Car accidents are scary, even when it's just a fender bender. Although Ohio law doesn't always require you to contact the police following a crash, it may be wise to do so. Once on the scene, police can help establish the facts of the accident and safely route traffic around the location. When the police are not available, you may need to file your own accident report. There are a few basic tips that will help you speed through an Ohio car accident report.
How to File a Car Crash Report in Ohio
This chart provides a summary of Ohio laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.
Note: Laws are subject to change. It's important to verify the information you read about by conducting your own research or consulting with an Ohio attorney.
Do the Police Always File an Accident Report?
It's a common belief that the police will respond and file a report after every car crash. However, in most parts of the state, this no longer happens. Some cities in Ohio, including Columbus and Cincinnati, have their own reporting rules. However, 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
When to File an Accident Report in Ohio
When the police don't respond to an accident, you may need to document the accident and file a report. Most report forms are available online, or you can fill one out at the police station. Since many cities and counties in Ohio have local crash reporting procedures, it's a good idea to call the nearest police station to learn the local rules.
Filing an accident report is important even when both parties agree to settle without involving their insurance because:
- You may not immediately realize your injuries
- The damage to your car may be worse than initially thought
- The other driver(s) may make false claims, such as admitting fault but retracting the statement latter on
Reporting an Uninsured Motorist Involved in an Accident
Ohio law does not require you to file a "crash report" with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). What the BMV provides is a process to allege that a driver or owner of a vehicle involved in an accident, to which you were a party, was not insured. The purpose of this report is to evaluate the license of an uninsured driver or vehicle owner for possible suspension for violating the mandatory insurance law. The report must be filed within six months of the accident, and the accident must have caused personal injuries or property damage in excess of $400.
Have Specific Questions About Ohio Car Accident Reports? Ask a Lawyer
Auto accidents can be serious business. Claims by the other driver can be filed months even years after the crash occurred. Or your injuries may be more serious than first believed. In these circumstance, an experienced Ohio attorney can help protect your rights and fight for appropriate compensation. Speak to a local car accident attorney today to learn how Ohio law applies to the facts of your claim.