FAQs: Car Accident Reports in Ohio

After a car accident, an accident report is important for filing an insurance claim or seeking compensation from an at-fault driver. If you have never been involved in a crash before, the process of reporting the accident can be confusing. 

Here’s what you need to know about car accident reports in Ohio, including when they’re necessary and how to get a copy of your report. 

When Is a Car Accident Report Required in Ohio?

In Ohio, an accident must be reported to the police if it involves: 

  • Personal injury, 
  • A fatality, and/or
  • Property damage exceeding $1,000

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and call the police to respond to the accident if there is any chance someone was injured. Minor car accidents usually do not need to be reported, but it’s easy for an accident to cause more than $1,000 in damage to one vehicle or both combined. 

When an accident that meets any of these thresholds is reported, the responding officer is required by law to submit a written accident report within five days.

How Do I Report an Accident if the Police Did Not Respond to the Scene?

If the accident was serious or there are suspected injuries, it’s important to remain at the scene until police arrive. The responding officer will prepare and file an accident report. 

If police did not respond to the scene or they were not called, you will need to report the accident directly to the police department with jurisdiction over the area where the crash happened. 

You will need to provide as much information as possible about: 

  • The location of the crash
  • The closest intersection
  • The number of vehicles and pedestrians involved
  • The time and date of the accident
  • Road and weather conditions
  • Location and severity of damage to all vehicles
  • Vehicle and property damage amount (under or over $150)
  • The name, address, phone number, and driver license number of all drivers
  • The license plate number of all vehicles

Every police department has its own procedure to report a car accident. If the accident happened within the Columbus city limits, it should be reported to the Columbus Division of Police. This can be done via email or by printing and mailing a completed and signed Crash Report. If the accident occurred in unincorporated Franklin County, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office would have jurisdiction. 

Do I Need To Report an Accident to the BMV?

An accident report only needs to be made to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) if the accident involved an uninsured driver. This report can be helpful to prove your insurance claim if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This report also must be made within 6 months of the accident.

How Do I Get A Copy Of My Accident Report?

The easiest way to get a copy of your accident report is by submitting a request through the Ohio Department of Public Safety website. It may take up to six weeks for your accident report to be made available. If the Ohio State Highway Patrol responded to the crash, you can request a copy of the report within seven business days. 

You can also contact the police department that investigated the crash. They may be able to provide a copy of your report sooner. Some departments allow you to request a crash report online. 

What Does an Ohio Car Accident Report Include?

An accident report includes details about the accident and the vehicles and people involved. Your report will include: 

  • Where and when the accident happened
  • Road and weather conditions
  • Vehicles involved
  • Estimated damage
  • Names and contact information of all drivers
  • Insurance information for all drivers
  • Location and description of damage to vehicles

The responding officer may include their own description of the accident, opinion about who was at fault, and whether any citations were issued. The officer’s “narrative” usually tells how the accident happened according to the officer’s investigation. They may include a diagram as well. 

There is a section for the responding officer to note pre-crash events like backing or changing lanes and contributing circumstances like unsafe speed, following too closely, or failure to yield. 

Consult With an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been involved in an accident, a car accident attorney can help with obtaining a copy of your report and filing your insurance claim. Mani Ellis & Layne Accident & Injury Lawyers is here to help you. Contact our law office for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer to discuss your accident and the next steps to take.

Contact the Car Accidents Law Firm of Mani, Ellis & Layne, PLLC for Help Today

For more information, please contact an experienced lawyer at Mani, Ellis & Layne, PLLC to schedule a free initial consultation today. We have convenient locations in Columbus, OH, and Charleston, WV.

Mani Ellis & Layne Accident & Injury Lawyers – Columbus, OH Office
20 E Broad St Suite 1000, Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 587-8423

Mani Ellis & Layne Accident & Injury Lawyers – Charleston, WV Office
10 Hale St Suite 501, Charleston, WV 25301
(304) 720-1000