How to Get a CHP Accident Report in California?

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Any traffic accident can be a harrowing and damaging experience. If another driver hit you, it’s natural to have lots of questions and concerns about how to hold them responsible for the accident and how to secure compensation for your losses. An experienced personal injury attorney is an invaluable asset in this situation. If you intend to hold the at-fault driver accountable for your losses, your attorney can guide you through every step of the process.

How to Get a CHP Accident Report in California?

Typically, the recovery process begins with an insurance claim after a traffic accident in California. The state enforces a fault-based system when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, meaning the driver who causes an accident assumes liability for the resulting damages. Additionally, drivers have a legal duty to call 911 to report traffic accidents that cause significant property damage, injuries, or deaths. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) maintains comprehensive records of all reported accidents in the state, and you will need their report to file an insurance claim against an at-fault driver and pursue a personal injury claim for further recovery.

The Importance of Motor Vehicle Accident Reports for Insurance and Personal Injury Claims

Police reports are essential for most car accident victims. When the CHP responds to a call for a car accident they will visit the scene and conduct a preliminary investigation, compiling their findings into an official CHP accident report. An injured driver will need a copy of this report to file an auto insurance claim against the driver who caused the accident, and the report itself is likely to contain critical details that help the injured driver establish liability for their damages.

When you are involved in a car accident, it is essential to be careful what you say to the responding officers. While you may be tempted to try to explain the situation and be as forthcoming as possible, it is crucial to understand that the CHP will include everything you say in their report. If you say anything that could potentially be interpreted as an admission of guilt, you can expect such statements to work against you if you intend to file an insurance claim and/or personal injury against the driver who caused your accident.

It’s important to be truthful and concise when answering responding officers’ questions at the scene of an accident. Do not admit fault, even if you think you may have caused the accident. Even saying something as seemingly innocent as “I’m sorry” can be construed as an admission of guilt. Insurance companies will scrutinize CHP accident reports very carefully, looking for any justifications they can find to reduce a claim payout or deny a claim for coverage. Answer the responding officers’ questions honestly until they allow you to leave. At this point, you should seek medical attention, even if you think you only suffered minor injuries. Once you have a firm understanding of your damages, you should speak with an experienced attorney.

FAQ

Experiencing a car accident is often traumatic, and a victim may not know the best first steps to take after such an incident to secure compensation for their losses. Every driver should understand the importance of obtaining a copy of the CHP accident report for their accident. The following are some of the most common questions our team fields from prospective clients regarding CHP accident reports and their importance to auto insurance claims and personal injury claims.

Q: How Do I Get a CHP Accident Report?
A:
To secure your copy of your CHP accident report, you must first determine which CHP office filed your report. You can contact CHP headquarters to obtain this information, or you can ask the responding CHP officers at the scene of your accident for the information you need to obtain your report. Once you determine which CHP office has the report you need, you must complete and submit a CHP 190 Collision Request Form, and the CHP will process your request and transmit the requested report to you.

Q: Can I Look Up Accident Reports in California?
A:
While there aren’t any publicly accessible and searchable databases in which you could look up accident reports in California, you can contact the CHP or a local law enforcement office for details concerning recent accidents. These offices may only be able to provide general information about these accidents. To obtain a copy of an official CHP accident report, you must submit the Collision Request Form to the appropriate CHP office.

Q: How Long Will It Take to Get a CHP Report?
A:
Once the CHP has finished compiling and filing an accident report, it will take about one to two weeks before the report can be made available to anyone who submits the appropriate request form. When an accident results in a fatality, it can take much longer for the associated CHP report to become available.

Q: How Much Does a CHP Report Cost?
A:
A CHP accident report will contain the responding officer’s findings from the scene of the accident and obtaining a copy of an official CHP accident report requires paying a small fee. Usually, the cost to obtain a copy of a CHP accident report is about $15 to $25.

Ultimately, obtaining a copy of the CHP accident report from your recent car accident is an essential step toward recovering your losses. The process is relatively straightforward, and if you have any trouble obtaining a copy of your accident report you can consult your attorney as to what you should do next.

Contact the Kreeger Law Firm

The Kreeger Law Firm can provide the comprehensive and supportive legal counsel you need after a car accident in northern California. Our team has years of experience guiding clients through complex personal injury claims and we can apply this experience to your situation. If you have recently experienced a motor vehicle accident that someone else caused, the first steps you take after the incident have a profound impact on subsequent legal proceedings. Contact the Kreeger Law Firm today to schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about the best first steps to take after a motor vehicle accident in California.