Car accidents happen fast, but there is no time to waste in the aftermath of a car accident.
California law requires motorists to report car accidents causing injury or death to the Department of the California Highway Patrol or the police department where the accident occurred.
Reporting must be done within 24 hours of the accident. An accident report is not only legally required, it can also help you recover damages. The Wakeford Law Firm cannot obtain a car accident report for you, but the following simple tips can help you obtain a report on your own.
What Is in an Accident Report?
As weeks full of recovery, property repair, and other worries of life pass, accident details may become fuzzy. Car accident reports from the police contain vital information about your accident, recorded at the time it occured.
The accident report provides you with a document to remind you of important details. An Oakland police report contains information about:
- The accident date,
- The accident time,
- The sequence of events,
- The other driver’s contact and insurance information,
- Vehicle information,
- Occupant information,
- Injury and property damage information,
- Witness contact information, and
- Witness statements.
Anyone involved in the accident, representing someone involved in the accident, or who incurs liability from the accident can request a copy of the report.
How Can an Oakland Accident Report Help Me?
Soon after the accident, you will likely want to file a claim with the other driver’s auto insurance company. Insurance companies investigate claims extensively and will likely want a copy of the accident report to determine liability.
The insurance company may use the statements in the Oakland accident report to make a settlement offer. You can also use the report to negotiate a settlement. If you cannot come to a settlement agreement, the accident report is useful in a personal injury lawsuit.
While you generally cannot use accident reports as evidence in a personal injury trial, the reports help with trial preparation and investigation.
The accident diagrams and descriptions in your report can help your attorney establish a winning strategy to investigate and prove the other driver’s liability. The witness statements in a report can help your attorney identify the best witnesses for trial.
Your attorney can also use the witness statements to prepare you for cross examination questions.
You should make an Oakland police report request as soon as possible, so you have plenty of time to investigate important details of your claim.
How to Make an Oakland Police Report Request
You can get an Oakland police report online, in the mail, or in person. Reports are normally available within 60 to 90 days, and you must pay a fee. If your report takes longer than 60 days, you should call the Traffic Operations Section at 510-777-8570.
Requesting Reports Online
To receive Oakland police reports online, you can use this link for City of Oakland Vehicle Collision Reports. You can follow the prompts for Oakland police reports online, and you must pay $25 for a report.
To access the appropriate Oakland police report online, you must provide the report number, your name and accident date, or your name and street.
If your accident involved a serious injury, a fatality, or a City of Oakland vehicle, the report is not available online. You can make requests in person or by mail.
Requesting Reports by Mail
To request a report by mail, you first need to fill out and sign a Public Records Request Form. With a $20 check payable to the City of Oakland, a copy of your valid identification, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope, mail your request form to the following address:
OPD Eastmont Substation
Traffic Investigations Unit
2651 73rd Avenue
Oakland, CA 94605
Your signed request form should include all the information you have about the accident.
Requesting Reports in Person
To receive an accident report in person, go to the same OPD Eastmont Substation address you use to mail a request form. You must bring your valid identification and pay $20 by Visa, Mastercard, cash, or check.
The OPD Eastmont Substation is open from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM, Monday through Thursday. The Traffic Investigations Unit is not open on holidays.
You Should Contact a Lawyer Immediately After an Accident
The aftermath of an accident is physically, emotionally, and financially draining. While you struggle with the stress, the insurance companies move fast to attempt to discredit your claim.
Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after an accident gives you the best chance to establish a strong claim and recoup the damages you deserve.
The Wakeford Law Firm has a singular focus on championing the rights of victims in personal injury cases.
Attorney Wesley Wakeford has 18 years of experience as a personal injury attorney in the Bay Area. Wesley possesses the knowledge, approachability, and compassion to form a winning strategy for your unique needs.
If you were injured in an accident, contact us or call us at 415-569-7495 to get a consultation and some peace of mind.