When you’re involved in an injury collision, the police will respond to the scene and take a report. The officer will give you some paperwork at the accident scene with the report number and identifying information for the parties involved. However, that’s not the official police report for a car accident. You will request the official report days or weeks later. The officer needs time to complete their investigation and write up their findings. Where to get a police report for a car accident depends on what agency responded.
If you need assistance obtaining your police report and pursuing a claim for damages against the other driver, Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner can help.
What Information Is Contained in a Police Report?
Accident reports contain all details related to the accident that insurance companies use as a starting point for building a case for or against payment. Information in an accident report includes:
- Accident date and time;
- Where the accident happened, including city or town, county, etc.;
- Contact information for each driver in the accident;
- Passenger information;
- Contact information for witnesses;
- Plate and VIN of the vehicle;
- Markings on a diagram for where the damage occurred;
- Where the vehicles ended up at the end of the accident;
- Reports of injuries at the scene; and
- A short summary of accident details.
The report will also mention whether someone received a citation. If you want a full copy of the accident report, you’ll typically need to request it from the appropriate agency and pay the required fees depending on the state and responding agency. However, Washington handles things a little differently.
Do You Need a Police Report for a Car Accident?
If the police responded and filed a report, you need to request a copy. Your accident report has essential information that can impact your compensation claim. When the police respond, the officer will investigate the scene and speak to all involved parties and witnesses. The officer will put findings in the report and may conclude who was responsible for the crash.
Even if injuries are only minor, getting an accident report is crucial. A police report can protect you later if the other driver tries to change their story. Unfortunately, insurance fraud is widespread. Someone might suddenly claim extra damage to their vehicle that wasn’t there. Or the other driver will say they had injured passengers, but no one else was in the car at the accident scene.
How to Find a Police Report for a Car Accident
Washington handles police reports differently than some other states. In other states, you would reach out to the specific agency to request a copy of the police report. Possible responding police departments in Washington can include:
- Washington State Patrol,
- Sheriff’s department,
- Local police department,
- College police department, or
- Tribal police department.
Washington has centralized all accident reports through the Washington State Patrol (WSP). Rather than contacting individual records agencies, you can start your search through WSP.
How to Obtain a Police Report for a Car Accident
There are three main ways to get a police report for a car accident in Washington:
- By mail, or
Not all police agencies offer these three options to request accident reports. Some agencies might prefer you request records online, while some smaller police departments might only accept requests via mail or in person. That is why requesting your report through the Washington State Patrol is best.
Because Washington State Patrol is the state custodian for all accident reports, any accident that falls under a city police department, sheriff, or state patrol will be online. For example, an accident in Seattle, Kings County, or on the highway will be available through WSP. Below are the steps to order a Washington police report for a car accident.
Ordering a Car Accident Report Online
The Washington State Patrol Requests for Electronic Collisions Records (WRECR) makes it easy to request a report from any computer with internet access and email:
- Visit the WRECR page;
- Enter the name of one involved party and the date (or date range) and click on “Search” at the bottom right;
- Click to add report to cart and enter your relationship to the accident as requested in the “Your involvement” column; and
- Continue to complete your transaction and enter payment information for $10.50.
Only entitled parties can receive a full copy of the report. Other individuals or agencies that fall outside the approved list will receive a redacted copy of the accident report. If you don’t see your accident listed, check again in a few days, as reports can take two to four weeks to be ready.
Request a Police Report by Mail
Requesting the police report by mail is a simple process. You must complete the form Request for Copy of Collision Report. The address to send the fee and form to is:
Washington State Patrol
Collision Records Section
P.O. Box 42628
Olympia, WA 98504-2628
You must submit a check or money order for $10.50. You cannot send cash.
Request Accident Report in Person
You’ll have to travel to the Tumwater office if you want to request the report in person. The address is:
Collision Records Section
Edna Lucile Goodrich Building
7345 Linderson Way SW, first floor
Tumwater, WA 98501
Office hours here are from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, except legally designated holidays. In the lobby, you’ll find a kiosk. You can request your report from here, but you’ll still need to pay via check or money order.
Contact a Washington Car Accident Lawyer
If you need assistance requesting a police report for a car accident, contact Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner. You might have difficulty proving your version of the events without your report. Pursuing a personal injury claim can be complicated, especially if your injuries are severe. Don’t attempt to handle a claim alone. Let our skilled Washington car accident lawyers help. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. We can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.