officer filling out police report

What to Know About California Police Reports

When you’ve been involved in a car accident, it can be difficult to prove what exactly happened. Oftentimes it’s one driver’s word against the other. This can be tough when you are trying to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit for your injuries. That’s where a police report may prove extremely helpful. 

What Is a Police Report? 

When an accident occurs and you call the police, they will generally come to the scene in order to investigate what has occurred. This involves talking to witnesses, taking photographs, measuring distances, and inspecting vehicles, among other things. The police report then acts as a summary of the investigation. 

Police reports include a variety of factors, such as:

  • Date, time, and location of the accident (generally an approximation)
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information of parties involved
  • Witness information
  • Weather, roadway conditions, and visibility at the scene of the accident
  • Statements (from the parties and witnesses)
  • Location of the damage to the vehicles
  • Citations or violations of the law
  • Opinions as to the cause of the accident or a determination as to fault

There are two ways in which you can get your hands on a copy of the police report. You will also usually receive a receipt with the ID number of the police report from the officer at the scene. Once you have this you can call the local agency that responded and receive a copy after paying a small administrative fee (generally around $15). 

However, if you don’t have the ID number for the report, you can provide your name and the date, time, and location of the accident and there is a good chance that they will be able to locate the report for you. 

If you wish to obtain a copy of the report free of charge, you can ask the insurance adjuster who is handling your claim if they requested the report, and if so, you can request a copy of it from them. 

It’s important to note that insurance companies will still conduct their own investigation into what happened even after receiving a police report. Sometimes the insurance company’s investigation and the police report conflict, in which case the other driver’s insurance company can still refuse to pay your claim even if the police report found that they were at fault. 

Are Police Reports Admissible?

Police reports are usually a great tool when it comes to car insurance settlement negotiations. However, when it comes to using them as evidence for a car accident lawsuit, it depends. Depending upon the court in which your trial takes place, you may have to overcome the assumption that the report is hearsay evidence. It could also be considered a business record or public record. That’s why it’s in your best interest to have a knowledgeable and experienced California personal injury attorney on your side. 

Contact a Qualified Bay Area Personal Injury Attorney

At the Law Offices of David P. Kashani, our experienced California car accident lawyers work strategically to help our clients obtain the appropriate compensation for their damages and losses. When you become our client, you will have peace of mind knowing that our legal team is on your side. We will guide you through all aspects of your personal injury claim and make sure that your interests are protected. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us today!