After any car crash in San Francisco, you may need an accident report. But what is an accident report, and what should you do once you obtain a copy? Below, we explain why San Francisco accident reports matter, and what happens to your crash report.

What Is a San Francisco Police Accident Report?

A police accident report is a narrative of what happened in a car accident. It sets out, based on the available evidence, what happened to cause a crash. The details include:

  • Vehicles involved
  • Driver details
  • Date and time of the accident
  • Injuries (if any)
  • Property damage (if any)
  • Citations issued at the scene e.g. speeding tickets, DUIs

Officers from the San Francisco Police Department usually complete the report when they attend a crash. However, you won’t get a copy of your report right away. You need to request a copy of your accident report in San Francisco. We’ll explain how to do this below.

How to Read San Francisco Accident Reports

San Francisco car accident reports all follow the same format.

They begin with basic details, including driver(s) personal information. You’ll also find car details such as the vehicle make, model, and color.

The officer, when completing the report, writes their own narrative of events. This narrative sets out, so far as possible, what the officer believes happened to cause the crash. This version of events can, of course, be challenged. If you have an attorney, they can explain how you might challenge the officer’s version of events if it’s unhelpful to you.

You’ll also find key details such as injuries identified at the scene. Don’t worry if you discover further injuries later, though. The accident report is only one piece of evidence you can use as part of a claim. Other evidence, such as medical records, are equally helpful.

Why Your San Francisco Traffic Accident Report Matters

Do you need a San Francisco traffic accident report? The short answer is yes. Here’s why.

  • An accident report can help you prove your injuries if there’s a civil negligence lawsuit.
  • If there’s property damage over $1,000, or any personal injuries, you need a crash report. And you must also report the incident to the DMV.
  • Your accident report can be used to support your losses in an insurance claim. This may help to speed up the resolution process.

Your accident report is sometimes legally required. However, even if you don’t need a crash report by law, it can help to resolve your accident claim sooner rather than later.

How to Get Your San Francisco Police Report for a Car Accident

What if you don’t have your San Francisco accident report yet? If you’re unsure how to obtain a copy, there are a few ways to proceed.

  • Contact the police directly. This can be time-consuming if you don’t know which department to contact.
  • Ask your attorney, if you have one, to obtain the report for you.
  • Contact us and we will quickly locate your report. This is the easiest and most efficient way to obtain your San Francisco accident report.

Start now if you don’t already have your San Francisco traffic accident report.

Male and female drivers exchanging details after side collision car crash San Francisco

Next Steps After Receiving Your San Francisco Accident Report

Once you have your San Francisco police accident report, what happens next? Well, there are four things you should do to progress your accident claim. Let’s break them down.

1. Check Your Report for Accuracy

Your accident report must be accurate. Otherwise, it could slow down your insurance claim.

  • Double-check that details, such as the accident date and time, and vehicles involved, are accurate.
  • Contact your attorney, or the San Francisco Police Department, immediately if there are errors.

It doesn’t matter how small an error is – even if it’s just a typo. Any mistake can affect your insurance claim, so it must be resolved.

2. Contact Your Insurance Company

You should contact your insurance company ideally within 24 hours of the accident. However, you may not have access to your accident report right away. This is very common.

Once you do have your report, though, you should send it to your insurance company. The sooner they have access to your accident report, the quicker they can process your claim. And the sooner you can move forward, putting this accident behind you.

What Not to Say to Your Insurance Company

As an aside, don’t say anything to your insurance company which implies fault. Stick to the facts and let the accident report speak for itself.

Why is this important? If you imply that you were at fault, even slightly, it could jeopardize your claim. It could reduce your settlement offer, or even stop your insurer from settling the claim at all.

If you’re unsure how to deal with your insurance company, don’t worry. Hire a car accident attorney who will handle the matter for you.

3. Gather Evidence

The more evidence you have to support your claim, the better. Even if your accident report is helpful, the other driver(s) could still challenge it. So, having more evidence to support your losses is beneficial.

Evidence you might gather, alongside your police accident report, includes:

  • Quote(s) for property repair
  • Medical records
  • Photos or videos of injuries
  • Videos or photos of the property damage and crash scene
  • Witness details
  • Proof of financial losses e.g. wage loss

Your attorney can explain what evidence could be helpful to your claim. If you don’t have a lawyer yet, or you need access to a medical expert, we can help.

4. Contact an Attorney

If you don’t already have a car accident attorney, you should strongly consider hiring one. Why? There are a few reasons.

  • Car accident lawyers know how much your claim is worth. They’ll help you decide whether to accept or reject a settlement offer.
  • If you’re injured, a personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve. They know who to sue – and how to prove your losses.
  • Hiring a lawyer lets you focus on recovery rather than the complex and time-consuming legal processes involved.

Do you need a lawyer right away? You should hire one promptly. For example, although you have two years from the crash date to file a personal injury claim, there’s no reason to wait. The longer you delay, the harder it is to preserve evidence.

Access Your San Francisco Accident Report

Unsure what to do after a San Francisco car crash? Auto Accident Report can help.

We know precisely where to look to find your accident report. We’ll explain how to access your report and even match you with a personal injury lawyer, if you need one. Our service is available 24/7 – accidents don’t stop, so neither do we.

It’s easy to get started. Simply input some basic details about your San Francisco car crash and we’ll handle the rest. Find your accident report today!