If you get into a collision, the traffic accident report is the form that details the information about the incident. It’s usually filled out by a police officer after one of the two parties involved calls for help, or if an officer witnesses the accident. This report should contain as many details as possible about the incident and is an important legal tool for identifying who was at fault, valuable information in processing an insurance claim.
Filing the Report
After an accident, one of the most critical tasks to accomplish is to complete and file an accident report. Many times an officer will be on the scene to help you go through this process and will submit the report for you. In other situations, you’ll have to collect information from the scene and file a report yourself. Either way, after the report is filed, it’s helpful to be able to access a copy of it for yourself.
Obtaining that Accident Report
When you’re trying to submit a claim on your insurance, there’s a good chance that the professional working on your case is going to ask you for a copy of the accident report. If so, you’ll have to go through the necessary steps to obtain one.
To do this, you should get in touch with the law enforcement office that recorded the report for you. This office is where you’ll get the copy, and you’ll have to work with their procedures to get it. Usually, a copy of the report won’t be available until at least 24 hours after the accident, and it’s best to wait 48 hours before asking for it. Asking for a report could also end up costing you money. Some police departments charge for reports to help cover their administrative costs. Typically the cost is reasonable, so you don’t have to worry about paying too much for it, but on occasion, it will be more than expected.
Send the Report into the DMV
In many states, you have to send in the accident report to your DMV within a certain number of days. Make sure that you know the laws of your state so that you can get the report in on time. In states like Oregon, you have just three days after the accident to submit the report. Make sure to fill out the paperwork correctly and get it to the DMV promptly after the incident. Going through an accident is bad enough, make sure that you aren’t breaking the law as well.
Understanding how a car accident report works is important, and it’s good to know where you can get a copy for yourself as well. With the report, you’ll be able to go over the details of the accident, and you’ll be able to file a claim with your insurance with proof of what happened. That’s highly valuable and well worth going through a bit of trouble for. Otherwise, you may be stuck with paying for the claim yourself.