The flattened rear of a vehicle after an accident on a rural road.Car accidents can happen quickly but may have long-lasting consequences, including medical bills, lost income, car repair bills, and more. Before making an insurance claim, you should secure a copy of the police report and review it with an experienced car accident attorney.

Insurance claims are often more complicated than they seem, and your lawyer can help you avoid common pitfalls that could cost you money from your settlement.

If you have questions or concerns after a car accident, please contact Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law for a free consultation about your case. We’ll read your car accident report, address your questions, and detail your options for pursuing damages.

You have no obligation, but if you want to move forward with our assistance, you won’t owe us anything until we successfully resolve your case.

Fresno Collision Reports Are Available in Person or Online

You can visit the Fresno Police Department Records Lobby during business hours at:

2600 Fresno Street

Fresno, CA 93721

The Fresno PD’s website warns that there may be extended wait times if you visit the Records Lobby in person. Alternatively, you can order a collision report online.

You’ll need the report number (which should be provided by the responding officer), as well as the date and location of the accident.

Accident reports cost $12.

Who Can Access a Car Accident Report in California?

California vehicle codes only allow the release of car accident reports to parties with a need or right to know. This generally includes the following:

  • Anyone involved in the accident—drivers, passengers, witnesses, an injured party (including those injured outside a car, such as pedestrians), an owner of damaged property, or the reporting party.
  • If one of the involved parties is a minor, their parent or legal guardian.
  • A legal representative for any of the involved parties.
  • The insurance carrier for an involved party.
  • The police department and their technical staff.

Do You Always Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

California law requires that you contact the police and make a report after any accident that involves an injury, death, or property damage of at least $1,000. However, we recommend you always contact the police and make a report, even if you don’t believe you were hurt and the damage seems minor.

If you or another involved party realize later that the damage was more expensive than you thought, you will need a car accident report to make an insurance claim.

In some cases, people don’t realize they are injured right away, or they might develop worsening symptoms from what they thought were mild injuries. We’ve seen many clients who initially believed they weren’t hurt, only to develop severe pain later.

This can happen for several reasons—a scary situation like a car collision can trigger an adrenaline rush, often suppressing pain temporarily. Other injuries cause more pain and symptoms after the affected area becomes swollen.

If you have even slight injuries or develop new symptoms within a few weeks of a car accident, it’s a good idea to see a healthcare professional, even if you believe the symptoms are no big deal. This allows your healthcare provider to evaluate your symptoms, diagnose any potentially serious issues, and treat your injuries if necessary.

Additionally,  you’ll have a record of injuries if you need further treatment.

Some people encounter difficulties with the insurance company if they wait for medical treatment and/or to file a police report. The reason is that the insurance adjuster may review your claim and conclude your injuries must be unrelated to the collision or you would have seen a doctor sooner.

Addressing any possible injuries immediately is the best solution to avoid these issues. However, if an insurance company has already refused your claim for this reason, you should speak with an attorney right away. In some cases, we may be able to show that your injuries were caused by the accident after all.

What if the Other Driver Is Uninsured?

California requires that car insurance policies include uninsured motorist coverage (UM), although you can waive this coverage in writing. We strongly advise you to keep the UM coverage, as it is usually affordable and provides protection from uninsured driver accidents.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UI) is also helpful if the other driver’s insurance does not cover all your damages.

What if the Police Report Says I’m at Fault?

Police reports don’t make a determination of fault. The responding officer will note contributing factors to the collision, which often include driver errors.

However, it’s possible for both drivers to contribute to an accident, so the fact that the officer attributes a mistake to you does not necessarily mean you were all or even mostly at fault. In California, you can seek to recover the other party’s share of your damages even if you also have some responsibility.

Police reports are sometimes based on limited or conflicting reports from the drivers and witnesses, plus evidence at the scene. If you feel any information in the report is inaccurate, please inform your lawyer immediately so they can investigate further.

With the right evidence, we may be able to challenge the police report.

How Can You Get Help From a Fresno Car Accident Lawyer?

If you or a loved one were injured in a Fresno car accident, please contact Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law for a free consultation. Our qualified legal team will review the accident report with you and explain the options for recovering compensation.

We never charge fees until we successfully resolve your case, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Deepak Ahluwalia, the firm’s founder and managing partner, has been included as one of the American Bar Association’s Top 40 Under 40 Lawyers. His accomplishments have attracted attention from national media platforms such as NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, BBC, and CNN.

Committed to providing legal assistance to those most in need, Mr. Ahluwalia steadfastly champions the rights of his clients, ensuring they receive the advocacy they deserve. Call (559) 878-4958 to work with him today.