If you were in a Los Angeles car accident, you probably called 911 to report the accident to the police. The police officer investigating the accident most likely completed a car accident report. You are entitled to a copy of your car accident report, but can the public view your report too?
California Law Requires That You Report Most Los Angles Car Accidents
California law requires drivers to report car accidents that involve injury or death to law enforcement officials within 24 hours after the crash. The quickest and easiest way to report a car crash is to call 911.
Additionally, drivers must report car crashes involving injuries, death, or property damage of $1,000 or more to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of the date of the accident. Drivers can obtain a copy of the SR-1 form online at the DMV’s website.
Who Can Access Car Accident Reports in California?
California Vehicle Code §20012 states that accident reports are for the confidential use of the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Therefore, car accident reports are not considered public records in California in most circumstances.
However, interested parties can request copies of the car accident reports. Interested parties to a car accident include:
- A driver
- The parent of a minor driver
- The guardian or conservator of a driver
- An authorized representative of the driver
- The owner of a vehicle involved in the accident
- Someone who was injured in the accident
- A person or party who could incur civil liability because of the accident
- The owner of the property that was damaged because of the car crash
- Attorneys representing any of the above parties
The police officer does not give you a copy of your Los Angeles car accident report at the accident scene. You must request and pay for a copy of your car accident report after the officer files the official report.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Los Angeles Car Accident Report?
There are several ways to get a copy of a Los Angeles car accident report. When you hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you in your car accident case, your attorney will get a copy of the traffic crash report for you.
You can request a copy of a Traffic Collision Report from the LAPD’s website. You must wait 45 days after the accident date to obtain a copy of the report online. You can also obtain a copy of the report by mail.
If the California Highway Patrol investigated the accident, you must request a copy of the crash report in person or by mail. Likewise, if the Los Angels County Sheriff’s Office investigated the crash, you must request a copy of the accident report from them by mail or in person.
What Steps Should You Take After a Car Accident in Los Angeles, CA?
You can improve your chances of receiving a fair settlement for your car accident claim by following some general steps after a car accident in Los Angeles. These steps apply in most car accident cases:
- Call 911 to report the car accident to the police and request EMS.
- Collect evidence by taking pictures of the accident scene and making a video.
- Do not admit fault or accept blame for causing the car accident.
- Ask bystanders and witnesses for their names and telephone numbers.
- Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries.
- Before denying medical treatment, think twice. Saying you are okay or you do not need medical treatment could be used against you. It is better to say you are unsure if you are injured and plan to see your doctor promptly.
- Report the car accident to your insurance company, but avoid making a formal statement or answering questions on a recorded line.
- Do not sign any documents or accept a settlement offer without seeking legal advice from a Los Angeles car accident lawyer.
Schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer as soon as your health permits. The sooner you receive legal advice, the better you can protect your rights.
How Can a Lawyer Help After a Los Angeles Car Accident?
California is a tort-based state for car accident claims. Investigating a car crash and gathering evidence can be time-consuming and expensive. A car accident attorney handles all matters related to proving causation and fault to establish liability.
An experienced attorney also understands the value of your damages. An insurance company will try to pay you much less than your case is worth. However, an attorney fights to get you the maximum compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Your lawyer also defends you against allegations of contributory fault that could reduce the amount of money you receive for your claim. Before signing a settlement agreement, let an attorney review your case for free to ensure you receive a fair amount from the insurance company.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.