How to Get an Accident Report in Missouri

How to Get an Accident Report in Missouri

After a Missouri car accident, it is important to obtain a car accident report, as it provides valuable documentation and evidence that can be instrumental in resolving insurance claims and legal disputes. You can obtain a car accident report by contacting the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident. Depending on where the accident occurred, the agency may be the local police department, the county sheriff’s office, or the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Once you know which agency filed an accident report, you can request a copy in person, by mail, or online — if allowed on the agency website.

Accident reports provide a record of the accident as well as information that may be used as evidence when you are trying get compensation for the damages you received. The accident report can play a significant role in how your case turns out, including:

  • How your insurance and the other driver’s insurance will handle the claim
  • The treatment of your injuries
  • The settlement you may receive.

If the accident caused enough damages to warrant hiring an attorney, your attorney can take care of obtaining the accident report for you.

What is an Accident Report?

A police accident report is a document created by law enforcement officers who have responded to a call after a vehicle accident. These reports vary, depending on which branch of the police responded to the call about the crash, but they all record information about the accident and are considered an official record of relevant events. The officer will write down information that includes:

  • the date, time, and location of the crash
  • the individuals involved and their vehicle and driver’s license information
  • contact information about any witnesses
  • property that was damaged
  • any evidence of improper driving
  • any citations that were given.

Why Accident Reports are Important

When trying to get compensation after a car accident, be aware that insurance companies are out for profit and will often attempt to deny claims, get you to settle for less than your case is worth, or try to put the blame for the accident on you. In Missouri, it is determined who was at fault and by how much, and if you contributed to the car accident, the amount you can recover will be reduced by your share of fault. If the other party disputes or denies liability for the accident, tries to blame you, or if there are conflicting reports about fault, the police report can help clarify what happened. In situations where it is unclear about which driver is at fault, an insurance company is much more likely to deny a claim when no police report exists.

The police accident report is important because it:

Provides Documentation. The accident report provides documentation of the incident and relevant details. This supposedly objective account of what happened, by a neutral responding police officer, can be important for insurance claims, legal proceedings, and personal records. This documentation is especially important if there are disputes during the personal injury claim process.

Provides Clarity. Since car crashes are traumatic events, the aftermath is confusing, and memories fade over time, the accident report provides helps to clarify the sequence of events by recording them right after the accident happened. The report may also note factors that may have contributed to the accident, such as road conditions, weather, and traffic lights that weren’t operating. Other conditions that may be noted include vehicle defects, cars improperly stopped on roadways, speed too fast for conditions, following too close, going the wrong way on a one-way street, failure to yield, presence of alcohol or drugs, physical impairment, and signs of distracted driving.

Establishes liability. The accident report details, such as witness statements, citations for laws that were violated, and diagrams showing the positions of vehicles, can help establish how the accident occurred and who was liable.

Corroborates injuries: injuries are often noted in police reports. If you sought immediate medical attention or mentioned your injuries to the responding officer, this can help establish a connection between the accident and your injuries.

Can support your case: Submitting a police report can strengthen your case, as insurance adjusters use police reports to help evaluate the accident, assess the extent of damages, and determine fault.

Steps to Obtain a Missouri Police Accident Report

It is your responsibility to get your own police report after an accident, and the responding law enforcement officer will often tell you how.  When requesting a report, you will need to provide necessary information about the accident, such as the date, time, and location. Then take the following steps:

  1. Contact the law enforcement agency (local police department, county sheriff’s office, or the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP)) that responded to the accident to see if the report is available.  It usually takes 3-5 business days for a report to generate.
  2. Visit the law enforcement agency website for request forms and information on how to request an accident report.  Complete and submit the form request through the designated method mentioned on their website. Some agencies, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol, allow you to visit their headquarters office during business hours and ask for a copy of your accident report. You may also go to the Missouri State Highway Patrol website to submit your online request for your Missouri accident report.
  3. Pay any required fees specified on the agency’s website or in their instructions.
  4. Examine the form for errors. At times, reports may contain factual errors, such as inaccuracies regarding the accident’s location, the type of vehicle involved, or who should have received the ticket.  Write down your account of the accident as soon as possible and include photos and videos to support your claim and counter an inaccurate police report. You or your attorney can contact the Highway Patrol troop headquarters of the officer investigating the crash to question any part of the report you disagree with.

Make sure to bring a form of personal identification, such as a valid driver’s license. After filling out the necessary paperwork, leave your contact information with the police department, and they will contact you when your report is ready to be picked up

Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer You Can Trust

After a serious car accident, you can trust the Birk Law Firm to help with all legal requirements, including getting your accident report.

Attorney Kelvin Birk is a Certified Public Accountant as well as a lawyer, and this combined expertise allows our law firm to provide an especially high level of service. We understand how much an automobile accident can affect your life and your family, and we will work tirelessly to establish liability and put together a strong case for you.

We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency basis so there are no fees to you unless and until we win your case. Call our Cape Girardeau car accident attorney today at 573-332-8585 to get started.

FREE CONSULT 573-332-8585

Attorney Kelvin Birk

Attorney Kelvin Birk

Kelvin Birk is a lawyer as well as a certified public accountant, with more than 30 years of experience in accounting and tax and business consulting, and more than 20 years of experience in numerous legal matters. This combined expertise allows our law firm to provide a level of service above that of other firms. Whatever your legal situation, your attorney at Birk Law Firm can counsel you as to the tax implications. We have experience in providing myriad legal representation services to residents of southeast Missouri and other areas.. [ Attorney Bio ]