How To File A Car Accident Report With The Los Angeles Police Department

In the aftermath of a car crash in Los Angeles, the last thing on your mind might be how to properly file a report with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). However, this might be the most important action you can take to ensure your version of the accident is properly and legally on record, which in turn will improve your chances of getting the financial coverage needed for all medical and material losses stemming from the crash.

With that in mind, here are the steps for properly filing your report with the LAPD. You might want to bookmark this or print and keep it in your glove compartment as a handy reference guide when you need it most.

Limited Online Auto Accident Reporting

Please note that while the LAPD does have an online portal for certain reports, the options for utilizing this are limited to the following:

  • Car accidents deemed to be “minor.” According to the LAPD website, this means crashes where, at most, minor injuries were sustained, and you and the other driver exchanged insurance and other required information at the scene. It also includes accidents where no more than $1,000 of damage to your vehicles and other property resulted
  • Hit-and-run accidents. Defined as any crash involving damage caused to your vehicle, for which the responsible driver failed to leave you insurance and other required information, or fled the scene entirely

For serious car accidents involving significant injuries or fatalities, or if your vehicles are so damaged they cannot be moved to free up traffic, you should immediately call 911. This is also a good idea if you suspect the other driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or feel unsafe talking to them directly to exchange insurance information. Otherwise, you have 24 hours to contact the LAPD and provide a written crash report.

Reporting A Traffic Accident To The Police

The following are the facts you should include in a police report:

  1. All your basic information:
    1. Name
    2. Address
    3. Contact options
    4. Vehicle make/model/year
    5. License, registration, and insurance information
  2. The time when the accident occurred or as close as you can approximate (make sure to note it as soon after the crash as possible). This information could come in handy should you file suit against the person who hit you, as it may be used, for example, to determine whether the other driver was likely still drunk based on how long ago they left a bar
  3. The exact location of the crash. This is especially important if you and/or the other driver moved your vehicles from the accident site. Include cross streets and the directions in which each of you were traveling at the time
  4. An estimate of your speed and that of the other driver when the crash occurred, to the best of your ability
  5. The status of any lights or other traffic control devices if they were present and operational
  6. Relevant weather and road conditions (e.g., whether there was debris in the road you or the other driver swerved around)
  7. Any injuries you or your passenger(s) sustained to the best of your knowledge. Never state that you or others in your car are “fine” or uninjured though—many injuries go unnoticed due to shock or adrenaline rush immediately following a crash, only to manifest days or even weeks later. Even if you didn’t receive emergency medical assistance at the scene, see a qualified medical professional as soon after the accident as possible for proper evaluation. Medical reports can be added to the police report once obtained
  8. If you were able to snap photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved, provide those with your report. The same goes for any recorded or written witness statements you were able to gather
  9. If the other driver admits fault, try to get their statement witnessed, or ideally recorded or write it down and signed, and send that to the police as well
  10. If you think there were any surveillance cameras that might have caught the accident, report the possible location (e.g., a parking lot or business name)

Call A Trusted Car Accident Attorney

Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation, can guide you through the process of reporting your car accident properly and see to it you receive just compensation for any damages suffered. Contact us as soon after a crash as possible.

Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.