If you are thinking about or considering filing a lawsuit or claim for a car accident, one of the first things you should do is obtain a copy of your crash report. These reports are critical to your car accident legal case because they provide vital information regarding your accident.
After you have alerted law enforcement about the car accident, they will send responding officers to the accident scene. These officers will take the time to listen to the details that you and the other driver give, analyze the scene, and make a report of what they believe happened. Most people who plan to file a claim or lawsuit will want to obtain a copy of this crash report to strengthen their arguments and prove that negligence played a role in the accident.
If you need to request a copy of your crash report, you can visit the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s website to search for your report. Before beginning a search, you will need to know the date of your accident as well as your license and vehicle registration number. If you cannot locate your crash report on the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s site, you may be able to find it on the specific police agency’s website that sent the officers out to your accident.
How much should I expect to pay to order my crash report?
Obtaining a copy of your crash report in Ohio is completely free.
Will I have instant access to my crash report?
Unfortunately, you will most likely not have instant access to your crash report. Instead, there is a process that you must follow, which typically requires you to enter your information and request a copy of your crash report. The Ohio Department of Public Safety will send you a copy of your crash report, which can take around six weeks to receive. The reason for this long waiting period is because they must accept your copy request and then send you a hard copy of the report.
Why is a crash report so important to my legal case?
While lawyers are happy to listen to you tell your experience, they cannot know the full extent of what occurred on the day of your accident until they see the report created and filed by the police department. Once your attorney reads over the crash report, they will know what type of legal advice they should give you as well as what type of legal routes and options may be available for your case. These are some of the steps in the legal process that your crash report can help your attorney navigate:
- Determining liability
- Interviewing potential witnesses
- Surveying and investigating the accident scene
- Collecting evidence
- Selecting and working with expert witnesses
- Filing a claim or lawsuit on your behalf
- Pursuing and fighting for the damages you are owed
Are crash reports difficult to read and understand?
In general, these reports are mostly easy to read and understand, and victims of car accidents should not have any problems when looking over them. Here are a few key pieces of information you should review:
- The date that your accident occurred: You will need to first check the date that the officer stated your accident occurred. This is very important because you have a specific deadline to pursue a claim, meaning that you want to make sure that this date is correct.
- Yours and the other driver’s personal contact information: Next, you will want to make sure that your personal contact information is correct. After you have checked that, you will need to ensure that the contact information for the other driver involved matches the information they gave you. This may include name, phone number, address, and insurance company information.
- Where your accident took place: Another important component to look over is the location listed for your accident. This is critical because the type of area or roadway your accident took place on could impact the success of your claim.
- Available photographs: All police reports consist of pictures that the responding officer took and included with your report. If you do not see any photographs attached to your report, get in touch with the local police agency or the Ohio Department of Public Safety. If you do see pictures, make sure they match your accident scene and not someone else’s.
- Details of your accident: In the report, you will notice that the officer wrote down what they saw at the accident scene as well as who they believe is at fault for the crash. You may want to sit down and read over these notes to get an idea of how the officer viewed the scene and accident because this could possibly affect the outcome of your case.
Were you recently involved in a car accident and need help obtaining a copy of your crash report? If so, please reach out to the Columbus car accident lawyers at Soroka & Associates right away. After you have obtained this copy, we will guide you through the process of filing a claim and pursuing the money you need to get back on your feet again after the collision. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free and convenient case evaluation today.