Any car accident can be stressful. A rear-end collision can be especially confusing because it may involve multiple drivers who likely feel it wasn’t their fault.
Keeping your calm and following the appropriate steps in the aftermath of a crash, including getting a police report, can be crucial to obtaining fair compensation.
Certainly, your first concern should be getting to a safe location and checking for injuries. If possible, everyone should move their car out of the road. Otherwise you risk more and even worse injuries.
When are you required to notify police?
Even if no one appears to be seriously injured, it’s wise to call 911 to get police to the scene – even if other parties in the crash have left. Under Ohio state law, you are required to file a police report under the following circumstances:
- The accident has caused property damage of over $1,000.
- Someone has been injured enough to require medical care.
- Someone has been killed.
The first two of these can’t always be known for certain. There’s no way to look at a car and determine how much it will cost to fix. More importantly, injuries often don’t become apparent until hours or even days.
Therefore, it’s always best to err on the side of getting police involved and getting a report based on what they observed and learned at the scene. Note that some localities in Ohio have more stringent requirements for when a police report must be filed. Regardless of the requirements, a police report from the scene can help prevent other parties from putting forward a false narrative.
File a report even if police don’t come to the scene
If police can’t or won’t come to the scene, perhaps because there’s a serious situation that requires all available officers nearby, you can and should still file a report either online or at a local police station as soon as possible.
Even with a police report indicating that you were not responsible (or at least primarily responsible) for the crash, having experienced legal guidance can help ensure that you get the compensation to which you’re entitled.