If you have been injured in a crash or your property was damaged during one, it is helpful to request a copy of the California Highway Patrol accident report. Your attorney and the insurance company will use the report to help evaluate your claim.
The California Vehicle Code allows the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to release crash reports to those who have an interest in the accident, which includes:
- People injured in the crash;
- Owners of the vehicles and damaged property;
- People who might be liable;
- The guardian, conservator, or parent of a minor driver; and
- An authorized representative of any of these individuals.
The California Highway Patrol accident report ensures all interested people have access to the information that was recorded at the accident scene.
What Is a California Highway Patrol Crash Report?
The CHP crash report will provide you with detailed information about the scene of the crash that caused the injury or property damage.
The Vehicle Code requires each report to contain:
- Names and addresses of people involved in the crash and witnesses;
- Vehicle descriptions and registration information;
- Location, day, and time of the crash;
- Diagrams of the crash; and
- All statements from drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
The report gives attorneys important facts about the accident to help prepare your case.
Why Should I Request a Copy of the CHP Crash Report?
The CHP crash report information is not evidence. However, it gives attorneys and insurance companies valuable information about the crash. Silva Injury Law can use the CHP crash report information to gather additional evidence and identify strategies to obtain the most compensation for your claim. Our attorneys will review the witness statements to identify inconsistencies between the witnesses that should be addressed during settlement negotiations or at trial.
The CHP crash report information also helps Silva Injury Law attorneys identify the types of expert witnesses that will be needed to explain the cause of the accident for settlement discussions or at trial. Expert witnesses are critical to claims involving personal injuries and property damage. Their review of the photographs, diagrams, skidmark measurements, and statements in the CHP accident report can give us accurate information to support your personal injury claim.
Insurance companies can also use the CHP crash report information to get a basic idea of coverages that apply to your case. Often, insurance companies offer inadequate settlement offers to injured persons who are not represented. Hiring Silva Injury Law can help you recover maximum benefits for your situation.
How to Make a CHP Police Report Request
There are three ways to request a copy of your California Highway Patrol accident report: online, in person, and by mail.
Your California Highway Patrol crash report is usually available online eight working days after the date of the accident. You will need to register for a CHP Crash Search account to request your accident report.
To complete your online request:
1. Enter your accident information in Crash Search,
2. Click Search for Crash, and
4. Follow the directions to submit your request.
Contact the CHP if your report does not appear or you need accident information.
You can also request an accident report in person at a CHP Office near you.
Print Form CHP 190, and complete the English or the Spanish section with the following information:
- Date of crash—an approximate date is fine;
- Location of crash—describe the location if you do not remember it exactly;
- Driver or vehicle owner’s name—this is needed only for a crash involving injuries and can be left blank if the crash resulted only in property damage;
- Party of interest—only check one box to show your involvement in the crash;
- Your name and address—P.O. boxes are not permitted; and
- Your signature—your signature affirms that you are a person with the right to request the report.
Take your completed form and payment to a CHP office for processing.
To make your request by mail, complete Form CHP 190 and mail it to the CHP office that filed your accident report. You need to include a copy of your driver’s license or identification card with the completed form, so the CHP can confirm you are the party of interest that is selected on Form CHP 190.
If you do not want to provide a copy of your driver’s license or identification card, you must get the form certified by a notary public. You must then submit the notary’s certification instead of a copy of the driver’s license or identification card.
Fees and Payment
Accident report fees are based on the length of the report and whether it has a CD or DVD with information not in the printed report. Call the CHP for the total cost.
Current fees are:
- $10.00—1 to 25 pages,
- $20.00—26 to 50 pages,
- $30.00—51 to 75 pages,
- $40.00—76 to 100 pages,
- Over 100 pages—$40.00 plus $10.00 for each additional 25 pages, and
- $5.00 for each CD or DVD.
Mail-in requests must include a check for the fees; write the report number on the memo line, if you know it. Fees for in-person requests can be paid by cash or check; debit and credit cards are not accepted.
An Attorney Can File the Request for You
If the process of requesting a crash report seems overwhelming, reach out to us for help. We can gather the necessary information from you and handle this process on your behalf.
Contact Silva Injury Law to Learn More
Silva Injury Law is committed to helping clients heal after an accident. Michael Joe Silva worked as a Merced County prosecutor before starting Silva Injury Law. This experience helps him and his dedicated team of attorneys to consistently obtain favorable results for their clients.
If you have been injured in a crash or your property was damaged in one, contact an attorney at Silva Injury Law at (209) 600-4389. We are committed to helping you find the best solution for your specific case.