Being involved in any car accident can leave you feeling shaken and unsure of how to respond. After determining you are physically okay, it is natural for concerns to turn toward the damage to your vehicle, how much repairs will cost, and who will pay for those repairs. The accident team at BDIW Law can answer any questions and advise you of time limits for filing a claim in Oklahoma.
A claim will be filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. It is always best to act as soon as possible. In Oklahoma, is it necessary to have a police report when filing an insurance claim?
Filing a Claim without a Police Report
When you are involved in a minor accident, most insurance companies do not require a police report. Additionally, if an accident occurs on private property, police may not respond to the accident. Parking lots are often considered private property belonging to a business, but you should still contact the police if someone is injured or significant damage has occurred.
Suppose you and the other driver involved in the incident agree that the damage is minor and no one is injured. In that case, you will act as the investigator, collecting the pertinent information and submitting it to your insurance company. If the vehicle or property damages are equal to $300 or more, an Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Collision Report must be submitted.
Notify your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company immediately. You will record the following:
- Information from the other driver, including name, contact information, driver’s license number, insurance information, and registration
- Take pictures of both vehicles involved in the accident, photograph any damage to either automobile, license plate, and make and model of the other vehicle
- Names and contact information of all witnesses to the accident
- The location and time of the accident, noting any traffic or surveillance cameras in the area
It is beneficial if the other driver will allow you to photograph their driver’s license and insurance documentation. Do not admit fault. The insurance company’s adjuster assigned to your claim will determine who was negligent.
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The Purpose of a Police Report
The police report is created by law enforcement responding to the scene of an accident. It will include details related to the crash, documenting critical information. A police report will generally include the following:
- Date, approximate time, and location of the accident
- Identifying information about the parties involved, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information
- Contact details of any witnesses to the accident
- The damage to the vehicles involved in the accident
- Conditions at the scene of the accident, including information such as weather and road conditions
- Statement from involved parties and witnesses to the accident
- Warranted Citations
- Opinion on the cause of the accident
When Should I Obtain a Police Report?
Certain types of accidents and damages require a police report in Oklahoma. Depending on the city where the accident occurs, a self-reporting system may be in place if there are no significant injuries to the vehicle’s occupants or no major damage. If vehicle or property damages amount to $300 or more, the driver must report the accident in writing within six months from the date of the accident to the Oklahoma Department of Safety.
Oklahoma law clearly states that if the driver of a vehicle causes an accident with serious injuries or death to occupants of an automobile, law enforcement should immediately be notified. It is best to dial 911. The attending officer will submit a police report.
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Hostile Driver Encounters
You may find the other driver involved in an automobile accident unwilling to cooperate, or they may appear hostile. When this happens, it is best to request assistance. When an officer is on the scene, a police report can be collected to document all the information needed when filing a claim.
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Oklahoma requires that every vehicle is covered with minimum coverage. Minimum liability limits are 25/50/25.
- Your policy will pay up to $25,000 for bodily injury for one person in an accident.
- Up to $50,000 will be paid for all people injured in an accident.
- Up to $25,000 will be paid for property damage caused by the accident.
You may want to consider additional coverage that will pay for costs when you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or damages that exceed the driver’s coverage. Collision insurance will cover your automobile damages regardless of who is at fault. Contact law enforcement to document the accident should the at-fault driver be uninsured.
When the Driver Flees the Scene
If you are involved in an accident where the other driver flees the scene, contact law enforcement so an official source can corroborate the accident. Otherwise, there is only your word to vouch for the incident. It is also essential to document any witnesses so they can verify what happened and any details of the vehicle that fled the scene.
On initial observation, damages to a vehicle may seem minor. But on inspection by a body shop, extensive damage may be found that is not visible on the body of the vehicle, impacting the frame or operating systems. Costs for vehicle repairs can vary widely, so it may benefit you to have an official police report to speed your claim along.
Insurance brokers are seeking a minimum payout. Make sure your accident is properly documented.
Help with Your Insurance Claim in Oklahoma
You will likely be involved in an automobile accident in your lifetime. The best outcome is that each party cooperates, simplifying the claims process. But that is not always the case.
When the other driver involved in an accident changes their story, the insurance company does not want to provide proper coverage for damages, or your claim is taking too long to settle, a police report offers the appropriate documentation when pursuing a claim. The experienced lawyers of BDIW Law are ready to answer your questions concerning insurance claims and will work with you to expedite your settlement and seek maximum compensation for your claim.
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