When you begin the auto collision accident claims process, it is important to obtain a copy of your accident report from your local police. An accident report contains important crash details that will affect your accident claim. Most notably, your California crash report will include evidence about your degree of fault in the accident. Not everyone has requested an auto collision accident report from the police, however, and it is not always clear how to do so. If you are in Merced, California, and you need a copy of your accident report, read on for instructions.

Always Be Sure to Report Your Accident

The claims process is not the only reason you should file a report after an auto collision accident. Division 10 of the California Vehicle Code requires drivers to report all auto collision accidents to local law enforcement agencies. Failure to notify law enforcement is a misdemeanor. If someone is injured in the accident, failure to report is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine between $1,000 and $10,000, or both. If only property damage occurs, the fine is no more than $1,000, and the potential jail time is no more than six months. 

Drivers must also report accidents to the California Department of Motor Vehicles if injury, death, or property damage of over $1,000 occurs. It is important to note that a police report does not fulfill this requirement. Drivers who fail to report an accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of the accident may face driver license suspension for up to one year.

Getting Your Accident Report in Merced

If your accident was in Merced, California, there are two primary ways to obtain your auto collision accident’s police report. Where you obtain your accident report depends on what law enforcement agency responds to your accident.

Requests for the Merced Police Department

If the Merced Police Department responds to your accident, you can obtain a copy of your accident report from them. The City of Merced website has an online portal with information on requesting official documents. There, you will find a link to the records request form. If you need help with parts of the form, like the incident number, you can call the Merced Police Department for help at 209-385-6912. You can submit your request in person at the Merced Police Station Records Department located at 611 W. 22nd Street, Merced, CA 95340. Their hours of operation are 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The report costs $7.50.

Requests for California Highway Patrol

If your accident occurs on an interstate highway, California Highway Patrol (CHP) will likely respond to the accident and file the report. If that happens, you can request a copy of your accident report through CHP directly. The reports cost $10.00 for every 25 pages. You can find the form here or in person at your local CHP office, where you can submit the form in person or by mail. The Merced County CHP office is at 1500 Bell Drive, Merced, CA 95301. They are open to the public from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.

Should I Hire an Attorney After a Merced Auto Collision Accident?

Whatever happens in an auto collision accident, it is always helpful to consult with an auto collision attorney afterward. Your lawyer will advise you on your best course of action to recover all the damages you suffer and alleviate the stress of the claims process. The auto collision lawyers at Silva Injury Law, Inc. have considerable experience helping victims of auto collision accidents solve the problems they face during the claims process and always strive to do so in the most efficient and respectful manner. Let us help you. Contact us today.