FAQ: How Do I Get a Police Report in Orange County?
If you were injured in a car accident and didn’t receive an official report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) at the scene, you do have options to make a request after the fact. The police report may be important evidence when you’re making a claim for compensation with an insurance company, or eventually in court. Your Orange County car accident attorney can assist with this effort, but some answers to frequently asked questions may also help.
HOW CAN I OBTAIN AN ORANGE COUNTY POLICE REPORT?
The OCSD Report Request Guidelines includes details on how to get a traffic collision report. You’ll have to provide some basic information about the incident; the OCSD provides a form for you to fill out to expedite the process, but it’s not required. Note that you should call the OCSD first to make sure the report is available, as there may be a delay between the accident and its official release.
Then, you have multiple options for submitting your request, including:
- By email, fax, or US Mail;
- Appearing in person; or,
- Filling out an online request.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO REQUEST A POLICE REPORT?
Not everyone is authorized to receive a police report after an auto accident. You can only obtain the document if you are:
- One of the drivers involved in the crash;
- An owner of an involved vehicle;
- The parent or guardian minor driver;
- A passenger who is listed in the report;
- Someone who suffered property damage from the incident;
- A personal injury attorney; or,
- Other individual designated by law.
WHY IS A POLICE REPORT IMPORTANT IN A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
The official record of the crash may play a role as evidence of fault, which is one of the essential elements in proving your right to compensation as an injured victim. The negligent driver’s insurance company may review the police report and, if liability of their own policyholder is clear, you may receive a payout on your claim.
However, insurers are notorious for finding reasons not to pay compensation. They may argue that the police report isn’t solid evidence, especially if officers didn’t actually witness the accident.
ARE THERE OTHER FORMS OF EVIDENCE THAT CAN HELP MY CLAIM?
When a police report is questionable as proof, experienced attorneys have many other strategies to establish your right to compensation. Examples include:
- Witness testimony;
- Footage from security cameras installed by area businesses and official surveillance cameras that may be present at nearby intersections;
- Your own testimony;
- Input from an accident reconstruction specialist, who draws from a scientific background and uses special technology to re-create the circumstances of the crash; and,
- Other forms of evidence to prove fault.
A SKILLED LOS ANGELES TRIAL LAWYER CAN HELP WITH YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
If you were injured in a car accident and have additional questions about getting an Orange County police report, an experienced attorney can help. Our team at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers has extensive experience in motor vehicle crash claims, and we know the best ways to use a police report to your advantage. Please contact our office to set up a free consultation, where we can explain your rights and remedies as the victim of an accident.
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