How to Request an Accident Report
Posted on Sunday, October 24th, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Obtaining a copy of the police report following a car accident is crucial. If someone else’s negligent actions resulted in your injuries, you need proof of what they have done. An accident report could show that their misconduct contributed to the crash.
However, you might not know where to turn for a copy of the report. You should hire an experienced attorney immediately following the accident to assist you with the process.
What Is an Accident Report?
An accident report outlines the information associated with a traffic-related crash. When an officer arrives at the scene to investigate, they typically write a report to submit to the police department.
The details in an accident report often include:
- Date, time, and location of the incident
- Names and contact information for any party involved
- Factors contributing to the crash
- Brief description of events leading up to the collision and a diagram to show what happened
- Any traffic citations issued to the drivers involved
- Property damage and injuries suffered
- Fault determined by the officer
The investigating officer might include their determination of fault. However, this isn’t necessarily fact. It is just their opinion about which driver they believe is responsible for the accident.
If they stated you were to blame, but you believe the other motorist should be liable, you could fight the officer’s claim. However, insurance companies often consider police reports solid evidence to determine whether the injured victim deserves compensation.
Filing a Report After a Car Accident
Some states require filing a police report, while others don’t. If law enforcement came to the scene to investigate the crash, they should be responsible for completing a report. Under certain circumstances, you only have to report an accident if there were injuries, fatalities, or property damage above a specific value.
It’s always best to call 911 to report a car accident, even if there are only minor injuries. If you’re in a state where the law requires reporting a crash and you choose not to, you could face an expensive fine.
In Ohio, you’re not required to file a police report unless there was injury, more than $400 in property damage, or if one of the drivers doesn’t have insurance.
The investigating officer can obtain your statement and determine who they believe caused the crash. Having physical evidence of what happened could improve your chance of recovering compensation in an auto insurance claim.
Requesting an Accident Report After a Car Crash
The only parties allowed to request a copy of the accident report include:
- Individuals involved in the crash
- Parents of a minor child in the accident
- Insurance companies of the involved parties
- An attorney representing someone injured in the collision
Typically, the police department has an online portal you can use to obtain the report. However, some law enforcement agencies don’t offer a digital method, so you might have to call them to ask how you can request a copy. Sometimes, you need to complete a form and drop it off in person.
You can also use a service called BuyCrash to submit your request. Whichever method you choose, you likely have to pay a fee.
You need specific information related to the accident to locate the report. It could include:
- The date of the crash
- The police report number
- The state, city/town, or jurisdiction
- The name of at least one party involved
- The location of the collision
Accident reports usually aren’t available immediately after the officer files them. It can take up to a week or even longer before you can request a copy.
Why You Need to Hire a Lawyer
Although there are multiple resources to request an accident report yourself, you should seek legal representation. Your lawyer can submit the request on your behalf and review the information in the report to determine whether you have a case to pursue.
If the report states you were at fault and the insurance company denies your claim, your lawyer might be able to proceed with a lawsuit. Additional evidence could discount the officer’s claims in the report and show that another driver or party’s actions contributed and should be held liable for your injuries.
Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC has represented car accident victims since 2005. Our award-winning attorneys received recognition from prestigious organizations, such as Super Lawyers, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and The National Trial Lawyers. We also hold an AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest honor a law firm can achieve. Our reputation shows the level of service and dedication we provide to our clients.
We will advocate for your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve when you hire us. We have the resources to obtain the accident report and determine a legal strategy to prove someone else should be financially responsible for your injuries.
If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, do not hesitate to contact Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC. We can meet with you for a free consultation to review the circumstances and advise you about your legal options. Call us at (513) 351-5997, or reach out to us online today.