Police reports are essentially an official state record of incidents that might lead to court action later. People file police reports when someone breaks into their homes or steals their cars so that there is an official record of the crime. They also frequently need to file Oklahoma police reports after experiencing a motor vehicle collision.
Your police report will play an important role in any insurance claim you need to file or in a civil lawsuit that you bring against the driver or a third party with direct responsibility for the crash. Frequently, those involved in collisions will try to talk the other person out of contacting the police so that there isn’t a formal police report. They may worry about legal consequences, like the loss of their license, or hope to simply avoid financial responsibility
When someone else pressures you to not involve the police, you could make a mistake that not only deprives you of compensation but also breaks the law. When is a car crash report necessary under Oklahoma and who can access that crash report?
Reports are necessary for major property damage and injuries
Oklahoma law gives some degree of discretion to those involved in a collision. If neither party suffers a significant injury and the property damage seems minimal, the people involved might agree to just leave the scene of the accident and not take any official steps to report the crash or file an insurance claim.
However, state law specifically requires that you file a report when someone suffers an injury or someone dies. Additionally, if the total cost of property damage from the crash exceeds $500, state law also requires the report even when no one gets hurt.
Who has access to crash reports?
The information that you file with the state police can end up accessed by many other people. In all but the most unusual circumstances, your crash report will be accessible to you, the other driver, any insurance adjusters who need information about the wreck, lawyers representing the involved parties and also any law enforcement professionals researching the crash. Journalists, private investigators and even healthcare providers can also access crash reports.
Understanding the reporting rules that apply after a motor vehicle collision in Oklahoma will help you avoid mistakes and oversights that could lead to criminal allegations or complicate your insurance claims.