How to Find Traffic Accident Reports Easily

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How to Find Traffic Accident Reports Easily

If you’re searching for ‘how to find traffic accident reports,’ you need clear answers—quickly. In this article our car accident attorneys provide a step-by-step instructions for accessing reports online, in-person, or through your insurance company, with no time wasted on unnecessary details.

Key Takeaways

  • Online platforms provided by state departments allow for the convenient purchase and immediate download of crash reports, typically costing around $10-$30, with access typically granted for up to 7 days post-purchase.
  • Crash reports can also be obtained through traditional methods, such as in-person or mail requests, often requiring a written request containing detailed information about the crash, with fees ranging from $8-$15.
  • Insurance companies can provide clients with free copies of police reports used to determine fault and calculate damages for claims, and these reports play a significant role in the outcome of insurance and legal proceedings.

Navigating Online Resources for Crash Reports

Finding traffic accident reports online

In this digital age, many states have transitioned to online systems for crash reports, making it easier to access these important documents. Websites like the Florida Crash Portal and the Texas Department of Transportation provide a platform for drivers to purchase and immediately download crash reports. However, it’s not just about convenience. By offering crash data online, these platforms also enable users to contribute to the reporting of crashes, thus improving road safety.

Yet, as with most online services, there are costs involved. For instance, in Florida, each report comes at a price of $10, with a convenience fee of $2 per transaction. Despite the cost, the immediate access to purchased reports is a service appreciated by many, given the pressing need for these reports in insurance claims and legal matters.

Locating the Right Website for Your State

Navigating the web to find the appropriate state-specific website can often feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back! The key lies in identifying the state where the accident occurred, as each state has its own unique platforms and procedures for crash reports.

For instance, if your accident occurred in Florida, the Florida Crash Portal would be your go-to resource. Similarly, the Texas Department of Transportation caters to crashes that occurred within Texas. By aligning your search with the location of the accident, finding the right website becomes a breeze.

Steps to Request a Report Online

So, you’ve found the right website. What next? Requesting a crash report online might seem daunting, but it’s a straightforward process. The trick lies in understanding the costs associated. For instance, ordering a crash report online typically costs around $30, which includes both the report fee and an additional online service fee.

But remember, the convenience of immediate access comes at a price. While the report fee itself might be around $15, the online service charges an equal amount, making the total cost $30. However, this cost is lower than the $10 fee incurred when requesting by mail.

Understanding Online Access and Timeframes

Processing a crash report takes time. After an accident occurs, it typically takes several weeks for the responding officer to complete the report and make it available. The exact timeframe can vary from state to state. In Florida, traffic crash reports may become available up to 10 days post-accident, while in New York, it can take anywhere from 14 to 60 days.

But what happens once the report is available? Customers have immediate access to their purchased reports online and can access them for up to 7 calendar days. However, if a customer needs to access their purchased report after the 7-day period, they are required to purchase the report again. So, it’s important to download and secure your report within this period.

Obtaining Crash Reports In Person or By Mail

Requesting crash reports in person

Not everyone is comfortable with online transactions, and that’s okay. There are still ways to get your crash report in person or by mail. You can use an official request form alongside the necessary fee or submit a written request directly to the relevant department such as the DMV Customer Records Work Center or Registry of Motor Vehicles’ Crash Records.

The cost for requesting a crash report by mail is typically around $8, and if the requested report is not found, some departments may refund the fee. Once your request is processed, the report is dispatched via U.S. Postal Service first class mail.

Alternatively, you can also visit the local law enforcement office that handled the incident, provide the report identification number or accident details, and pay an administrative fee, typically around $15.

Preparing Your Written Request

The secret to a successful written request lies in the details. Your request must contain:

  • Your role in the crash
  • The date and time of the crash
  • The location
  • The driver’s name if they are not the requester
  • Your driver’s license number if you were involved in the incident.

Including complete and accurate details in your request ensures the efficient processing of the request and reduces the likelihood of delays. The written request should then be submitted to the appropriate law enforcement agency or government office responsible for crash reports, which can typically be found on the state’s official DMV or public safety website.

Visiting Law Enforcement Offices

If you prefer the traditional route, visiting a law enforcement office in person might be your best bet. Individuals have the option to make an appointment or walk in without an appointment at a customer service center to request a crash report.

When requesting a crash report in person, it is important to bring the officer’s name(s), badge number(s), and the police or incident report number if available. This prepares you for a smooth process and ensures that you walk out with the required report.

Engaging with Insurance Companies for Police Reports

Engaging with insurance companies for police reports

Insurance companies play a significant role in the aftermath of a crash, as they often interact with the parties involved. They can sometimes provide clients with a free copy of the police report, obtained through their adjusters. These police reports play a critical role in how insurers determine fault and calculate damages for insurance claims.

Insurance companies often rely on the details within police reports to assess claims, especially when the cause of the accident or damages are unclear. For complex claims, insurance adjusters may require detailed information such as:

  • Medical records
  • Witness statements
  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • Repair estimates

In addition to the police report, a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, may be involved.

