Do you know when you are required to report a car crash and exchange information with the other driver?
Many people, when involved with what at first seems to be a minor motor vehicle accident, will not call the police or report the collision. However, the law requires crash victims to report certain types of crashes.
That said, reporting a crash is an important step if you are looking to pursue compensation for your damages. Below, we discuss car crash reporting requirements in Ohio and the benefits of a police report for your car crash claim.
If you were injured in a crash, give our firm a call today. Our Cleveland-based car accident attorneys are prepared to help you seek full compensation for your injuries and damages, and there are no upfront costs.
When Are You Required to Report a Car Crash?
State law requires crash victims to call the police and file a police report when the accident causes one or more of the following:
- An injury that needs medical attention
- More than $1,000 in property damage
You must also file a report if the city where the crash happened requires a report.
It is also important to note that failing to file a police report for a crash that fits one of the three criteria listed above may be a misdemeanor.
If the police do not come to the scene, you are still required to safely pull off the road and exchange information, including:
- Name of the other driver
- Vehicle registration numbers
- License plate numbers
- Phone numbers
- Home addresses
- Insurance information (company, policy number, etc.)
- Owner of the car (sometimes the driver is not the one who owns the car)
- Name and contact information for any witnesses
If the driver is in a company-owned vehicle, make sure to obtain information about the company and whether the driver is an employee of the company.
An easy way to gather all these pieces of information is to take pictures of documents.
Why Calling the Police Helps Victims Who are Seeking Compensation
Sometimes crashes cause injuries victims are not aware of. You may not think an injury is that serious, but it could be worse than you think.
It is also impossible to calculate how much property damage was caused by a crash. The outside of the car may look OK, but the engine or frame could have been damaged. There is no way to know for sure until the car is examined by a mechanic.
While every accident may not fit the criteria above, it is often best to call the police after any crash. If you have significant injuries and/or property damage, you may need to file an insurance claim and a police report can help to validate such a claim. Insurance companies often require a police report to consider a claim for compensation.
You never know how much a car crash injury may impact your life. If you are unable to work and have significant medical bills, having called the police to the scene may help you recover the compensation you need.
You should also consider the possibility of the other driver making false claims about what happened. Ohio is an at-fault state, which means at-fault drivers are financially responsible for damages from a crash they cause. At-fault drivers often dispute the victim’s account of the crash to try to prevent the victim’s claim from being paid out, which may increase his or her insurance premium payments.
What is Included in a Car Crash Police Report?
The police report can serve as the first official account of what happened in the crash. It serves as proof that a crash happened and may even help link your injuries to the crash.
Crash reports include numerous details about the people and vehicles involved in the crash and a description of what happened, according to those involved. Some of those details may include:
- Where the crash occurred
- Road conditions
- Date and time the crash happened
- Vehicles and others (pedestrians, bicyclists) involved
- Estimated value of property damage
- The intersection nearest the collision
- Names of the drivers involved
- Contact information for the drivers involved
- Driver’s license numbers of those involved
- License plate numbers of the vehicles
- Location of damage to the vehicles
- Insurance information for the drivers involved
The responding officer may also include your description of the crash along with the other driver’s description of it. If any traffic citations were issued, they will also be listed on the report.
Proof of traffic citations could be vital to the success of your claim. If the citation is related to the cause of the crash, this could help to prove negligence occurred.
Talking to the Police About the Crash
When you talk to the police about the crash, state the facts and avoid guessing or providing answers you are unsure about. If you have good reason to believe the crash was caused by the other driver, explain why you think so.
However, avoid saying anything that could be interpreted as an admission that you are to blame for the crash. If you say you did not see the other car or you should have been paying more attention, the police officer may think you are at least partially to blame. You should also avoid apologizing to the officer or the other driver.
As much as possible, try to be concise with your answers. You should avoid rambling on and on because you might say something that could be used against you. If you state a lot of opinions or give confusing answers, it could hurt your credibility.
What if the Police Report Has an Error?
Sometimes police officers make mistakes on police reports. Sometimes these errors can be quickly resolved by contacting the officer and explaining why something on the report is incorrect, assuming you have proof of the error.
While factual errors may be easy to resolve, disputes about information in the report, such as the other driver’s account of the crash, may be harder to resolve. If you talk to the officer, he or she may file another report with the information you want included in the report.
It is vital to correct police report errors as soon as possible because insurance companies rely on these reports to make decisions about claims. Your attorney may be able to assist you with this, so it is important to immediately tell your attorney about errors on the police report.
You can ask the police officer how you can go about obtaining a copy of the report or ask your attorney to obtain a copy. You can review the document with your attorney to determine if there are any factual errors or information you dispute.
Contact Us to Discuss Legal Options Following a Crash
For decades, Friedman, Domiano and Smith has been helping auto accident victims pursue and recover compensation for vehicle crash damages. This includes medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.
If you have any questions following a car crash, particularly if you believe the other driver is to blame, give us a call. An initial legal consultation is free. There are also no fees if we take your case. Our firm does not get paid unless and until you do.
Licensed Attorneys. Free Legal Consultation. Call: 216-621-0070.
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