After being involved in a car accident, your first instinct may be to call the police for help. At the same time, another driver involved in the car crash may suggest that you work it out among yourselves and avoid getting the police involved.
In Oklahoma City and throughout the Sooner State, you are required by law to report certain car accidents to police. Our Oklahoma car accident lawyers suggest that you report any motor vehicle accident to police so that there is a police report on file of the accident if you need to pursue an insurance claim. In a serious accident that results in injury, death or even extensive property damage, you will want to seek compensation through auto insurance, whether it is yours or another driver’s coverage.
How Can I Make A Car Accident Report After It Occurs?
Oklahoma law is clear about when you are required to report a car accident to local law enforcement authorities. OK Stat § 47-10-107 says:
The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of such accident to the local police department … or to the office of the county sheriff or the nearest office of the State Highway Patrol.
You can dial 911 on mobile phones for emergency response throughout Central Oklahoma, including in Oklahoma City and the surrounding metro area.
Another statute, OK Stat § 47-10-104, says drivers involved in accidents that cause injury, death or vehicle damage should exchange, upon request:
- Vehicle registration number
- Driver license
- Security verification form.
If the other driver fails to ask for this information, police will request it, so it is good to at least know where it is in your car.
After police respond to a car accident, they will assess the situation, take your pertinent information and prepare a report, which they will file locally and with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.
If you are too badly injured in a car accident to comply with your duty to report it, your responsibility is waived, but anyone who was in the car with you should report the accident as required (OK Stat § 47-10-111).
If you are injured in a car accident, obtaining medical care is your first priority.
How Long Do I Have To File a Police Report For a Car Accident in Oklahoma?
If a car accident results in minor damage to vehicles but no physical injuries, those involved are required to exchange information as outlined above but are not required to call the police (OK Stat § 47-10-103). However, if damage to any vehicle or other property amounts to $300 or more, the driver must report it in writing to the OK Department of Public Safety (OK Stat § 47-10-108).
You have six months from the date of the accident to report the accident and whether a monetary settlement for property damage losses has been made and the amount of any settlement.
The Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Collision Report form details the information that drivers are to exchange after an accident, including insurance information. You are also to attach “An itemized estimate of repair or total loss statement for damages caused by the collision, dated and signed by an authorized representative of a garage or body shop” and/or a similar statement about other property damage. If an insurance claim has been denied, that statement should be included.
In a minor fender-bender involving no injuries, it may be appropriate to work things out with the other driver and not involve police. However, if the other driver refuses to cooperate and exchange proper information, you should call police. Unless no one is available, authorities will respond to non-injury accidents and file reports.
Why Police Reports Matter
We suggest reporting any car accident to police because having a report on file documents the facts of the crash. If the other driver or an insurance agency disputes anything about the crash, you will have a record that includes the police description of the accident. You certainly will want your statement on file if the other driver tries to put the blame on you in a report they file.
Many insurance companies require a police report to process a claim. A police report is generally not admitted as evidence in court, but it is still a starting point when negotiating an insurance settlement. A law enforcement officer is more likely than someone who has just been shaken up by a car accident to record information accurately and dispassionately.
To obtain a collision report on file with the OK DPS, you must complete a Records Request & Consent to Release form (which is also used for other records) and pay $7, or $10 for a certified copy. In Oklahoma City, complete the OCPD Records Request and obtain the record at police headquarters in OKC or pay a nominal fee to have it mailed to you.
Get OKC Police Records and Reports Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., at:
700 Colcord Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73012
An Oklahoma City Injury Attorney Can Help
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, it will be more challenging to obtain an insurance settlement that covers all your medical expenses and other losses. You will need an experienced attorney advocating for you. Our attorneys at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons fight every day to protect Oklahoma accident victims from insurance companies that would take advantage of them while they are struggling to recover from injuries. Most insurance claims are settled out of court, but some cases require filing a personal injury lawsuit before an insurance company will respond.
Our skilled Oklahoma car accident attorneys can assess your case for free and, if you are owed compensation, aggressively pursue payment for you. Contact us in Oklahoma City today to discuss the next steps in your car accident case.Get Started