What Should Be Included in an Accident Report?

In 2017 the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System reported that there were 3,904 people killed in a total of 3,582 fatal crashes on California roads. There were an additional 193,564 car accidents that resulted in 277,160 people injured. These are not just statistics but the number of accident reports submitted by people to the California DMV and California Highway Patrol.

When you have been in a car accident, you will be required to submit accident reports for a number of reasons. There are two kinds of reports to start. You are required to file an accident report with the DMV, and you will have to file a police report if there are any injuries.

If you have been injured in a California car accident, you will need to go through the accident report process. Call the California car accident victim team at Arash Law at (888) 488-1391 to book a free case review, and we’ll see if we can help you through that process.


What Should Be Included in an Accident Report?

California Vehicle Code 1806 stipulates that you must report a car accident to the DMV regardless of which driver is at fault in the accident.That report must include the following:

  • Names and addresses of all parties
  • Vehicle make, model, and plates for all vehicles involved
  • Driver’s names and addresses
  • Whether or not the insurance policy is a liability policy, and if it covered the vehicle and driver or both
  • Names and addresses of all individuals that have been injured or were killed in the accident
  • Property damages, including telephone poles, fences, and animals
  • Property owners names and addresses

For the DMV, if the insurance policy in question is not in effect, you will have 20 days to report the accident. If the policy is still in effect, you will have 10 days to report the accident to the DMV. You will also need to attach a photo of your driver’s license to the report.

The DMV report is called the SR-1 Accident Reporting Form and can be filled out online, or you can print and mail the SR-1 Accident Reporting Form. This is a different timeline than a police report. If there is property damage and injuries, you must report the accident to the police. You are required to file a police report as well, which can be done for you by the police at the time they respond to the accident.

If the police do not come to the scene of the accident, you can attend your local police station to fill out a police report on the accident. It will be very similar to the report you fill out for the DMV. When you have been in a California car accident, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and scared. One of the first calls you should make after an accident is to a personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate every important detail. The police and accident reports are among the most important components of your accident.

If you have been injured in a car accident, call the California motor vehicle accident lawyers at Arash Law at (888) 488-1391 for a free case review. We can help you file your claims and reports and will fight for you to get the compensation that you deserve. We’ve been helping injured parties in car accidents for decades and will fight for you to win too.

What Is a Police Report?

A police report on a car accident is simply a report that an officer or constable fills out when they respond to a call for a car accident. It summarizes the details of the accident. California Vehicle Code 2008 says that you must submit a written report of the accident to California Highway Patrol within 24 hours of the accident. When the police respond to the accident, they will file the report for you.

The report will be similar to the DMV report, with additional details that tell more of the story of the accident. You might have landmarks in the report, weather details, traffic conditions, and more information about witnesses and what happened. When the police respond to the accident or a call about the accident, let them know everything. If the police do not come the day of the accident, call them later that day or the next day as soon as you can to report the accident.

Tell them every detail that you can, including information about witnesses. The police will want to know who was there that day and get statements from any witnesses that were present at the time of the accident. That will include any passengers that were with you at the time of the accident, as well as any passersby or passengers from the other vehicle that can make a statement.

The more statements that you have on the accident, the stronger your claim when you talk to the insurance company. When you are dealing with a car accident that involved a lot of people, injuries, and damages, you need a lawyer to help walk you through this process. At Arash Law, our car accident lawyers have been recovering millions for car accident victims for decades. Call us at (888) 488-1391, and we will look at your case for free.

Facts or Opinions About Car Accidents

It’s common to be uncertain about details pertaining to an accident and even more common to forget or not know things at all. When you have been injured in a car accident, you will have adrenaline coursing through your blood that changes the equilibrium of your mind and body completely. Accident victims often forget things, aren’t sure of things, and may not even feel physical pain as they normally would when injured.


You may not even feel pain from serious injury until the next day. Such an experience is the body’s way of protecting you during trauma so that you can fight or flight. However, the after-effects do interfere with memory as well.

When you are making statements for a police report, there will be facts, memories, and opinions. It’s okay for you to say you don’t remember something, and it’s better to say that if you aren’t sure about something. You can say you aren’t sure about something as well.

If you know something is a fact, you can let the police know it’s a fact as well. The police are very familiar with accident victims and know you have undergone something awful. It’s a lot to deal with all at once. Everybody wants a report on this car accident.


The insurance company has the largest financial stake in this, and so they are going to want to investigate the accident thoroughly. They will want to see a copy of the police report. This is what we do at Arash Law. Our personal injury attorneys can fight for you when you are going through this. Call us today at (888) 488-1391 for a consultation. You don’t pay until we win.

Getting the Police Report

You will be asked for a copy of the police report by many parties. There are two ways to get it. You can purchase a copy of the report from the police, or you can ask your insurance company to get it for you. After you have given your statement to the police, they will give you a receipt with an identification number so that you can get your report.

You can get this directly from the California Highway Patrol by filling out an Application for Release of Information. A report less than 25 pages will cost $10, and an additional $10 for every 25 pages after that. The only parties that are eligible for a copy of this report are interested parties in the accident, including:

  • Insurance companies
  • Attorneys
  • Coroner
  • California Department of Transportation
  • Parents of minors

Your claims representative for your insurance company can get it for you, but so can your attorney. You may not be sure who investigated the collision at the police level. If it was a department other than the California Highway Patrol (CHP), you would have to get a copy of the report from that department. You can get that information from the CHP; they will know who investigated your accident and where to get that information. Obtaining a police report from a police department is standard across the country, with minor exceptions when it comes to paperwork.

Only interested parties can access the reports, and you simply need to pay an administration fee and give them your information to get a copy of your police report. If you’ve been in an accident, they are very easy to get. We can help you get a copy of the police report if you are having problems or are not well enough to handle this paperwork. Leave your information online at Arash Law, and a car accident claims lawyer will be in touch with you to review your case for free.

Admissibility of Police Reports in Court

A police report can be used in a settlement negotiation, but in court, there is a process to ensure your report can be admitted. Civil courts rule by the Federal Rules of Evidence which generally consider police reports as hearsay and inadmissible. That is because the report is a record of statements that occurred outside the court. Statements in a police report would not have the weight of a sworn affidavit or sworn testimony that is subject to the penalty of perjury.

Still, you could seek an exception to hearsay rules and be successful. A public record is often admissible, and that is what a police report would be considered. An alternative is to ask for testimony from the author of the report, who would be the police officer. Additionally, you could seek an affidavit or testimony from someone within the police report to substantiate a claim in the report and eliminate the problem of hearsay or admissibility.

Contact a California Car Accident Attorney Today

If you have been in a California car accident, this is the worst time of your life. Filling out a report for paperwork before the accident seems straightforward. After an accident, it’s human and expected if you can’t think straight when you look at it.

You don’t have to go through this alone. At Arash Law, we fight for car accident injury victims every day. Call us today at (888) 488-1391 for a free case review. You won’t pay anything until we win.

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DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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