Serving Orange County, CA
Call Now 949.757.0707

Understanding Your California Accident Report

An Orange County, CA Auto Accident Attorney Explains

California auto accidents can turn your life upside down in an instant. You or a loved one may be seriously injured. Insurance companies may try to pressure you to accept a settlement offer worth far less than you deserve. With so much at stake, it's important to know all the facts. This often begins with your California Traffic Collision Report.

As a service to you, the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton has provided a sample report with step-by-step instructions about how to read it. The information obtained by investigators at the scene of your accident and included in your accident report is often sought by insurance companies. They use this information to determine how much money to compensate you - or whether to compensate you at all.

That's why it's critical that you understand your official accident report. It may be key evidence if you are pursuing an accident claim. Review the information below. Compare it to your accident report. Then contact our law firm for a free case evaluation. Every discussion is personalized and confidential.

What information will I find on my accident report?


The date, time and location (county, city and district) of your accident are recorded at the top of your Traffic Collision Report. In addition, law enforcement officials record the number of people injured and killed in the accident, vehicle tow-away information and whether photographs were taken at the accident scene.

Driver and vehicle information is recorded by law enforcement officials.

Driver information includes:

  • Name, address and phone number
  • License number
  • Insurance carrier
  • Policy number

Vehicle information includes:

  • Make, model and color
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Vehicle damage


If property damage is reported at the scene of the crash, the property owner's name, address, and description of damage are recorded by officers.

Law enforcement officials use check boxes to document different aspects of the accident scene. These include the following:

  • Collision type
  • Primary collision factors
  • Weather and light conditions
  • Road surface conditions
  • Traffic control device functionality
  • Cell phone involvement
  • Movement preceding the collision
  • Sobriety test results


Contact information for all witnesses, passengers and injury victims is collected at the scene of the car accident. Additional information is collected for each injury victim, including EMS and hospitalization information, seating position and whether the injury victim was ejected from a vehicle, was wearing proper safety equipment at the time of the crash, or suffered severe injuries.

Carlton_AccidentReport_pg 4

Accident investigators draw a pictorial diagram of how they think your accident occurred. This includes vehicle direction, intersections and traffic signals, and if skid marks were present at the scene of the accident. Review this information carefully. If you believe the officer's diagram contains errors, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.

Click here to download a printable version of the California State Auto Accident Report.

If you were injured in a car accident, contact our Orange County car accident lawyers today. Call the Costa Mesa, CA Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

Read More