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The Basics of Filing and Obtaining an Auto Accident Report

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on September 5, 2020

A police report detailing the events of an auto accident can be crucial to determining whether or not you receive proper compensation from an insurance policy. However, there are situations where drivers are unable to submit a statement to the police, such as if you were the victim in a hit and run accident and had to rush to the hospital. In addition, most Washington state residents are not aware of how to obtain an accident report to support their claim. That is why the team at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., has broken down the entire process so you can move through the claims process as smoothly as possible.

Submitting an Accident Report

Following an auto accident that involves an injury, you are legally required to submit an accident report with local law enforcement. Anyone who leaves the scene of an accident without reporting it first can be charged with a hit and run, which can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges if anyone was seriously injured. However, the law does take into account that accident victims may need to rush to a hospital to receive treatment, which is why are allowed to submit an accident report four days after a collision. Your best option should be to contact the police and inform them of where the collision occurred so they can review the scene, clean up debris, and ensure no one else was injured.

If a police officer did not already do so, you may submit a report online with Online Motor Vehicle Collision Reporting (OMVCR), a service offered through the Washington State Patrol, or mail a copy of the report to Washington State Patrol Records Section P.O. Box 42628 Olympia, WA 98504-2628. When you file online, however, you will receive a specific case number that allows you to access the report at a later date and submit it to your insurance company.

The report should include your contact information, the date and time of the collision, where it occurred, any injuries sustained, and any damage to your vehicle. If you do not know where the accident occurred, you should include the specific city. In addition, even if you were involved in a hit and run accident, you should include all the information you can think of and put “UNK” when it asks who else was involved in the accident.

Accessing a Report

Luckily for car accident victims, the Washington State Patrol also allows you to look up a report on Washington Requests for Electronic Collision Reports (WRECR) and download it for a small fee of $10.50. Make sure to keep a copy of the receipt received through WRECR, as you can include it in your damages when filing a claim.

All you need to access the report is a copy of the case number or your first and last name and the date the accident occurred. It is not uncommon to have partial memory loss after a collision, so you can choose a date range to look up the general time period to access the report if you cannot remember the exact date. Also, do not worry if multiple reports show up under your name, as the reports will also be categorized by the nearest street, county, and the role of each party involved, which can include driver and pedestrians.

Once you have a copy of the report, you will want to contact a Seattle car accident attorney to review it. The report may clearly outline fault and allow you to pursue compensation from the other driver in an auto accident claim. Doing this on your own can be difficult, as auto insurance companies are often very resistant to paying out proper compensation, even if you have a detailed accident report.

Instead, let the legal team at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. We offer free consultations to review your case and can analyze the report to determine whether or not you can pursue compensation. In addition, if we take you on as a client, we will deal with all communications with the at-fault insurance company, so you do not have to stress over settlement negotiations. To learn how we can help you, call us at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860.

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