How to Get a California Highway Patrol (CHP) Accident Report?


If you have been in an accident on a California highway, you can request a copy of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) accident report. The first step in getting your life back together after a car crash in California is filing an insurance claim. When an accident happens on a California State highway, the California Highway Patrol usually files the report. California operates a fault-based system for motor vehicle accidents where the motorist at fault must pay for any damages caused. Therefore, you'll need the California Highway Patrol (CHP) accident report to file an insurance claim against the motorist at fault.

Having a CHP accident report is essential when you want to file your case. The officer's investigative notes, along with the details of the crash, car damage, injuries, and witness testimonies are included in the report. The "interested parties" can get a copy of the CHP report by paying a small fee at any CHP office or requesting a copy mailed to them. In addition, an experienced accident lawyer can handle the details of your claim and get you a copy of your CHP accident report.

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How to request a California Highway Patrol (CHP) Accident Report?

You must be a "party of interest" in the accident to obtain a copy of the California Highway Patrol's incident report. This covers anybody in the vehicle, the driver, passenger, owner, or guardian of a child involved. In addition to the individuals involved, those parties' insurance companies and attorneys can also obtain a report copy.
To obtain a copy of your report, submit a written request to the CHP Area Office that first handled your report or visit them in person.
To obtain a copy of the police report, you must fill out a CHP 190 Application for Release of Information form. You can submit your completed Application for Release of Information to a local CHP office or send it in via mail.
You will need to provide the information below to access the report:

  • Your legal name and address
  • The day the accident occurred (if you're unsure of the actual date, you can give an approximate date)
  • The place where the accident occurred (if you can't remember the exact location of the accident, put down as many details as possible)
  • The vehicle owner or driver's name.
  • Party of interest. You should only mark off one box. A driver, passenger, car owner, property owner, legal guardian, parent, or minor are the most common interested parties. If you want to know if you qualify as a party of interest, you can contact any CHP area office.
  • Identification. Include a photocopy of a valid state-issued picture ID or driver's license to prove that you are the intended recipient of this information. A licensed notary must notarize the document if you don't have a valid means of identification.

What is the cost of getting a California Highway Patrol (CHP) Accident Report?

The cost of receiving a copy of an accident report from the CHP depends on the number of pages included. Below is a breakdown of the costs associated with getting a CHP.

  • It will cost $10 for less than 25 pages.
  • It will cost $20 for 26 – 50 pages.
  • It will cost $30 for 51 – 75 pages.
  • It will cost $40 for 76 – 100 pages.
  • An extra $10 for every 25 pages over 100
  • If the CHP report contains pictures, $5 per CD is charged.

How long does it take for a CHP traffic incident report to come out?

The processing time for a California Highway Patrol traffic accident report is typically between one and two weeks. However, when a fatality occurs in a car accident, the CHP accident report may take many months to complete.

What is the importance of a CHP accident report for insurance and personal Injury claims?

When the California Highway Patrol dispatches officers to the scene of a traffic accident, officers will arrive and conduct a brief investigation before writing up their findings in a CHP accident report. However, to submit a claim for damages with their vehicle insurance company against the motorist who caused the accident, the injured driver will require a copy of the accident report.

During the police questioning, it is essential to watch what you say. While you want to provide an explanation and be open, you must remember that everything you say will be included in their report. If you plan to make an insurance claim and/or a personal injury lawsuit against the other motorist who caused the accident, you should avoid saying anything that may be seen as an admission of guilt.

When addressing inquiries from responding police officers, it's important, to be honest, and concise. Don't take the blame, even if you think you contributed to the accident. A simple "I'm sorry" might be misunderstood as an admission of guilt. An insurance company's investigation of a CHP accident report may result in a lower reimbursement or the denial of coverage altogether.

Once the police arrive, respond truthfully to their questions. Seek medical help immediately, even if you think your injuries are minor. Consult an experienced lawyer after you have a clear picture of your losses.

Several parts of a CHP traffic accident report should be analyzed and reviewed. Consulting with an attorney who is an expert in personal injury law can be beneficial. An attorney can help you understand the details of a highway accident report and how they relate to your case.

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Get in touch with a lawyer immediately after an accident. Getting a copy of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) accident report might be stressful. At McCrary Law, we will simplify the process for you.

McCrary Accident injury Law Firm can provide the comprehensive legal representation you need. We have years of expertise helping customers like you through the often confusing waters of personal injury lawsuits.

Contact McCrary Law Firm to schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about the best first steps after a motor vehicle accident in California. You can call McCrary Accident Injury Law Firm at (855)752-6326. We are available 24/7 for your free case consultation.

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    Is it possible to check accident reports in California?

    There are no publicly accessible databases in California where you can check accident records, but you can get information on recent accidents by contacting the CHP or local law enforcement.

    The information provided by these offices may only be general. Submit a Collision Request Form to the relevant CHP office to get a copy of the official California Highway Patrol accident report.

    How can I get a copy of a CHP collision report if I live outside California?

    Follow the processes below to get a copy of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) accident report if you live out of state:

    • To request a copy of the CHP accident report, you can either fill out the CHP 190 Application for Release of Information form or write a letter explaining why you need the information. Send the completed form or letter, along with proof that you are a legitimate Party of Interest, to the CHP office that will be filing the report of the collision. The driver, passenger, property owner, vehicle owner, parent of a minor or guardian of a child involved is usually considered as a "party of interest". If you are unsure whether or not you qualify as a Party of Interest, don't hesitate to contact your nearest CHP office.
    • Make a photocopy of your driver's license or other picture ID and submit it with your request for a collision report. Without identification, you will need to get the CHP 190 form or your letter notarized. Once the CHP has received your request and confirmed that you are a valid party of interest, a report copy will be mailed to your address.

    Is the California Highway Patrol accident report available online?

    The California Highway Patrol does not provide online options for obtaining an accident report. You can find websites such as "online crash record lookup" or those that promise free CHP accident report downloads. Please do not give your personal information to these sites, as the California Highway Patrol does not make its reports public through any online source.

    What if another police agency handled the investigation? Can I still request a copy of the report from the CHP office?

    No. CHP is provided with copies of the collision report. However, if you were involved in an accident and did not know which police department handled the investigation, you can ask your local police or the CHP office for help.

    Is the CHP investigated collision report available at any CHP office?

    ​Yes. Copies of a CHP accident report can be obtained at any CHP office, or you can request that one be mailed to you.

    For example, if you live in Santa Barbara but were in an accident in San Diego, you can reach out to any California Highway Patrol station in Southern California and request a copy of the California Highway Patrol accident report.