According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), accident reports are not public records, as they contain personal information, like driver’s license numbers. However, this information may be redacted from the document.
You can access the report online or at your local law enforcement agency’s headquarters.
Information Needed to Access Your Report
If you are looking for a report online, you will usually be able to access a crash report filed with the OSHP within seven days of the accident. To find a report, you must search:
- The crash or document number
- The date of the accident
- The county where the crash took place
Personal information such as driver license numbers, details being used in legal investigations, and public service worker information is redacted.
Why You Need a Car Accident Report
If you were injured in a car accident and want to file a claim or lawsuit for damages, you will need an accident report. Without one, your claim may be dismissed.
A police report does not only help insurers and the court determine who is at fault for the accident, but it also provides:
- Details of the accident: The document indicated where your collision took place, how it occurred, what damage was caused to the vehicles involved, and who was injured and how.
- Evidence of fault: The report usually contains information recorded by the police officer who was at the scene of the accident. It will detail their account of what caused the accident.
- Contact details: The police officer at the scene of the crash will also have collected contact information from the other driver if you were unable to get it. There may also be contact details for any witnesses at the scene.
When to File an Accident Report
Even if you think the crash was minor, you should still file an accident report. According to Ohio Revised Code Section 5502.11, you must file this report within five days of the event.
Doing so will help you if, at a later date, you realize you suffered more serious injuries or substantial property damage than you thought. In addition, the state may fine you for failing to abide by traffic law.
An Accident With an Uninsured Driver
If you are involved in an auto accident with an uninsured driver and the collision caused more than $400 worth of damage, you should file an accident report with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
When the BMV gets your report, they process the information to see if the other party was driving with a suspended license because of the lack of insurance. You must file this report with the BMV within six months of the accident.
The Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Ohio
You should consider bringing your case for damages as soon as possible after the accident. In Ohio, you generally have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit, according to Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10. If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the state enforces the same timeline, per Ohio Revised Code Section 2125.02.
If you fail to comply with the deadline, you may not be allowed to pursue the liable party for your damages. As a result, covering your accident-related costs would be your responsibility.
Consider Having a Personal Injury Lawyer Help With Your Car Crash Case
Filing and accessing your car accident report, going after the liable party for damages, and all the other factors that come with managing a case may be overwhelming. You may want to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle all case-related responsibilities for you.
- Go over relevant laws and insurance policies
- File your accident report and access a copy
- Gather various forms of evidence
- Identify the party that caused the accident
- Assess each of your damages
- Talk to your doctors, the insurance companies, and any attorneys
- Represent you during settlement negotiations
- Go to trial if they cannot agree on a settlement
Usually, personal injury firms that deal with car accident cases advocate for clients on a contingency-fee basis. That means they don’t charge you up front, out of pocket, or by the hour for their help. They only collect a fee if they secure a financial award for you.
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Get Help With Your Car Accident Case From the Fitch Law Firm LLC Today
If you or a family member has been involved in a vehicle accident in Ohio and you need help obtaining or understanding your accident report, The Fitch Law Firm LLC is here to help. Our personal injury lawyers can explain your legal options and guide you throughout the claims process. Your job is to focus on your health and get better.
Don’t wait any longer to start your case. Get in touch with our contingency-fee-based firm today at (614) 545-3930 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Everything we discuss is confidential.
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