November 11, 2020 | Car Accidents
If you have been injured in a car accident or other motor vehicle crash, obtaining an accident report can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. An official Oklahoma City accident report will document the accident’s details and may contain critical elements that will help you win your case.
Immediately After the Accident
Before thinking about the legal side of an accident, make sure everyone involved in the accident is safe. Sometimes, victims of a crash need to go to the hospital for examination, even if they have no visible injuries and are not in any pain.
After a traumatic incident like a vehicle crash, our bodies can go into shock, making us unaware of an injury. Surviving a high-speed or head-on collision usually causes the body’s adrenaline to surge, which can numb the pain from sustained injuries. Most of the time, victims of a crash begin to feel pain from things like whiplash one or a few days after the incident.
Sometimes, victims sustain life-threatening injuries but do not feel them due to shock and adrenaline. Anyone involved in a serious accident should seek medical help to prevent an unapparent injury from worsening. A doctor can also provide documentation of your injuries that can be included as evidence in your case filings.
How Do I Obtain a Traffic Accident Report?
In Oklahoma, drivers are responsible for reporting an accident to police in a timely manner, but if you are badly injured and unable to stay on-site, that responsibility is waived.
If you can stay on-site, call the Oklahoma City Police Department as soon as possible. When the police department arrives, they can document important information.
This typically includes things like:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Potential causes of the crash
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved
- Statements from victims and witnesses
- Descriptions of injuries sustained or damage to vehicles
- Conditions present at the accident scene like ice or rain
Depending on what time the accident occurred, it may take a few days to generate your accident report. In the meantime, you can call the Oklahoma City Police Department to check up on the details of your report and receive important information like the total cost of the crash.
Once the report is ready, you can request a copy by filling out the police department’s request form and emailing it to their headquarters. If you prefer, you can bring the request form directly to the Oklahoma City Police Department and purchase a physical copy of your report in person.
You can also request your report by mail, but you will have to send a check or money order to the OCPD, along with the completed request form.
If a crash was minor and neither party sustained any injuries, both parties must exchange information but are not required to call the police. For minor accidents, drivers have six months to report the accident and whether any settlement was made.
One mistake drivers often make is admitting fault in an accident. Although you may feel at fault for the accident, you may be unaware of other contributing factors. Admitting fault for an accident can bar you from recovering damages as insurance companies will use your admission against you.
How Can an Accident Report Help Me
In most cases, filing an injury report with the guilty party’s insurance company is the primary way to recover damages from an accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not have your best interest in mind. Insurance companies work for profit, so most of the time, they seek to give out as little compensation as possible to make a higher profit.
Going up against an insurance company alone is difficult. Insurance companies often use intimidation and manipulation tactics to get claimants to settle for less. Although the insurance company might try to negate your report’s findings, it is still a helpful document for providing key evidence.
Before filing a report with an insurance company, speak with a personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys are familiar with methods insurance companies use to overpower claimants, so they will be better prepared to argue your case and bat off any intimidation tactics.
A personal injury lawyer will know how much compensation you are rightly entitled to and will fight for the full amount. If an insurance company is not offering you adequate compensation, a personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
When Should I File a Report?
It is always helpful to file a report with the police, even if the crash was minor. Some insurance companies won’t process claims without a police report.
Accident reports are unlikely to be used in court but are still a better source of evidence than other witnesses at the scene. An insurance company might argue against a witness testimony on the grounds that they may have been shaken up and unable to remember the incident correctly. Police officers are seen as a more reliable source as they are removed from the incident.