If you were involved in a car accident in Ohio, a police officer will need to fill out a traffic crash report. Understandably, you may find the Ohio Public Safety Traffic Crash Report difficult to interpret at first glance. This document created by the Ohio Department of Public Safety not only contains a wealth of information about the accident but also uses a number of confusing abbreviations and codes to describe what happened.
Before you attempt to make sense of it all, let’s take a look at how to read and interpret the information in your Ohio car accident report.
The First Two Pages of An Ohio Car Accident Report Contains General Information
The first page of the car accident report records basic details such as the driver’s name, address, and vehicle information. It also indicates the type of crash that occurred, the exact location of the accident, and information on the conditions of light, road, and weather. Under the “Crash Severity” section, the police officer will need to choose among three options: “Fatal,” “Injury,” and “PDO”—or Property Damage Only.
The second page of the car accident report covers the accident in more detail. It includes descriptions of the vehicle damage sustained, Pre Crash Actions, Contributing Circumstances, and the Sequence of Events. The “Hit/Skip Unit” box is marked if the situation is a hit-and-run.
The Next Few Pages of Your Accident Report Will Be More In Depth
The third page of the report contains data on all motorists, non-motorists, and occupants, such as names and addresses of the motorists, license plate numbers, vehicle information, and insurance details. This page also indicates whether there is an injury and if medical attention was given. Other valuable information found in this section includes where you were seated at the time of the accident and whether the driver’s alcohol test or drug blood test results.
The fourth section of the car accident report, known as the Occupant/Witness Addendum, lists the names and other details of any other vehicle occupants in the accident and witnesses to the crash. It also lists other information such as their seating position in the accident, and which medical facility they were taken to after the car accident if they sustained injuries.
Why An Ohio Traffic Accident Report Is Important
The Ohio traffic crash report serves as valuable evidence for proving negligence in personal injury cases. In fact, insurance companies generally scrutinize the traffic crash report before determining appropriate compensation for your accident. It is essential, therefore, to understand what it actually says and to ensure that all information is correct.
How to Get Your Traffic Accident Report
If you secure an accident lawyer, they can assist you in collecting your official report from the law enforcement agency that collected it; however, you can also obtain a copy for your records by visiting the Ohio Department of Public Safety website.
Using the search tool, input information such as your name and the date of your motor vehicle accident.
Be aware that:
- It can take up to six weeks after your auto accident for the report to become digitally available.
- Your report may not show up on the website if the crash took place on private property.
- The investigating agency needs to send the report to DPS. If it is unavailable on the website, the reporting officer’s agency may not have sent it.
Learn More About the Information In Your Crash Report With Help From a Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s highly recommended you consult with an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer to ensure your rights to full and fair compensation are protected. The Fitch Law Firm has been serving vehicle accident victims throughout Ohio for 30+ years and we may be able to help you. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
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