What to Know About Car Accident Reports in Missouri
Ryan Bradley | June 8, 2021 | Car Accident
Missouri law requires you to stop when you are involved in a traffic accident; you must remain at the accident scene to render aid and exchange information.
Traffic accidents that result in personal injuries, fatalities, or property damage of $500 or more must be reported to the police. This reporting requirement applies to all types of traffic accidents, including crashes involving trucks, bicycles, cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians. If you have to report your accident, you and the other drivers should remain at the accident scene until police officers arrive to investigate the crash.
The quickest way to report a traffic accident is to all 911. The emergency operator dispatches the correct law enforcement agency to the crash site. The local police department usually investigates accidents that occur within city or county limits. The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigates all other accidents.
Accidents involving an uninsured motorist and injuries, deaths, or property damage of $500 or more must also be reported to the Missouri Driver License Bureau.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Car Accident Report in Missouri?
If you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your accident claim, your attorney will obtain a copy of the accident report for you.
For traffic accidents investigated by the State Highway Patrol, you can request a copy of the vehicle crash report ten days after the accident. Mail the completed Traffic Crash Report Form and a check or money order for the fee to the Patrol Records Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The address is:
Missouri State Highway Patrol
Patrol Records Division
Post Office Boxes 568
Jefferson City, MO 65102
If you have questions, you can call the Patrol Records Division at (573) 522-2590.
For car accidents investigated by local law enforcement agencies, you should contact the police department or check their website for instructions for requesting copies of accident reports.
Some police departments might have accident reports available for purchase online. Other departments might require you to mail your request for a copy or drop the request off in person at the police station.
For example, you can obtain copies of car accident reports from the Kansas City Missouri Police Department online for $9 per report. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has a slightly different process for obtaining copies of accident reports.
Why Do I Need a Copy of My Car Accident Report?
If you are filing an insurance or personal injury claim, the information on the car accident report can be helpful.
Most car accident reports include information such as:
- The identity and contact information for the drivers
- Information about passengers and other parties involved in the crash
- Eyewitness information and statements
- Whether either driver was charged with a traffic violation
- The police officer’s opinion as to fault
- A diagram of the accident scene drawn by the police officer
- The weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
Some information on a car accident report might not be admissible in a court case. However, if the police officer cited one of the drivers and stated that the driver was at fault, the insurance company might accept liability and pay the claim.
Even if the insurance company disputes the information on the crash report, the information contained in the report can help your lawyer during their accident investigation.
When Should I Accept a Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company?
It is not a good idea to accept a settlement offer unless you have completed your medical treatment. If you accept the settlement offer before then, you are responsible for any future medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Once you sign the settlement agreement, you give up your right to file a lawsuit or demand more money.
You should only accept a settlement offer if you have completed treatment and you are sure of the value of your personal injury claim. The insurance provider will not tell you if the settlement offer is fair or includes all your damages. If you do not know what damages you are entitled to receive, you might want to talk with a car accident lawyer before accepting a settlement offer.
An attorney will review your case and give you an honest assessment. The insurance company is looking out for its best interest. Make sure you have an experienced personal injury lawyer looking out for yours.