How to Read an Oklahoma Accident Report
After a collision, emergency responders will come to the scene and investigate. Police officers will fill out a report stating what they think was the cause, who is at fault, and information on all drivers. It is a critical piece of evidence, and insurance companies will hinge entire cases on what is in the report.
Oklahoma accident reports have three pages at a minimum, and these will have the extent of the information you need regarding your collision. On page one, you will have four sections. Section one of the top will have general data like the crash’s time, location, and date. It will also state how many vehicles and people were in the wreck. The second section describes the first vehicle and has the driver’s insurance and license information and if police cited them. The third section has the same information but for the second vehicle.
Note that it also points out whether or not the vehicle rolled or burned, and whether or not there was a phone present and/or in use.
The most crucial section: Cause
The most important page is page three, which discusses the cause of the car accident. The information on this page is critical to your insurance claim and determining liability. It has information regarding contributing factors like road conditions, distractions, traffic violations, and visibility. Most importantly, it describes the driver’s actions.
Page four is also vital to your claim because it has a diagram of what the police officer believes happened in the crash. It also has a section for remarks from the office, which is a written statement detailing the incident. It is also where you can find the list of contributing factors to the crash, which can be used to your benefit during your claim:
Many reports end here, but in complex cases, you will see additional pages. That is common when there are multiple parties or a commercial vehicle. Suppose you are in a collision with a bus full of passengers. The police report could be upwards of 100 pages because of the space it requires to outline information for each person on the bus. Do not fret; instead, work with our Tulsa car accident lawyers to accurately read through these pages.
Why do these reports matter?
Insurance companies will make their initial determination on your claim depending on what is on the report. You need the account to support you, not contradict you. Even if the report clearly states the other driver was negligent and caused your injuries, the insurance company will still look for ways to lower your claim.
Insurance companies will not conduct the same investigation as our Tulsa car accident lawyers. The insurer will look for evidence that undermines a victim’s recovery efforts. Conversely, Biby Law Firm will look for evidence that helps your claim. While law enforcement officers do a great job 99% of the time, it is not unheard of for mistakes to be contained in collision reports. Just the same, certain details may not make their way into the final draft. Knowing the appropriate steps to get those issues remedied, or uncovering evidence to bring the truth to light, can be the difference of an insurer denying or accepting liability at the onset of a claim.
How can I make a report?
Minor collisions can lead some drivers to handle claims among themselves without involving the police or insurance companies. That is a mistake, and it can make your attempt to make any type of recovery much more complicated than necessary. You should always involve the police after a crash, no matter how minor your property damage is, because you could sustain serious injuries as a result. Having a police report will help you file an insurance claim. If nothing else, it will have the correct name and insurance information of the parties involved. It will also require each side to give their story to an authority figure before they have time to concoct a new story that is favorable to them, perhaps after talking to family, friends or their insurance representatives.
Refrain from signing off on discrepancies
When you review the police report, you might find some inaccuracies like your address or full name. Sometimes you must sign off on a police report before they can file it or when you request it. When you sign off, you are saying everything in the report is accurate to the best of your knowledge. While you believe a minor misspelling of your name isn’t a big deal, it is detrimental to your claim. Inaccuracies can impact your ability to file a claim and get compensation. It can also make you look devious to the insurance company. They can argue that you intentionally tried to provide false information to avoid liability. Do not sign anything until you speak with a Tulsa car accident lawyer.
Contact Biby Law Firm
Car accident claims can take time to resolve, and the police officer may accidentally misreport the details of your crash. Biby Law Firm knows how to read these reports and use them to help you recover compensation for your injuries and losses. Visit our Tulsa, OK location and get started on your insurance claim immediately following a car accident. Call us or complete our contact form today to schedule your free consultation.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.