilton Avenue
Torrance, CA 90502
If you want to find a CHP area office closer to the location of your accident or look up hours of operation, click here for CHP’s office search tool.
At Glotzer & Leib, LLP., our car accident attorneys have over 50 years of experience representing personal injury clients around Southern California. We know that recovery after an accident is one of the most stressful things someone may experience in life. That’s why we manage every aspect of your case from start to finish, including gathering evidence, negotiations, and court filings. Our goal is to help you pursue the compensation you need to recover.
To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys or ask questions about requesting your California Highway Patrol accident report, contact us today. We gladly serve clients throughout Southern California from our office in Downtown Los Angeles.
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