How to Read Your Ohio Car Accident Report
Our Columbus car accident lawyers explain what you need to know
If another driver crashes into your vehicle in Columbus or elsewhere in Ohio, the investigating police officer will create a report for your car accident. This official report is called an Ohio Department of Public Safety Traffic Crash Report.
It’s critical that you make sure all the facts in your crash report are accurate. Otherwise, you might have a hard time getting the money you rightfully deserve for your accident-related expenses, including compensation for medical bills, vehicle repairs and replacement income.
The experienced Columbus car accident attorneys at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC can help you every step of the way. We know how to read and analyze such reports. We know what each line item means. And if something doesn’t seem right, we can work with you to set the record straight.
Often, this might involve contacting the investigating law enforcement agency directly to make a correction. In Columbus, for example, this might mean contacting the Columbus Police Department. If your accident happened on I-70 or I-71 or another highway near Columbus, then a state trooper from the Ohio State Highway Patrol barracks on West Dublin Granville Road likely responded to your accident and filled out your crash report. We can deal directly with whoever filled out your accident report and serve as your legal advocate.
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Insurance companies pay attention to official Ohio crash reports. In many cases, they will decide whether or not to financially compensate an injury victim based on what the investigating police officer wrote in a report.
Such reports might look straightforward at first. But there are lots of minor details contained in each four-page-long document, from where your accident happened to the severity of the injuries sustained by everyone in the crash. Even the name of a particular hospital (Grant Medical Center Emergency Room in Columbus, for example) where victims were taken to after the accident can be found in the official Traffic Crash Report.
When you have our legal team on your side, you can make sure your report reflects exactly what happened. Get the support you need and deserve after your Ohio car accident. Contact us and schedule a free consultation. We can review your Ohio Traffic Crash Report with you and explain your legal options.
Accident report can be found at:
Crash Data – The top of the first page contains a wealth of information about when and where your accident took place in Ohio. This might seem straightforward. But if there’s even a minor error – whether it’s the “crash severity,” “road conditions” or “weather” – insurance companies might use it to challenge your injury claim.
Narrative – The bottom part of this page contains the investigating police officer’s description of what happened. Every word matters. Our legal team can review what the officer wrote and make sure the narrative accurately describes your car accident. If not, we can help you try to make any necessary corrections to your report.
Diagram – This part of the page contains a drawing of your car accident. The investigating police officer will draw a picture showing the angle and locations of all the vehicles involved in the crash at the point of impact. Make sure this diagram accurately shows where and how another vehicle crashed into your car.
Driver – The top of the second page includes information about one of the drivers involved in the crash. (Information about other drivers involved in the crash can be found on additional pages.) Here, you will find driver number one’s name, address, phone number and vehicle information. You will also find the driver’s insurance information and the “damage scale” (upper right-hand corner) for vehicle number one. Pay close attention to what the officer wrote in the “damage scale” section. Is it accurate? An exaggeration? Or an understatement?
Circumstances – The bottom of the second page contains two important sections – “contributing circumstances” and “sequence of events.” The investigating officer has 31 options to choose from for the two primary contributing circumstances, like “unsafe speed” (6), “followed too closely” (9) and “failure to control” (17). The investigating officer has 52 options to choose from for the sequence of events. These two boxes tell the story of what happened first and what followed. Are these answers correct? Or were the contributing circumstances or sequence of events different?
Injuries – The top of the third page contains information about injuries sustained by up to two drivers involved in the crash. If more than two drivers were injured, additional pages will be used. On this page, you will find information about where the injured driver was taken and if the driver was under the influence of alcohol. Pay particularly close attention to which number the investigating police officer entered in the box marked “injuries” (left-hand side of the page).
Occupants – The bottom of the page contains information about any injured occupants hurt in the crash. Here again, pay close attention to what the investigating police officer entered in the box marked “injuries.” If you believe this box was filled out wrong, make sure you say something. Otherwise, if you’re the injured occupant, you might not get the money you rightfully deserve for your injury-related expenses.
More occupants – Many times, car accidents involve multiple injuries to many people. If many people sustained serious injuries in your Central Ohio car accident, their injury information (including what hospital they were taken to from the crash site) can be found here.
Witnesses – If someone saw your car accident, information about the eyewitness can be found on this page in the “witness addendum.” Eyewitness testimony can be a critical piece of evidence in support of your car accident claim.
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