GET YOUR OWN COLLISION REPORT, POLICE REPORT, ACCIDENT REPORT, INCIDENT REPORT AND/OR CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL REPORTS...
If the police, sheriff, or CHP are called out to an accident scene then a "collision report" is created. Regardless of which responding law enforcement branch responds these accident or collision reports are similar. The first page will have party info such as their insurance information, name, date of birth, car information, etc. The first page is usually made available within the initial 48 hours so that parties can have essential information to begin their claims process. It's important to note who is listed as party 1 or party 2 on the first page. Depending on who is listed as which party your attorney can generally gather on who will ultimately be placed at fault for the accident when the full report is released. In rare circumstances this theory doesn't apply.
After the initial portion of the report that contains just information the report will go into details regarding the accident. Diagrams, sketches, information regarding damages, etc. will all be set forth in the accident report.
Injuries will also generally be noted in your accident report. If somebody was taken to the hospital via ambulance then there will also be an ambulance report indicating the status of the injured party at the time they got to the scene.
Accident reports vary in length and detail. They usually conclude who was at fault and if they violated a statute such as driving too fast; unsafe lane change, etc.
Accident reports are helpful to all parties involved. They come from a neutral party and they are the best means of gathering information from sources regarding the situation. As information and evidence tends to fade over time lawyers, adjusters and injured parties rely on police reports when taking cases and evaluating settlements.
Be reminded, accident reports are hearsay. If you plan on taking your case to Court make sure you subpoena your officer to testify about what is in the report.
STEP ONE IN GETTING REPORT: Find out which authority responded to the accident. California Highway Patrol usually responds to accidents occurring on freeways or highways. Accidents within city or county limits are either reported by County police or sheriff agencies or local city police agencies.