Car accidents can leave a lasting impact on those involved. These incidents can lead to physical injuries ranging from minor bruises to severe, life-altering conditions, and often inflict emotional and psychological trauma. The financial consequences can be just as significant, with damages to vehicles, medical expenses, and potential loss of income. For those navigating the aftermath, the crash report can serve as a vital tool.
This document, created by law enforcement officers, includes detailed information about the accident, including the involved parties, circumstances, and any observable damages and injuries. This foundational document is important evidence for any subsequent Cincinnati car accident lawsuit or insurance claims, so it is important to request a copy as soon as possible.
How Do You Obtain a Copy of Your Crash Report?
The Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) maintains crash reports, known officially as OH-1 Traffic Crash Reports. If police were present at the accident scene, they would have compiled this report on your behalf. However, if law enforcement did not respond to the collision, you have the option to file a report yourself using form BMV 3303.
You can acquire a copy of your crash report by visiting the DPS website. Here, under the crash reports section, you can locate your specific report by providing the accident date, your license, and vehicle registration numbers, along with other personal details. Alternatively, you can request the report directly from the local, county, or state police agency that handled your accident.
It does not cost anything to obtain a copy of your crash report, but there is a significant wait time. It could take up to six weeks after the accident for the DPS to upload the report into their system. If you plan on filing an insurance claim or lawsuit, make sure to request your report as soon as possible so that you can acquire a copy when it becomes available.
Why Would You Want to Access a Crash Report?
Ohio follows a fault-based insurance system, which means that drivers who cause accidents are responsible for paying for them. Victims have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party and recover compensation to pay for their medical care, property repairs, and other damages.
A crash report can be key to proving the other driver’s negligence as it serves as an official and unbiased record of the accident. This document includes crucial details such as the exact location of the collision, the conditions under which it occurred, and any violations of traffic laws. The report may also contain witness statements and the officer’s observations, including their initial determination of fault. These elements are essential in piecing together a factual narrative of the event, demonstrating how the actions of the other driver led to the accident.
What Should You Do After Accessing Your Crash Report?
The crash report can be an indispensable tool in establishing liability and supporting your claim for compensation. However, it can be challenging to interpret alone. Once you have accessed your crash report, it is important to bring it to an attorney who represents car accident claims.
Your Cincinnati personal injury lawyer will meticulously review the report to identify and highlight key pieces of information that can be leveraged in your case, and then use this information to advocate for your right to a fair settlement. If you have not contacted an attorney already, schedule a free legal consultation after your accident and take your first steps toward justice.