Car Accident Police Reports
Car accident police reports are mandated in every state. This is because they happen so often and it is vital to keep drivers responsible through legal consequences.
Many states have laws in place to keep residents accountable and safe. These laws mandate getting a police report after an accident. Some states like Colorado require drivers to file a report even for minor fender benders.
On the other hand, states like Vermont mandate that drivers only need to make a car accident police report if the total damage, property or personal injury, is over $3,000. Most states require that you file within 10 days of the accident. Drivers who fail to make a report can get their license suspended or incur violation fines.
A complete and comprehensive accident police report includes the following information:
- Date, time and location of the accident
- Names, address, phone numbers car information and insurance information of all parties involved in accident
- Information that identifies witnesses
- Description of damage on vehicles and injuries
- Weather and road conditions at the site of the accident
- Statements from all parties involved in accident
- Citations given
- Opinion of cause of collision from all parties involved
How To Request Records Contained In A Major Collision File
Major Collision Bureau investigates all Motor Vehicle Collisions resulting in a fatality or serious personal injury that occur in the Region of Peel.
If you are NOTthe Involved Party to the Collision
You must provide proof of relationship to the involved party and a signed consent on behalf of the involved individual.
If the Involved Individual is Deceased
You are required to provide an authorization from the legal representative or power of attorney with supporting documents.
***Do Not Send Payment Until You Have Been Invoiced***
Please contact Martine Renwick, Information and Privacy Unit at or email at for additional assistance.
Online By Phone And In Person
Check the police departments website for information on obtaining police reports. The site will typically provide instructions on ordering a report, but may also provide a phone number or email address you can use to confirm whether your report is ready for pick-up. In most jurisdictions, the records unit or a report processing unit typically handles police report requests. This is the counter or office that you must visit in person or call to request status of a police report.
Some jurisdictions allow you to order a copy of the police report through a secure portal accessed through the departments website. To use this service, bear in mind that you will need to have a valid e-mail address and generally, you must be the person who reported the incident not a relative, friend, witness and so on. Make sure you have valid identification.
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File A Restraining Order
If you’re in an emergency situation, call 911.
If you’ve been a victim of domestic abuse and want to take legal action, you may be able to file for a protective order. Protective orders are also known as restraining orders or injunctions.
The process for obtaining a protective order differs from state to state. Your local police and court can help you get the process started. Contact your state, county, or municipal court for more information.
Generally, you have to fill out paperwork and submit it to the county courthouse. If you need protection right away, a judge may issue a temporary restraining order. To get a longer-term order, your judge may want either or both a full court hearing and your abuser’s presence.
The police can enforce a protective order. If necessary, the order can include special provisions like:
Custody of children
Forcing the abuser to leave a home
In some states, a protective order requires the abuser to surrender all firearms.
Police Report Vs Police Record
First, lets clarify something that is bound to cause some confusion: the difference between a police report and a police record. While these two items have similar names, they are in fact very different. A police report is a document filed by a police officer that essentially offers a summary of an arrest, incident, or accident. A police record, on the other hand, is usually the same as a criminal record and it includes a list and summary of an individuals history of interactions with law enforcement, including arrests and convictions.
Another point that deserves clarification is the difference between a police report and an accident report. In fact, theres not really a difference between these two items. An accident report is simply a type of police report that details the circumstances of a traffic accident. A police report, meanwhile, can include accident reports, but they cover a much broader range of incidents that may involve the police, including crimes. Note that some police departments call police reports incident reports. Remember that some accident reports may also be criminal reports, such as if the accident may have been caused by drunk driving.
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How Do I Check The Status Of A Police Report
Obtaining the status of a police report typically requires a phone call or an email to the police station, and in some cases an in-person visit. You might need to check status of a police report when the responding officer doesn’t provide it at the site of the incident. A report comes in handy for insurance and legal purposes. For example, if you are in a car accident, you’ll need an incident report so that an insurance company, attorney, or judge can determine who is at fault. Certain reports, such as those involving a juvenile, an arrest or fatality, might not be released online, and may need to be requested in person or via mail.
