The headlight of a car hanging by a wire after serious damage in a collision.Following a car accident, you may need a copy of the police report for your insurance claim. Typically, these reports become available within 1-2 weeks of the accident.

Each city has its own process for obtaining a car accident report, and in this article, we’ll walk you through the steps and explain what else you need to know about the report.

Securing an accident report is only the first step in recovering damages from an insurance company, and many people experience challenges with their claims. At Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law, our legal team is experienced in helping people injured in car accidents recover the compensation they deserve.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, please contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Can You Get a Madera Police Department Accident Report Online?

No, the city of Madera doesn’t offer accident reports online or in person. You can obtain one by mail for $10 ($20 if you want photos included).

To request a report by mail, you should send a prepaid envelope with a $10 check and waiver to:

330 S C St.

Madera, CA 93638

You can find the waiver forms in English or Spanish on the Madera PD’s FAQ page here.

If you have difficulty obtaining a report for any reason, please let your attorney know.

What Is on a Madera Police Report?

In California, the first page of a police report is mostly background information: The names and contact info of involved parties, their driver’s license and insurance information, the license plate numbers and VINs of the vehicles, etc. You should scan this information and ensure everything is correct.

The second page is focused on the details of the accident and how it occurred. The responding officer will fill in sections about seatbelts or other restraints, whether the airbags deployed, the type of crash, and what vehicles, stationary objects, and people were involved.

They will also note contributing factors, such as weather or road conditions. The officer will do their best to determine vehicle movement just before the collision and will note if any of the involved parties are intoxicated.

Finally, they will make a brief sketch of how they believe the accident happened based on available evidence.

The third page contains information about injuries, if any. This section should include the type of injury each person suffered, whether they were taken to the hospital, which hospital, etc.

On the final page, the officer is asked to draw a factual diagram of how the collision occurred. Although this section is meant to be based on fact rather than opinion, it can be difficult in some situations.

The involved parties may have conflicting stories, and sometimes, weather or other factors limit evidence at the scene. As a result, the officer may have to decide the facts based on minimal information.

What if the Police Report Indicates You Were at Fault, but You Weren’t?

If you believe the police report is inaccurate in any way, please contact a personal injury attorney immediately. We can investigate the accident by canvassing the area, interviewing witnesses, and seeking additional evidence such as dashcam or doorbell camera videos.

In some cases, we can recover enough additional evidence to challenge the police report.

It’s also helpful to understand that sometimes, two or more parties can be at fault in a car accident. We often think of motor vehicle collisions as one party’s responsibility, but that isn’t always true.

California uses pure comparative negligence statutes for personal injury cases like a car accident. Under the pure comparative negligence model, parties can share responsibility for an accident or injury, and each party must pay for their own portion of the damages.

For example, one driver might be 40 percent at fault for an accident, while the other is 60 percent at fault. In this situation, the first driver could collect 60 percent of their damages from the other party’s insurance, and the second driver could collect 40 percent of their damages.

Does the Police Report Say What Share of Fault You Have in a Car Accident?

No, the insurance companies will assign percentages of fault based on the police report and other evidence. Sometimes, the insurance adjuster might overestimate one party’s percentage of fault, so it’s crucial that you discuss your claim with a personal injury lawyer.

We’ll help you review any offer from the insurance company and determine if your assigned percentage of fault is fair. If not, we’ll negotiate with the insurance companies for a better deal.

What if the Other Driver Is Uninsured?

California requires all insurance policies to include uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, although you can refuse this coverage in writing. We do not recommend refusing coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists, as it may be the only way to recover damages in some circumstances.

If the other driver is completely uninsured and you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can recover up to your own policy limit from your insurance company. When the other driver has insurance, but it doesn’t cover all your damages, your underinsured motorist coverage will kick in (but only after the other driver’s policy has been exhausted).

How Can You Get Help With Your Accident Report or Car Accident Claim?

Dealing with the effects of a car accident can be stressful. You may have looming medical bills, lost income from missing work, property damage to your car, and other difficulties.

If you need assistance understanding your police report or learning your options for making a personal injury claim, please contact Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law for a free consultation with a Fresno car accident attorney.

We also recommend contacting an attorney to review any offer you receive from an insurance company after your accident. Sometimes, the initial offer doesn’t encompass all the injured person’s damages.

Your lawyer will review the offer, calculate the actual value of your claim, and explain any differences. If the insurance company’s offer is insufficient, we’ll negotiate with the carrier for a more reasonable offer.

If we take your case, you won’t pay anything until we successfully resolve it, so there are no upfront charges to worry about. Call Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law today at (559) 878-4958 to learn more about your car accident or personal injury.