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Different jurisdictions determine which accidents require you to contact the police. This varies based on where the accident occurred, the extent of damages, and whether injuries or death occurred. You can typically contact the local police for assistance with any accident, but it may not be necessary. However, knowing how to get a police report for a car accident can be useful in many cases.

How To Get a Police Report After a Car Crash in Arizona

Obtaining a police report in Arizona is a straightforward process, but it can seem daunting if you haven’t done it before. Follow these basic steps.

1. File a Report

It seems obvious, but it’s worth stating explicitly: You can only get a copy of a police report if one exists on file. Arizona law states that you must file an accident report if someone sustains injuries, a person dies, or property damages exceed $2,000. Not filing a report when required can lead to a misdemeanor charge.

If police officers responded to the scene, you likely have a report on file. However, it could take some time to process it. Processing times vary, so ask a police officer when filing the report.

If you determined you did not need assistance from law enforcement, you can file the report in person or online. Jurisdictions often set different rules on what cases they accept online. For example, the Phoenix police department does not accept online reports for cases that result in bodily harm or injury.

2. Request a Copy

There are several ways you can secure a copy of your police report. For all options, you need to provide the time, date, and location of the accident. You will also need certain identifying information, such as a license plate number or name.

Here are the top options for how to get a police report for a car accident:

  • Ask your attorney. If there is a police report on file, your attorney can request one on your behalf. He or she already knows how to get a police report for a car accident, so this option saves you time and stress.
  • Request one online. You can request one via the local police department’s website, but it might cost you. Prices range from about $5 to $10.
  • Visit the police department in person. You or a loved one could visit the police department to request a copy. You might prefer this method if you have not retained an attorney and find the website confusing.

Why You May Need To Get a Police Report for a Car Accident

A police report serves as an official record of the incident, detailing what happened and who was involved. It acts as a crucial piece of evidence if you decide to pursue a legal claim after a car accident, often carrying significant weight in court proceedings.

Police Protection

Arizona tops the list for road rage cases in America, and some incidents involve bodily harm. If you contact the police after the accident, they can serve as mediators at the scene. This can become necessary if someone becomes aggressive or belligerent.

Medical Attention

Technically, police officers cannot make you seek medical care, but they may recommend it. As first responders, they can request other emergency services to arrive as quickly as possible. Note that if you decline medical attention, they may include this in the report.

This could become an issue if you later discover injuries, especially if delaying treatment worsens them. For similar reasons, it’s important that you follow the instructions provided by your doctor, even if that means missing work and taking unpaid leave.

Medical Records

If you sustained injuries, your healthcare provider records your injuries, treatment plans, prognosis, and progress. When you file a report, it also notes your injuries. This can provide crucial evidence tying your injuries to the accident instead of another incident or work-related injury.


You might not remember the details of the accident after time has passed. Maybe you had a concussion, experienced shock, or fell unconscious. Notes written at the time are memory-loss-proof and significantly strengthen your case.

Before deciding whether or how to get a police report for a car accident, consider all additional details included:

  • Identifying information for all parties involved (when available)
  • Overview of the accident
  • Details about the location and conditions at the time of the accident
  • Statements from the persons involved and witnesses
  • Findings or observations made by the police officer

These details make it difficult for an insurance company or at-fault driver to dispute what happened. It’s one thing to call an injured person a liar but quite another to accuse officers of the law.

What To Do While Filing a Police Report in Arizona

You may provide input while the police officer gathers information for the report. This is also true when filing a report online. However, Arizona DOT and experienced personal injury lawyers in Phoenix recommend not commenting on fault or liability. You should also refrain from arguing or debating with police officers or anyone else at the scene. Let the officers do their job.

Additionally, AZDOT recommends discussing the event with only those who need to know. Talking about it with anyone else could cause the insurance company or at-fault driver to get access to things you disclosed. They could take this information out of context and use it against you in court.

Let the investigation determine the facts, even if you think you may have caused the accident. Many people initially believed they caused accidents until viewing additional footage and seeing the bigger picture of what happened and why. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you on handling conversations with law enforcement and the insurance company.

How Our Attorneys Get a Police Report for a Car Accident

Our Phoenix car accident attorneys have worked on traffic accident cases for years, including accessing many police reports. We know how to use the online portals and can determine whether it might be better to visit the police station in person.

Knowing how to get a police report for a car accident is only part of the job. We also collect additional evidence and build a solid case so that we can negotiate for a fair settlement. Schedule your consultation today to see how we can help.