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Ohio Car Accident Report Basics

Car accidents are scary, no matter how minor. Ohio law doesn't require you to call the police after every car crash. However, it may be wise to do so. Once the police arrive at the accident scene, they’ll conduct a thorough investigation and put their findings into a police report. This report will be crucial in proving your car accident claim.

Here, we will discuss Ohio’s law regarding car accident reporting and explain how to file an accident report. If you still have questions about your car accident case, contact an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer. 

How To File a Car Crash Report in Ohio

This chart summarizes Ohio laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.

State Accident Statutes

When To File a Crash Report

  • The accident took place in a city that requires an accident report
  • Your insurance company requires that you file a report
  • The other driver didn’t have insurance (optional BMV form)

File a Crash Report:

Note: Laws are subject to change. It's important to verify your state’s accident reporting requirements by conducting your own research or consulting an Ohio car accident lawyer.

Do the Police Always File an Accident Report?

Many people believe that the police will come to every accident scene and conduct an investigation. This isn’t the case in Ohio.

Ohio law only requires police to come to the scene and file a report when:

  • The accident causes an injury that requires medical care
  • A fatality occurs
  • Property damage totals more than $1,000

Some cities in Ohio, including Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, have their own reporting rules. You can visit a local law enforcement agency and report the crash. You can go online and locate your municipality or county's phone number and contact information.

When To File an Accident Report in Ohio

If the police don't respond to your accident, you must document the accident and file a report. You can find most reporting forms online.

Filing an accident report is important even when both parties agree to settle the matter without involving their insurance company. Some of the reasons for this include:

  • You may not immediately realize the severity of your injuries
  • The damage to your car may be worse than you initially thought
  • The other driver(s) may make false claims, such as admitting fault but retracting the statement later

While waiting for the police officer to arrive, you should exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver and document the accident scene as best you can.

Some of the things you should do while waiting for the responding officer to arrive include:

  • Check to see if any of the accident victims need medical attention
  • Take pictures of the accident scene using your cell phone, including vehicle damage
  • Basic information, such as the make, model, and license plate number of the other vehicles
  • Try to get contact information for any eyewitnesses
  • Ask your passengers to write down or record what they remember about the motor vehicle accident
  • If possible, take a video of any encounters between you and the other driver 

Reporting an Uninsured Motorist Involved in an Accident

Ohio law does not require you to file a crash report with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). This report aims to evaluate the accident to see if the drivers complied with the mandatory insurance laws in Ohio. 

You must file your report within six months of the crash. 

Have Specific Questions About Ohio Car Accident Reports? Ask a Lawyer

Auto accidents can be serious business. Talking to an experienced Ohio car accident attorney can help make the process less intimidating. Almost all personal injury lawyers offer new clients a free case evaluation. This gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have and find out what your options are.

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