In 2021, Oklahoma motorists saw more than 66,000 auto crashes. Oklahoma’s crash statistics for 2021 indicate that every day 181 crashes occurred, with 83 people injured and approximately two people losing their lives. On average, eight crashes occurred every hour, adding up to one crash every eight minutes.
In so many of these cases, a police report is needed to determine what really happened. But knowing when and how to obtain these records may not always be obvious.
At BDIW Law, our car crash attorneys offer decades of experience in Ponca City, Bartlesville, and all over the state of Oklahoma. With this experience comes a dedication to our clients while handling various accident claims. Our approach emphasizes clear client communication and a willingness to advocate for their best interests.
Obtaining a Collision Report
When cases need to be made to determine fault or recover compensation, police reports can be a strong resource in a claim. The extra time it takes to call the police, give a statement, and then obtain a report later could save so many headaches when you need those documented details.
In Oklahoma, there are two ways to obtain a collision report. A request can be made in person during business hours at the police headquarters in the jurisdiction where the crash occurred.
The second way is to fill out a records request form and mail it to the Department of Public Safety Records Management Division. A fee will need to be paid – $7 for a regular police report or $10 for a certified collision report.
A collision report can help fortify a personal injury lawsuit. These reports can also defend against insurance companies who are proposing lowball settlement offers. If accounts later get called into question because other drivers try to change their stories by offering opposing accounts, an accident report can help protect the reported evidence of the incident and clarify what really happened.
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Before a Car Crash
There are stages of stress when someone is involved in a car crash. If someone is seriously injured, getting medical attention as soon as possible is stressful. But if someone is not injured or only has minor injuries, the next anxious stage begins where people ask themselves, “Should I go talk to the other people involved, the other driver?”
If it was only a fender bender, people often ask, “Should I call the police?” The stages that follow get even more stressful because of the endless conversations with insurance companies and the possibility of personal injury claims.
Car crashes are traumatic, and the aftermath is filled with the chaos involved with resolving the situation. It only makes sense to put a plan in place before the stages of stress begin. It can help relieve a lot of stress to learn beforehand what to do if an accident ever happens.
During a Car Crash
When a fender bender occurs, when there is only slight or no damage to the cars and no one has been injured, drivers are not required to call the police. Each driver can simply exchange information. Any driver involved in the wreck will need to share four pieces of basic information, which include the following:
- Driver’s name
- Driver license number
- Vehicle registration number
- Address of the driver
According to Oklahoma law, any vehicle damage, even light damage, warrants the exchange of driver and vehicle information with the other driver. If the nature of an accident is more serious, drivers are required to call 911 or notify:
- The state highway patrol
- The sheriff department
- The local police department
Defining a Serious Car Crash
Oklahoma law defines an accident as being more serious when it involves:
- Significant damage to the vehicle
- An injury
- A fatality
In most cases, it is a good idea to call the police. An officer coming out to an accident scene to file a report can save a lot of time later.
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After a Car Crash
Regardless of which authorities report to the accident scene, they are all trained in writing accident reports and how to record key details concerning what happened. Some of the important information a motor vehicle accident report should contain include:
- Weather and driving conditions.
- Name of the injured, description of the injuries, and their contact information
- Description of the damages to the vehicles
- Officer’s opinion about the crash’s causation
An officer’s opinion in an accident report is not definitive proof about who was at fault in the crash. Usually, police reports are not used by Oklahoma courts as evidence. But these reports do include the conclusions an officer comes to after evaluating the evidence at the scene, and this unbiased perspective offers vital details about a crash.
When it comes time to deal with insurance companies, the valuable information gathered at the scene of an accident can go a long way in settling disputes.
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Contact BDIW Law for a Free Initial Consultation
Our experienced team at BDIW Law maneuvers through the tricky insurance claim process, minimizing the stress and headaches you might receive from interactions with insurance companies. Our negotiations can maximize the damages you receive.
We determine our fees for accident claims according to a percentage of the compensation you receive. There is no need to worry about attorney fees. We succeed when you succeed. For a free consultation, call or contact us online.
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