Requesting Assistance from Your Insurance Agent

If you’re unsure about navigating the process alone, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from your insurance agent or an investigating agency. They are there to help! When seeking help to obtain a police report, be prepared to provide extensive information to your insurance agent.

This can include details about the vehicle involved, like its make, model, year, color, VIN, and license plate number, as well as personal information such as your name, address, and driver’s license number. Chances are, your insurance company may have already acquired the police report, allowing you to request a copy without additional costs.

The Impact of Police Reports on Insurance Claims

Police reports play an instrumental role in insurance claims. They serve as a factual representation of the incident, containing specific details and statements from involved parties. Insurance claim adjusters use these reports to verify the details of claims, determine liability, and evaluate damages, thereby affecting the outcome of claims processing.

Having a police report is essential even if there were no injuries, as it aids in establishing fault, documenting accident-related losses, and is utilized by insurance companies as evidence. It’s worth noting that insurance agents can facilitate access to police records for insurance companies by working together with law enforcement agencies.

Special Circumstances: Unavailable or Redacted Reports

But what happens when the unexpected occurs? What if the crash report is unavailable or redacted? At times, the retention period for Driver’s Crash Report (Form CR-2) may have expired, which could be a reason for the unavailability of crash reports online.

In such situations, do not despair. There are procedures in place to help you navigate these special circumstances. Whether it’s reaching out to the local law enforcement office or requesting the police crash report by mail, there’s always an alternative route to take.

When Crash Data Isn't Found

So you’ve searched high and low, but the crash data isn’t found online. Don’t fret! If a car accident report is not found online, individuals should contact the local law enforcement office that created the report, and may even contact the traffic division with the report number to request a copy for an administrative fee.

For individuals unable to find a police report online, particularly non-Massachusetts issued credential holders or non-DPPA permitted users in Massachusetts, requesting the police crash report by mail is a viable option. Rest assured, law enforcement agencies can locate a crash report with the accident’s date, time, location, and the involved individual’s name when the police report identification number is unavailable.

Handling Redacted Copies

Now, let’s tackle redacted copies. Redaction in police crash reports is the process of editing the document to remove sensitive information for reasons such as confidentiality, legal requirements, or security.

The redaction of details in a crash report can significantly change how the content is interpreted, potentially obscuring the context or factual truth. However, if necessary, individuals may request an unredacted or certified copy of the crash report if they are among the parties exempt from public disclosure restrictions.

Legal Considerations and Use of Accident Reports

Understanding the legal implications of crash reports is crucial, especially when seeking compensation or navigating legal disputes. In general, accident reports are not admissible in court due to the hearsay rule, but there may be exceptions in small claims courts or other specific jurisdictions where some or all parts of the report can be used.

It’s also important to ensure that the information in the report is accurate. Any inaccuracies, such as misspelled names or incorrect license numbers, should be corrected by contacting the local police department immediately. After all, you wouldn’t want an incorrect detail to hinder your case or claims process.

Admissibility of Reports in Legal Disputes

Diving deeper into the legal realm, it’s important to understand the admissibility of crash reports. While police reports are not typically admissible as direct evidence in court, they can be used to reveal inconsistencies in testimonies or confirm that an incident was reported to law enforcement.

If medication or pain influenced an individual’s original statement in a police report, they can present medical documentation for the consideration of a new statement. Any discrepancies in a police report can be addressed by submitting a new statement that points out the error, which can be attached to the original report when presented in a legal dispute.

Leveraging Reports for Legal Compensation

Accident reports play a pivotal role when seeking legal compensation. These reports provide concrete evidence for legal proceedings, assisting in determining liability and quantifying damages based on the description of vehicle damage and any recorded injuries. The vehicles involved are documented in the accident reports, which further strengthens the case.

Lawyers can leverage the objective facts within accident reports to support their legal strategies, reinforce arguments in settlement negotiations, and build a strong case for their clients. So, while a crash report might seem like just a piece of paper, it is in fact a key tool in the quest for justice and compensation.


Navigating the process of obtaining crash reports can be a daunting task, but with the right knowledge and guidance, it becomes significantly easier. Whether you choose to access your report online or in person, or whether you engage with insurance companies or law enforcement agencies, the process becomes manageable when you understand the steps involved. Remember, a crash report is not just a document, it’s a critical piece of evidence that can aid in insurance claims, legal disputes, and most importantly, in bringing justice to those affected by traffic accidents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are crash reports available for free online?

No, crash reports are not available for free online. Ordering a full crash report usually comes with a cost, which varies by state.

What information is required to request a crash report?

To request a crash report, you will need to provide details such as the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as the names of the parties involved.

What if the crash report is unavailable online?

If the crash report is unavailable online, you can request it by mail or obtain it in person from the local law enforcement office. You have alternative ways to obtain the report if it's not available online.

Can crash reports be used in court?

No, crash reports are generally not admissible in court due to the hearsay rule, but there could be exceptions depending on the jurisdiction.

How are crash reports used in insurance claims?

Crash reports are used by insurance companies to verify claims, determine liability, and evaluate damages. This helps in the claims process and ensures fair settlements.

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