You were in a car accident in the City of Los Angeles and the insurance company is now requesting a copy of the traffic collision report (TCR). How do you get one? Further, what does it show?
You can get a traffic collision report from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) by either requesting one online or through the United States Mail.
Online request for LAPD crash report
- To make a request online in English, click here.
- To make a request online in Spanish – Español, click here.
U.S. Mail request for LAPD crash report
- Download and complete a Traffic Collision Report Request,
- Obtain a $16.00 check or money order made payable to the LAPD (the Department does not receive cash), and
- Send your completed report request and payment to:
Los Angeles Police Department
Records and Identification Division
Document Processing Unit
P.O. Box 30158
Los Angeles, CA 90030
For questions, please contact 1-800-ASK-LAPD (1-877-275-5273) or go to lapdonline.org.
Note that a traffic collision report is a document that summarizes all of the details regarding a car accident. The document is usually written by the police officer that responds to the incident.
1. Who can request a California traffic accident report?
Per California Vehicle Code 20012, the following people can request an LAPD report:
- a driver involved in the accident,
- a guardian of a driver involved in the accident,
- the parent of a minor driver,
- the authorized representative of a driver,
- any person injured in the accident,
- any person who suffered property damage because of the accident,
- any person that may be found liable for the accident, and
- an attorney for any of the people named above.1
2. How long does it take to get a police report?
You have to wait 45 days from the collision date before requesting a traffic collision report. This is so that LAPD can review and approve the report for release.2
Per the LAPD’s website, once you make a request, there is currently a minimum of two months for LAPD to process the report request.3
If you want to receive an update on when your request might get processed, you can call (213) 486-8100.
3. Are there certain accident reports that you cannot get online?
While you can obtain most collision reports online, there are certain types of reports that you can only receive via a request through the U.S. Mail. These reports include:
- traffic collision reports that involve an arrest, fatality, or juvenile, and
- traffic collision reports issued prior to February 1, 2016.
4. What information is in an accident report?
A police officer usually responds to the scene of a car accident shortly after the accident takes place. An accident report is that officer’s summary of their investigation of the accident scene.
The report usually includes the following information:
- the date and time of the accident,
- the accident’s location,
- the identity of the involved parties,
- identifying information for everyone involved in the accident (this usually includes names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license information, and possibly license plate numbers),
- the names and contact information of any witnesses,
- a summary of any damage involved in the accident,
- a summary of the conditions that existed at the time of the accident (for example, traffic, weather, and roadway conditions),
- whether or not the accident involved a traffic violation,
- the officer’s opinion of what took place, and
- a diagram of the accident (this might not always be provided).
5. How do I get a California Highway Patrol accident report?
The quickest way to obtain a California Highway Patrol accident report is through the CHP’s online portal.
Otherwise, fill out the CHP 190 – Collision Request Form and attach a photocopy of your state driver’s license or identification card. Then bring it to a local CHP office or mail it to 601 North 7th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. It is recommended you call CHP at 1-800-835-5247 to see if they require a fee.
6. Can a car accident lawyer help?
Yes. If you were involved in a traffic collision, you should consult with an accident attorney or personal injury lawyer for help.
An attorney or law firm often assists by:
- getting a copy of the report on your behalf,
- gathering your insurance information and submitting the report to the applicable insurance company,
- filing an injury claim with the applicable insurer,
- negotiating that claim on your behalf,
- gathering evidence of who caused the accident, and
- if necessary, filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
In our experience as auto accident attorneys, injured drivers recover larger payouts from insurance companies when represented by a California auto accident lawyer.