If you were involved in a car accident on a California highway, you will want to obtain a copy of the official crash report. It’s always a good idea to keep a copy of accident documentation on file, and insurance companies often require that you submit a copy of the report during the claims process.
You have a few different options when it comes to obtaining a California Highway Patrol collision report. Understanding what the process entails up front can save you time and help ensure you have the documentation you need if it’s necessary to recover accident compensation.
How to Access a California Highway Accident Report
Accidents that occur on California highways are investigated by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). If an accident did not occur on a California highway, you’ll need to go through the office of whichever agency investigated the crash, such as a local California police department.
You have three options for obtaining a copy of a CHP accident report. You can:
- Visit any CHP station and request a copy
- Submit a request by mail
- Submit an online request for a copy
If you use the CHP’s online Crash Report Search, you’ll need to register, upload identifying documentation, and pay the online fee. If you choose to visit an office or submit a request by mail, you need to provide the required identifying information by completing an Application for Release of Information, CHP 109 Form.
Understanding the CHP 109 Form
Regardless of which route you choose to access a report, you’ll need to provide certain information. This helps the CHP verify which report you’re trying to access. It’s also used to verify that you’re authorized to access the crash report.
If you’re requesting an online report, you’ll be guided to enter the required information through the online form. On the other hand, if you’re requesting a report in person or through the mail, you need to fill out the CHP 109 Form.
This form asks you to provide information that includes:
- Accident date
- Accident location
- Vehicle owner/driver
- Your name
- Your address
You’ll need to include a photocopy of your driver’s license or ID. You can also have your signature notarized instead of including a copy of your ID.
As part of the CHP 109 Form, you need to choose an option under the “Party of Interest” section. Your ID or notarized signature is required to prove your party of interest relationship.
Not everyone can request a copy of a CHP accident report. You must have been personally involved in the crash, the parent or legal guardian of a minor involved in the crash, or an authorized entity, like an insurance company or car accident lawyer.
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Crash Report?
When CHP officers arrive at the scene of a California car accident, they take down information about the crash and use this information to create an official crash report. However, this document isn’t immediately available.
Reports are typically available eight days after the crash. In more complex cases, such as if the crash involved a fatality, it can take much longer for an investigation to conclude and the crash report to be completed. Once the report is available, it can take up to 10 days to receive a copy.
Getting Legal Help After a California Crash
California highway accidents bring loss of life, serious injuries, and untold financial strain. Understanding how to access a CHP report is the first step in collecting the documentation you need for a California car accident claim.
At any stage of the claims process after a crash, a California car accident lawyer can advise you on how to best move forward.
Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people of San Diego. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents – including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents – need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side. If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines