In Ohio, reporting a car accident is not mandatory unless property damage is in excess of $1,000 or someone is injured or killed, and then those involved are required to call 911 for help. If you have been involved in a car accident that resulted in serious injuries or significant damage to your vehicle, you should get a copy of the police report afterwards.
If law enforcement agents were called to the scene of your car accident, a report will be filed with the appropriate agency. In Ohio, the police are required to create a crash report if the accident resulted in an injury, fatality, or more than $1,000 in property damage. It may take up to six weeks after the accident for the crash report to be uploaded to the Ohio Department of Public Safety database, but once, you may obtain a copy for free from their website. To search for your report, you will need to provide your last name, the date of the accident, the county where the accident happened, and the law enforcement agency that responded to your call.
You can also go directly to the law enforcement agency itself to get a copy of the report, whether this is a local police department or the Ohio State Highway Patrol. This may cost you a fee, but generally, the reports are available online about a week after the date of the accident.
If you prefer, most agencies can be visited in person to request documentation about your crash. Note that documents received directly from the agency that investigated the accident are official, whereas records from the Ohio Department of Public Safety are unofficial.
What if the Police Did Not Report to the Scene of My Accident?
Sometimes, the police are not available to respond to every crash that happens, especially if there are no injuries or significant property damage. If no one responded to the scene of your accident, you may be able to file your own report, depending on the city or county where the accident happened. You will need to contact the police department that has jurisdiction over the location of your crash. They can tell you if you can submit a report via email or if it must be in writing and mailed to them. Your crash report should include important details, such as the following:
- The location of the crash, including nearby intersections or landmarks.
- The date and time of the crash.
- The weather and road conditions at the time of the crash.
- Who was involved, including all vehicles and pedestrians.
- The amount of damage to vehicles and property as well as the location and severity of the damage.
Accidents With Uninsured Drivers
In Ohio, if you were involved in a crash with an uninsured driver, you may submit a report to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Driving without insurance is illegal in Ohio, and your report may help get the uninsured driver suspended if you file Form 3303 with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles within six months of the crash and they can match the driver’s information with their records. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will need at least three of the following identifiers:
- The uninsured driver’s name.
- The uninsured driver’s address.
- The uninsured driver’s date of birth.
- The uninsured driver’s Ohio driver license number.
- The uninsured driver’s Social Security number.
The six month time limit for reporting an uninsured driver is measured by when the report is received by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, not the date you send it.
What Kind of Information Is in a Police Report?
Law enforcement officers are trained to evaluate a crash scene, and their reports are often crucial to understanding what happened as well as determining who was at fault for the accident. A police report typically includes the following information:
- The date and location of the accident.
- The names everyone involved in the accident, their birthdates, and their contact information.
- Descriptions of all the vehicles involved in the accident, including license plate numbers, make, model, VIN number, and other identifying information.
- Insurance information for all parties involved in the accident.
- Witness information, including their statements.
- The law enforcement officer’s explanation of what took place as well as diagrams and pictures that support their conclusion.
- A record of any citations given at the scene of the accident for violations that contributed to the crash.
If you were seriously injured or had significant property damage as a result of a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. A successful personal injury claim could win you damages that cover some or all of the following:
- Medical expenses, including out-of-pocket costs for surgeries, medications, physical therapy, medical equipment, and future medical care.
- Lost wages because of your injuries as well as compensation for reduced future income.
- Vehicle damage and property damage.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional trauma.
Why Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Working with an experienced attorney can help ensure you meet all the legal deadline for filing a personal injury claim for compensation. Your attorney can also obtain the police report for your accident and review it for accuracy.
An experienced attorney will be able to build a strong case for compensation by gathering additional evidence, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts. Many attorneys provide an initial consultation free of charge, so you have nothing to lose by scheduling a no-obligation case evaluation.
Loveland Car Accident Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Advocate for Clients Injured in Accidents
Contact one of our Loveland car accident lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office for help filing or retrieving a police report for your car accident. We will protect your rights and help you with the legal process. Call us at 513-488-1135 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.We are located in Loveland, Ohio, and we represent clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.