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Obtaining a Traffic Collision Report

Where to Get a Copy of your Traffic Collision Report

If you've recently been involved in a car accident and your vehicle has sustained damages, or you've been injured, you may be entitled to compensation. Accidents can be overwhelming, yet remembering important details about the accident is crucial. Fortunately, a Traffic Accident Report (TAR) can help. If your accident occurred on the California Highway Patrol, report your accident to the local police department. Calling the police after an accident is always a good idea, even if you don't think you've been injured. A professional on the scene can facilitate the exchange of information and make a report of the incident.

What's the difference between a Traffic Accident Report and a Police Report?

Even if you've never been involved in a car accident, you're probably aware of police reports. If you're unsure how to get a copy, why the insurance company cares about these types of reports, and whether police reports are admissible in courts, read on for more information. 

What is a Police Report?

Once the officer arrives at the scene of the accident, they will complete a formal police report. The police report is a summary of information regarding the collision. The report contains both facts related to the accident and the opinion of the investigating officer. 

The crash report will contain vital information about your case. This can include:
  • The approximate date, time, and location of the crash.
  • Name and contact information for all parties involved. 
  • Identifying information for witnesses 
  • Details of how the accident occurred- according to the officer's assessment of fault
  • Any citations given and/or violations of the law
  • Details of the road and weather conditions at the scene. 
  • Description or diagram of the accident 
  • Statements from parties involved and witnesses 
  • A detailed description of damages and injuries

A police report can help you or your attorney prove your side of the story with ease. It can also be a determinant in whether or not you should pursue compensation. Our compassionate and experienced car accident attorneys can help you navigate the process and answer any questions you may have.

How to Get the Police Report

There are a couple of ways you can obtain a police report. To get a paid copy of your police report, you'll need to request a copy from your local law enforcement office. At the scene of the accident, the officer who drafts the report will typically hand you a receipt with an identification number. You can use the identification number to locate the report. Once you've called your local law enforcement agency's traffic division and pay the administrative fee (typically $15), a copy of the report will be sent to you. If you don't know the identification number, you can provide the date, time, and location of the accident along with your name. This information will assist you in locating the report. 

To obtain a free copy of the police report, you can contact a claims representative from your insurance company to see if they’ve already requested a copy.  If they've successfully obtained the report, ask the representative for a copy. If your insurance company has obtained a copy, this will certainly save you some money. Regardless of how you receive the report, it may take a few weeks to become available as the investigating officer completes the report. The police report will contain all the vital information you need to receive fair compensation for your injuries or damages sustained to your vehicle. If you have any trouble obtaining your crash report, one of our excellent attorneys can help you get a copy. 

What is a Traffic Accident Report (TAR)?

You must report an accident if it causes property damages over $1,000, bodily injury, or death. If you fail to report the crash within ten days, you could even face harsh fines or lose your license. You are legally obligated to file the traffic accident report (TAR) on Form SR-1 if you want to recover insurance benefits from another party's policy.

Here is the information your Traffic Accident Report includes:
  • Name and details of all parties involved
  • Insurance information for all drivers involved
  • Description of property damage of personal injury

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our attorneys will use these vital reports to conduct a successful investigation of your accident. For instance, seeking out every possible defendant involved will maximize your chance for recovery and compensation.These reports will allow us to determine who may be liable for the damages. 

How to Obtain Your Report


The easiest way to obtain your accident report is by visiting the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) website. To pinpoint your specific report, you must include the following details. 

Here is the information required to find your report:
  • Location of accident 
  • Last name of any victims 
  • The exact date of the accident 

Once you've added this information, you'll see a list of reports. If a police officer was called to the scene, use the report number they gave you. If you choose to obtain your report online, there is a convenience fee plus a nominal fee to download a copy of the report. 

Traffic Collision Reports that involve an arrest, fatality, or a juvenile cannot be released online. You may, however, request a copy of your report by mail. 

By mail 

To request a report by mail, you will need to download and complete the Traffic Accident Request Report document. Once you've finished the form, mail it in with either a $18.00 check or money order made payable to the LAPD. 

Mail to the following address: 

Los Angeles Police Department

Records and Identification Division

 P.O. Box 30158

  Los Angeles, CA 90030

A copy of your report will be sent to your home address to retain for your records. Allow a minimum of 45 days from the date of the accident before requesting a copy of your accident report in Los Angeles. 

Submit a written request 

Another way to obtain a Traffic Accident Report is through a written request. When submitting a written request, be sure to include the following

Here is the information that you'll need to include:
  • Type of report (traffic)
  • LAPD Report (D.R.) Number
  • Requester's date of birth 
  • Name(s) of parties involved 
  • Time and date of the accident
  • Location of accident 
  • License plate number and state registration of vehicles involved 
  • Your interest in a TAR
  • Release forms for authorized parties, insurance companies, proof of guardianship. 
  • Include the statement, "I declare this statement is true and correct."
  • Sign and date your request 

A copy of your Traffic Accident Report is also available through your local DMV. Because your report is filed directly with this agency, you'll need to visit one of their locations to obtain a copy. 

How WCTL Can Help

The attorneys at West Coast Trial lawyers are happy to help you get a copy of a Traffic Accident or Police Report. If you're looking to pursue an accident injury claim, having one of our exceptional lawyers gather all the necessary documents and information will help your case tremendously. Your information will always remain confidential, one of our attorneys will walk you through the process and start by going over the details of your accident. You can feel confident that your case is in excellent hands. Contact us to get started today!


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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