How to Get Online Accident Reports

By Charlie Gaston - Updated June 05, 2017
Shards of car glass on the street after a car accident

Accident reports are available online with the Public Records Act, which authorizes accident and crime reports to be published online free of charge. Official copies of crime and accident reports are also available for viewing in person at local police headquarters. As long as you have key details about an accident, including the date the accident took place and the name of the driver, you can obtain an official copy of the officer’s investigation report online.

Go to the police department's website for the city and state where the accident took place.

Enter the incident location, which is the location where the accident occurred. You may have to navigate to the accident reports sub page, which you can find by browsing the topic index or using the quick search box on the home page. Many police department websites provide this information at the top or on the left or right side of the home page.

Provide the driver or victim's last name. In most cases, this information is not required, but, if provided, you must know the correct spelling.

Cite the month, day and year that the incident took place. You cannot provide an estimation of the accident date.

Submit the information. Review the list of accidents filed under the last name of the driver as well as the location and date of the accident you provided.

Select the correct accident by clicking on the right accident report number, which can is usually a five-digit number such as “12345.”

Review the report image, which will contain multiple links-one for each page of the accident report.

Tip

You can print accident reports by following the online instructions.

Warning

Accident reports dated before a specific year may not be available online.

About the Author

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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