What Happens If There Is No Police Report for a Car Accident in Ohio?
Road accidents claim the lives of roughly 90 individuals in the United States every day, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even though most accidents are minor and do not lead to injuries or fatalities, there is still pain and suffering and it is essential to be informed in the event of a collision.
Indeed, what a person does in the first 10 minutes following an injury might significantly impact their life. Following the crash, the people involved may choose not to file a police report. They simply share contact and insurance information at the accident scene so that everyone involved can file insurance claims with their insurance company.
However, sometimes car repairs are expensive, and if there is no police report to verify the driver at fault, can a driver still file a claim for their damages? Are drivers bound by the law to report a minor car accident in Ohio? Here is everything motorists need to know about filing police reports after a car accident.
Get in Touch with an Ohio Car Accident Lawyer
Because the regulations governing car accidents can be complex, motorists are advised to consult an expert car accident attorney from Keating Law Firm for advice on the next steps to take. Get in touch with an experienced attorney by contacting Keating Law today!
Are Motorists Legally Required to File a Police Report Following a Car Accident?
Technically, the motorists involved in an accident do not need to contact the police if the collision is minimal and causes very little if any injuries or damages. However, in Ohio, the legal definition of "minor" is only $400 in property damage, which might be hard to determine right after a collision.
Apart from the perks of establishing a paper trail of the incident, it's also necessary to think about the legal ramifications of failing to alert the police. Failing to report a collision for accidents where damages exceed $400 is considered a minor misdemeanor in Ohio.
When Is Filing an Accident Report Absolutely Necessary?
Law enforcement is not compelled to examine an accident scene following a car accident if there has been no injury or death. Additionally, only if there is a fatality, injuries, or damage to property that exceeds $1,000 is a notification to the office of public safety needed.
However, all parties involved must still come to a complete stop and exchange contact information. Identities, residential addresses, and car registration information are all included. Drivers are also advised to get the insurance company and policy number of the other driver in addition to their Ohio driver license number.
What Happens If There Is No Crash Report After an Accident Occurred?
When there are no aggravating factors, the most typical course of action for most drivers involved in a motor vehicle collision is not to submit a police report. While submitting a police report makes it easier to demonstrate who was at fault for the accident, it isn't essential to determine who is responsible for the damages.
An accident report is essentially just another piece of evidence that insurers can use to prove fault. Because the police officer is unlikely to have witnessed the collision, their report can be trusted because it will describe any physical evidence found at the scene.
Can a Driver File a Police Report After Leaving the Scene of the Accident?
Drivers can submit an accident report a few days or weeks after an accident happened and both drivers have left the scene of the accident. However, this report may not hold as much weight during an insurance claims process as a police report written by an officer at the scene.
This process differs from one city to the next. In Colombus, motorists can complete an accident report form and submit it online. When a motorist is involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, however, they must follow a separate set of laws. In such cases, drivers will need to file a report within six months with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Steps to Take Following a Minor Car Accident
If an accident is minor, with very little noticeable damage and no injuries sustained, there is no need to contact the local police department. However, there are still a few crucial steps that drivers need to take.
At the Accident Scene
When a collision occurs, it is important not just to drive away. Instead, there are two essential things that drivers need to do.
Obtain Information from the Other Driver
As mentioned before, it is vital to collect information from the other party. This includes their name, insurance information, and their vehicle's license plate number.
Additionally, it is essential to gather as much evidence as possible before driving away. This is because when motorists choose not to file a report, obtaining evidence may be crucial if one of the drivers decides to file a lawsuit. Here are examples of evidence that can be gathered at the scene:
Photographs of the accident
Pictures of the license plate number and car registration
Seek Medical Attention
One of the most important steps that anyone involved in an accident can take is to seek medical care. Even if an injury may seem minor, it could have serious repercussions, so it is always essential to seek medical attention after an accident.
Alert an Insurance Company
After contacting law enforcement, motorists need to contact their insurance carrier. This is a crucial step for several reasons. Firstly, the insurance policy may require that a driver report an accident within 24 hours. Claimants might well be refused coverage if they neglect to inform their insurance company about the incident.
Furthermore, filing a car insurance claim will give drivers faster access to money for repairing their vehicle and paying their medical expenses. Waiting for the at-fault driver and their insurance company to settle a claim may take a long time.
Lastly, if the other motorist is an uninsured driver, uninsured motorist coverage may be required to compensate for losses. While filing an insurance claim does not need to be done immediately after a motor vehicle accident, it is essential to alert the insurance provider that a claim may follow.
Injured in a Car Accident? Contact a Reliable Personal Injury Attorney Today!
Motor vehicle accidents happen all the time, and when they do, it is important to know what to do. Drivers who need more information about whether a police report is necessary and whether they can still make a personal injury claim without a crash report can contact an experienced attorney from Keating Law Firm.
The Columbus Ohio car accident attorneys at Keating Law have decades of experience dealing with car accident cases in Ohio and can help victims hold the other driver responsible for their part in the accident to help them get the maximum compensation. Contact Keating Law today by dialing (866) 836-4878 for a free case review!