If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Washington, you may be wondering how to obtain a police report for your own benefit and for insurance purposes. Many people involved in an auto accident believe that the paper they receive at the scene of the vehicle collision is the police report; however, that is normally just an “Exchange of Information” and the actual report is something that is created and submitted later by the responding officer.
Are police reports available to the public?
It’s important for our community to realize that accident reports are different from other police records. Arrest reports, crime and or incident reports that are part of an investigation are not made readily available to the public. Motor vehicle accident reports are available to the public. They can be readily accessed by any interested party. In fact, the state of Washington allows you to access motor vehicle accident reports online.
How do I get a copy of a police report from a car accident?
The state of Washington has made it very easy for people to order and receive their police report in a timely manner. The easiest way to get your police report is to visit the Washington State Patrol website and submit your request. The report is sometimes ready within minutes. You can also submit a public records request to the specific police agency that responded to the collision. Every police agency in Washington offers the ability to submit a public records request via the internet, but this route often takes a bit longer than simply using the Washington State Patrol.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and are in need of legal advice or help, the attorneys at Washington Law Center offer a No Fee Guarantee where we’ll give you a free consultation. If you choose us to represent you there will be no payment to us unless we win your case.
Ashton Dennis is a litigation and trial attorney at Washington Law Center who specializes in serious personal injury and auto accidents. He has been named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers of Washington State and one of the “Premier 100” trial attorneys by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers in Washington. Click here to learn more about Ashton.