Donotpay Helps You File A Police Report Fast
DoNotPay lets you file a police report in three easy steps. With our help, you can complete the otherwise daunting process with a few clicks. DoNotPay is:
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You Can Also Go Online To File A Supplemental Report
File a supplemental report if you want to add information to your original report or to a report that has previously been filed by an SFPD officer. To file a supplemental police report, click on the “File a Police Report” link above, select the appropriate incident type, follow the prompted questions, and select ‘supplemental report’ when prompted.
Use the supplemental report method to report:
- Additional property losses from the same crime
- Additional details to describe stolen property, such as a serial number.
When you have finished entering your report, a temporary report will be emailed to you. This report will not be official until it is approved. Once that happens, we will email you an official copy.
How To Get A Police Report
By law, certain police records and violation reports prepared and maintained by the Police Department are accessible to the general public.
If you need to get a copy of a police report, do this. First, begin by researching the requirements of the police department responsible for the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred. Then, follow the departments exact protocol for requesting and receiving those records. Start by checking the police departments website. Expand your search to the city website if you dont find anything on the police departments website.
Obtain and Fill Out Request Forms
Some departments may require that you complete a request form, sometimes called a request for public records. This may also be known as a request for open records. When you check the department website, look to see if you can download the request form from their site. If so, fill out the request form and submit it according to the directions.
Most request forms will require you to provide the first and last name of at least one of the involved parties. In addition, youll need the location, date, and time of the incident, and in some cases, the incident or case number.
Submitting the Request Form
Important Notes Regarding Submitting Requests for Police Reports
- It may take a few days or more to obtain the official documents
- Charges for obtaining copies of the documents may vary by city or jurisdiction
- Very few departments allow access to records online
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How To Report A Crime In San Francisco
Make the right call!
Dial only in an emergency
It is an emergency if: there is an immediate threat to you or others the crime involves a weapon the crime is in progress or you know the suspects location.
If it is not an emergency, you will get help most quickly by calling our non-emergency line, at for crimes that occurred in San Francisco.
Whats In A Criminal Record
Lets break it down and get into the nitty gritty of it.
Since criminal records are public, the information is often used to help potential employers. Its basically a background check to poke around in. Plenty of businesses are required to do a quick background check, and many that arent do it anyways. In todays society, its natural to want to know everything we can about a person before we entrust important assets to them.
Criminal records contain a personal criminal history. Generally, this is a list of criminal offenses that have not been expunged such as traffic tickets, DUIs, or convicted crimes like misdemeanors or felonies. Our search will provide you with this information and more.
Sometimes warrants for the persons arrest will also show up on a police record, depending on where the warrant is from.
How Do Insurance Companies Use Police Reports
After a car accident, when a claim is reported, the insurance company will conduct its own investigation. One of the first things that an insurance company will ask for is the police report. This is because, as we discussed above, the report contains a vast amount of information pertaining to the car accident.
Sometimes the insurance company and police officer’s opinions are different. This is why there are times when the police report is in your favor in terms of a fault determination, but the other driver’s insurance company still denies your insurance claim.
Learn more about the role of insurance in a car accident case.
Traffic Collision Reports Available Online
LexisNexis, a commercial vendor, provides police reports for vehicular accidents. Police departments that use this service are able to capture crash data at the scene, and a full report is then available to permitted persons within 24 hours after law enforcement generates the report. This service is generally only available to named parties, that is, the persons who were involved in the accident, as well as commercial account holders, for example, lawyers and the the police department itself. To search for your report, enter your state and jurisdiction, and any of the following:
- Full name and date of incident
- Full name and address
- Report number
Not all police departments make their reports available through third-party vendors. The police department, rather than LexisNexis, sets the fee for the report, but you remit payment to LexisNexis.
