The report can be a critical piece of evidence in an injury claim submitted to an insurance company.

The report includes information that can help to establish liability for what happened. If the injury case is not settled out of court and a lawsuit is filed, the law enforcement officer who authored the report may be called to testify, and this report will be the basis of what the officer says at trial.

The importance of understanding your accident report

It is vital that you understand what the accident report reveals. Be aware that an accident report could be absolutely wrong in determining fault. Law enforcement officers are human, and they may have misjudged the facts. If so, we can call upon professional accident investigators to challenge the evaluation of the facts in a report.

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Taking care of you while taking down insurance companies

Our entire team at The Swanson Law Group is caring, supportive, empathetic, service-oriented, and focused on helping our clients regain their health. While providing personal support and care, we are also relentless, dangerous, strategic, and fearsome when it comes to dealing with insurance companies. We take care of our clients and take down insurance companies. Our legal team of Ben Swanson, Esq., Zaneta Conroy, Esq., and Greg Schaffer, Esq. have achieved remarkable victories in car accident cases. Here are just a few of our case results:

  • $8,870,000 verdict: Semi-truck accident
  • $6,250,000: Confidential personal injury settlement
  • $5,000,000: Vehicle accident 

How to obtain the car accident report

If you or a family member was injured in a car accident, you have the right to a copy of the accident report. To obtain it, you must submit a legal form. The form is called a Collision Report, CHP 190. You must print and complete the form and submit it, whether in person or by mail. You can obtain the form from any CHP office or download it. The request form requires you to provide:

  • The date of the accident
  • The location of the accident
  • The driver or owner of the vehicle
  • Selecting who you are as a “party of interest” such as the driver, passenger, etc.)
  • Your name and address
  • Your signature
  • The required fees (depending on the length of the report)

If you are uncertain about requesting the report, our San Jose car accident lawyer will obtain it for you. 

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Reading a California accident report

The accident report is in a standard format. Each page of the report covers specific details about the collision:

Accident Report

The top page covers the basics of the collision. It lists where the accident occurred, as well as the date and time of day of the incident. This page will reveal the ID number of the officer who investigated the collision. On the left side of the page, information about all parties involved will appear, along with  license plate number, VIN, auto insurance information, and driver contact information. The estimated damage to the vehicle is also listed.

how to read your california accident report infographic

This section describes the damage to the vehicle. It also lists the owner. The second section on page two has information in codes which reveal where each person was seated in the vehicle, whether the vehicle occupant wore a seat belt, if they were sitting in a car seat, whether airbags deployed, and if any occupant was ejected from the vehicle.

This section also reveals whether the investigating officer believes inattention contributed to the accident and other environmental factors such as weather, road surface conditions, and roadway lighting. The type of accident is listed, along with vehicle motion prior to the collision and whether a driver was found to be intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. At the bottom of this section will appear a sketch of how the accident occurred.

how to read your california accident report

Page three lists information about the people injured in the collision, along with witnesses and passengers. The top section is where the accident report lists the types of injuries, such as severe or fatal. The remainder of the page covers the details of the injured individuals, with all contact information and the hospital to which the injured person was transported and the party that transported them.

reading your california accident report

This page has a diagram of how the accident occurred. At the end of the page, the investigating officer’s name and badge ID number are listed.

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