The Los Angeles Police Department has recently updated their procedure for drafting traffic collision reports (TCRs). Unfortunately, while their new system relieves them of a considerable amount of paperwork, it has potential consequences for most accident victims.
Generally speaking, officers will no longer file a TCR—or even report to the scene, in many cases—unless at least one party that was involved needs ambulance transport. If you’re wondering what that means for innocent victims who have been hurt but didn’t sustain life-threatening injuries, read on:
Recording the Scene
If you were struck by a drunk, drowsy, or distracted driver but you don’t need emergency medical attention, it will be up to you to document the scene. After pulling out of the flow of traffic and parking in a safe area, make sure to photograph the wreckage from all angles and to record the other driver’s name, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
If the other driver flees, write down everything you can remember about the vehicle in question, including its make, model, and color. If at all possible, try to take a photo of their license plate, as well. And then call the police, even if you were not seriously hurt. Because a crime occurred, officers will have to respond to the scene, regardless of their new protocol for collisions.
Before leaving the scene, write down the names and phone numbers of those who witnessed the accident. Other motorists, their passengers, passing cyclists, and nearby pedestrians may be able to share important details that you missed when it comes time to assign fault.
The negligent party will likely share a different version of events, and without an independent eyewitness to corroborate your own telling—or a TCR—you may never be able to assign liability.
Gathering Available Video Footage
If the accident occurred in a bustling area with lots of businesses nearby, there’s a good chance it was captured by one or more surveillance systems. Make a note of all the businesses that are visible from the scene, and reach out to them in the days that follow to ask about any available security footage from the date and time of the accident.
If the accident occurred in a residential area, it’s less likely that there’s video footage of it; however, many houses are equipped with video doorbells nowadays, so don’t rule it out altogether. Inquire about such security features throughout the neighborhood—you can do so on localized social media pages if you don’t want to go door-to-door—and request copies of any footage that could prove valuable to your subsequent car accident claim.
Of course, the easiest way to obtain video footage of traffic incidents in the future is by installing a dash camera in your vehicle. If you don’t have a luxury vehicle that comes with built-in cameras, you can get the same protection by purchasing an affordable device online. When it comes to evidence of wrongdoing, nothing beats video footage.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Discuss Your Case with a Long Beach Car Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If your car accident claim has been complicated by the fact that the LAPD failed to file a TCR, turn to the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. Attorney Waks has been going to bat for injured parties and their loved ones for more than 38 years. To schedule your free case review with a car accident lawyer in Long Beach, fill out his Online Contact Form or call (562) 206-1939.
Download Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF
By printing our downloadable Car Accident Emergency .PDF and keeping a copy in your glovebox, you’ll always have a comprehensive checklist on hand in the event of a wreck. Simply follow this checklist, and you’ll be sure to record all essential information in the aftermath, regardless of whether officers end up filing a TCR.
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