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Facts Versus Opinions In Police Reports
The information contained in the police report can be a fact or an opinion. For example, the date, time, and location of the collision are facts. Fault determinations are the opinions of the police officer.
Regardless of what’s included in the police report, the insurance company, through its own investigation, will come to its own conclusion as to who was at fault for the accident.
How To Find Police Reports And Arrest Records Across Multiple Jurisdictions
Conducting your investigation can become complicated if you need to do a background search on someone who has lived in multiple jurisdictions. To simplify things, an internet-based specialized investigation company can provide a comprehensive, multi-state search in one easy step. This allows you to search for multiple records from all over the country quickly and easily. And you can avoid the hassle of searching for individual records from various government entities.
BeenVerified has an online search form for public records. BeenVerifieds automated search aggregates from hundreds of databases and repositories. To search, just go to the online search form and enter the persons first name, last name, and city. The form will search multiple public records databases and provide a list of potential matching names. Scroll through the list and select the person youre searching for, then click Build Report.
Questions and More Information
If you have any questions about how to get a copy of your police report, please leave a comment below. Also, view more Law Enforcement Resources.
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Why Police Reports Matter
Police reports are public records and in some states they may be viewable by just about anybody. Usually there are restrictions on how those records can be used, particularly by employers, landlords, and financial institutions. As already mentioned, police reports are particularly usefuland they may even be necessarywhen filing a claim with your insurer. The contents of a police report are important, so you need to make sure that any police report pertaining to you is accurate and does not cast you in an unnecessarily bad light.
Get Help After A Sexual Assault
Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline anytime at 1-800-656-HOPE . They will connect you anonymously with a counselor at your nearest rape treatment center.
Find state domestic violence resources online.
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline anytime at 1-800-799-SAFE . You can talk confidentially with an advocate or find local resources.
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Complaints About Police Officers
If you have experienced police misconduct:
- Contact the law enforcement agency involved.
- Submit your complaint in writing to the chief of police or the head of the law enforcement agency involved.
- Send a copy of your complaint to the Internal Affairs Division of the law enforcement agency. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.
If the problem remains unresolved, learn how to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
Finally, as with any potential legal dispute, you may want to contact a licensed attorney.
Obtain A Public Police Report Copy
After filing a public police report you are able to obtain a copy for yourself any time. Unless you received one from a dispatched officer on the scene, you most likely will have to pay a fee to obtain a copy.
Most police reports are public record so anyone who wants to see their own or someone elses report is able to do so. Reports that are under investigation though are usually restricted to the police department and investigating parties, however.
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How To Request A Police Report Online
Once you have determined which police department has your police report, you should visit their website. Many police departments now allow you to request your police report online, although some may require you to print off a police report request form and mail it to them with a self-addressed stamped envelope. San Antonio, for example, allows you to submit a request for a police report online, in person, or through the mail.
Requesting A Police Report By Mail
The process of requesting a copy of a police report by mail is a bit more involved. In many jurisdictions, you are required to make your Public Access Request via mail. Typically, the agency will provide a form online for you to fill out, but some places are fine with you writing a letter to ask for the police report.
1. Figure out where to send the Public Access Request form or letter.
Your local police department may have a specific address and addressee for police report requests listed on their website. If they dont, simply address it to the Records and Identification Division, and use the general address listed online for the department.
2. Fill out the form or write the letter.
After you have found the location to send your request, you should be able to easily find out if they want you to send a request form or a letter. If the information is not readily available on the site, just call and ask which method they prefer. If it is available, filling out a request form is typically the easiest method because you wont have to worry about leaving out information.
If you write a letter instead of filling out the form, be sure to include the following information:
- Case number
- Your Name, Birthdate, and Address
- The date and location of the incident
- Your role in the case
- The officers name who filed the report
- What exactly you are requesting
3. Gather additional materials and send the form/letter.
4. Pay for the police report.
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