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How to Get a Police Report for a Car Accident

  1. Obtaining a Police Report Following a Car Accident
  2. Ensure the Police Report Is Accurate
  3. Are Police Reports Free?
  4. Why Obtain a Police Report Following a Car Accident?
  5. A Car Accident Lawyer Can Gather Additional Supporting Evidence
  6. Learn More About Your Next Steps After a Car Accident

To obtain a police report for a car accident in Washington, you can visit the Washington State Patrol Requests for Electronic Collision Records (WRECR). This system allows you to search for collision reports by the date the collision occurred and the names of the parties involved.

If you don’t see your report right away, it could be because your report hasn’t been uploaded yet. It can take anywhere from two to four weeks for the report to be available. You can also obtain a police report for a car accident by mail. To do this, you will need to complete the Request for Copy of Collision Report Form. Or, you can have your car accident lawyer request a copy for you. 

Obtaining a Police Report Following a Car Accident

Police reports are vital documents that provide detailed information that can help support your insurance claim following a car accident. The police officer who responded to the accident scene will have completed this document. Police reports include vital information, such as:

  • The names of those involved in the accident
  • Whether the police issued any citations 
  • The officer’s investigative findings related to the crash
  • Whether injuries were reported
  • If any arrests were made

How to Obtain a Police Report

Obtaining a police report is fairly simple, and it is worthwhile to do so, even if you believe that the other party was clearly at fault in your accident. To obtain a police report, you must either:

  • Visit the WRECR and request one; or
  • Complete a Request for Copy of Collision Report Form to obtain your report by mail.

Ensure the Police Report Is Accurate

When filling out the police report, there is always the chance that the officer makes a mistake. Whether falsely stating that you were given a citation, or stating there were no injuries when there actually were, these errors can prove devastating to insurance claims and lawsuits.   

By obtaining a copy of your police report, you can ensure all information is correct. If it is not, then you should call the police department and explain where it made an error. If you do not feel comfortable doing this on your own, then you could seek the assistance of a car accident attorney who can handle the situation properly. 

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Are Police Reports Free?

Per RCW 46.52.085, you must pay a “fee sufficient” to get a copy of the police report. Right now, that’s $10.50. You may be inclined to avoid paying this fee and obtaining the report, especially if you know the report has been filed and is a matter of public record.

However, police reports can provide vital information for both insurance and legal claims. The compensation you recover could easily outweigh the fee for the police report. 

What if Your Police Report is Not Available?

First, you will want to make sure that a police officer was present at your car accident. If no officer was present at your accident (and you didn’t report the incident yourself), then there is no report. 

If an officer arrived at the scene of the accident and collected evidence to create a police report, then, as noted, it may take two to four weeks for the report to become available. If you do not see a police report within four weeks, then you should contact the WRECR or the police department in the jurisdiction where your accident took place.

Why Obtain a Police Report Following a Car Accident?

It may seem redundant to obtain a police report. After all, the police officer collected evidence, gave their opinion of what took place, and submitted the report. So, why do you need a copy? 

Police reports can be beneficial in many ways, especially if you hope to take legal action against the party that caused your accident. These reports provide a law officer’s official statements in writing, which can benefit both you and your attorney when making a claim. 

Police Reports Can Help Determine Fault

If you were injured in an accident and the other party blamed you, a police report can shed some light on the situation. These reports include eyewitness statements and the police officer’s thoughts about how the accident took place.

With a police report in hand, you can be sure that you have the information you need when speaking with insurance companies. A police report is a legal document that can help you and your attorney prove fault and ultimately recover damages. 

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Gather Additional Supporting Evidence

The police report is just one part of the puzzle when building your car accident case. You’ll need additional evidence to prove fault, liability, and the cost of your damages. A lawyer from our firm can find and use the following to bolster your claim: 

  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Witness testimony
  • Data from accident reconstruction specialists
  • Receipts, bills, and invoices for out-of-pocket expenses
  • Information from your doctor 
  • Traffic camera footage 

With the information your lawyer finds, they aim to show that because another party caused your collision, they owe you compensation. 

Learn More About Your Next Steps After a Car Accident

Following a collision, you may have many questions about what to do next. This is where Herschensohn Law comes in. We can answer your questions, address your concerns, and, if we work together, build and manage your case. We can also get a copy of the police report for your car accident. 

Our team has recovered millions of dollars for injured people, and we’re ready to put our skills to work for you. Today, you can learn about the benefits of entrusting your case to our team without paying a dime. We offer free case reviews. Call (206) 588-4344 to begin. 

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