How to Read an Accident Report
Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2022
If you have recently been in an accident in the state of Missouri, chances are that a police officer arrived to create a Missouri Uniform Crash Report. This is often called an “accident report” colloquially. Missouri law states that law enforcement must be notified of any automobile accident that results in at least $500 of property damage or that is the cause of a person’s injury or death. Because many people are unsure of the extent of the damage without first obtaining a quote, those involved in accidents tend to notify law enforcement as a matter of course. It is at this point that the responding officer creates the accident report.
Why Is an Accident Report Important in a Claim?
If you are considering filing a claim against another party for the property damage or injuries you received in the crash, the accident report will be one of the most important pieces of evidence in your claim. It will provide details about the crash that can be used to determine who was at fault for the accident.
It is important to know that the state of Missouri follows a comparative negligence system when it comes to car accidents. This means that you can file a claim for compensation, but anything you receive will be reduced by the percentage of responsibility that you yourself bear for the crash.
For this reason, it is vital that you obtain a copy of the accident report as soon as you can and that you are able to read and understand everything contained within it. If there are any errors in the report that might make it seem as though you bore more responsibility for the incident than you actually did, you need to correct them right away so that you can have a chance at receiving the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Each accident report is six pages in length, arranged in the following manner:
The first page of your accident report contains five sections:
- Section 1 of the report has general information about your accident. This includes the name of the law enforcement agency that originated the report, as well as the Originating Agency Identifier (ORI) number. In this section, you will see the number of people who were hurt or killed in the collision, the date and time of the accident, the type of crash, and other details.
- Section 2 has information about the location of your accident, as well as road, weather, and lighting conditions.
- Section 3 will include non-automobile property damage, such as destroyed fences or utility poles.
- Section 4 contains information about any witnesses who were present, as well as their contact information.
- Section 5 has details about any pedestrians involved in the crash. It will include their injury status, contact information, and any information about what they may have contributed to the accident.
The second page of the report is where you will find Section 6. This is where the responding officer will have created a diagram of the crash, including the vehicles’ directions of travel as the incident occurred.
Pages Three and Four
These pages of the report contain Section 7, which must be completed for every driver, vehicle, vehicle owner, and passenger involved in the accident. This section may require additional pages to be added if there were multiple people or vehicles involved. It is broken up into the following sub-sections:
- 7A – Driver’s name and contact information, license information, seat location, injury status, and insurance details
- 7B – Vehicle information such as make and model, information about the name of the vehicle’s owner (SAD = Same as Driver), number of occupants, details about vehicle damage
- 7C – Vehicle’s sequence of actions right before the crash happened
- 7D – Driver errors, vehicle defects, and other contributing factors to the collision
- 7E – Information about whether the accident took place in a work zone
- 7F – Name, contact information, and injury status of any passengers of the vehicle
- 7G – Information about whether the accident involved a commercial truck
This page is divided into three sections:
- Section 8 – A guide for number codes used in the previous sections of the report
- Section 9 – Officer’s objective description of the crash, as well as statements from drivers or witnesses
- Section 10 – Information about the investigating officer
The officer may use the final page of the report as a continuation of section 9 if they do not have enough space on page five.
Call a Missouri Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been injured in an accident in Missouri and you are having trouble reading your accident report, or if you discover inconsistencies in the report, contact the experienced St. Louis car accident lawyers of OnderLaw, LLC today. Our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys will help you understand the report and will help you through the process of correcting it if necessary.
You deserve full and fair compensation for your injuries, and we want to help you achieve that. Call us today at (314) 963-9000 for a free consultation, and we will talk you through your legal options.