car accident lawyers

Police reports serve as an important piece of documentation for car accidents, especially for accidents that result in significant damages and lead to personal injury lawsuits. The reason is that a police report is viewed as the official, unbiased account of an accident—who was involved, how it occurred, and what the damages were, along with other details.

Obtaining a police report after an accident may be critical for proving the negligence of another driver and recovering the compensation you deserve. This is why you should always obtain a copy of the police report after an accident. It may help you—and your attorney, if you are working with a car accident attorney—establish the facts and prepare a strong case against the driver responsible for the crash.

At Colombo Law, we recognize the importance of the police report and collecting other types of evidence in support of your claim. Call 304-599-4229 if you or someone you love suffered harm in a collision and you need help obtaining a police report after an accident.

How to Report a Car Collision

Before you can obtain a copy of the police report, you first need to make sure that a police report is created. This is most easily accomplished by calling the police immediately following the accident. 

Not all accidents are serious enough for the police to prepare a report. However, if someone is injured, a fatality occurred, or the crash resulted in substantial property damage, law enforcement is required to investigate.

Can I File an Accident Report Online?

Currently, there is no way to file an accident report online in West Virginia. You must call the police in the jurisdiction where the crash happened to investigate and create a report.

Do You Have to File a Police Report for a Fender Bender?

No, you do not need to call the police or file a report if an accident causes less than $1,000 in damages and does not result in injuries or death. If you do call the police after such an accident, they are not required to complete an accident report.

However, damages from a car accident can be difficult to estimate, and injuries are not always immediately detectable. It is best to err on the side of caution and call the police so the accident can be properly documented.

How Can You Get a Copy of a Police Report?

How to obtain a police report in West Virginia is governed by the jurisdiction where the accident took place. Usually, the easiest way to get a copy is to call the local sheriff’s office and request a copy of the report.

That said, if the accident was investigated by West Virginia State Police, you can either call 304-746-2128 or complete the Crash Report Request Form and follow the instructions for mailing it in.

Where Do I Get a Copy of the Police Report?

Where you get a copy also depends on where the accident occurred and what agency has jurisdiction. You may be able to request a copy of the report over the phone and have it mailed to your home, or you may be asked to visit the police station in person to obtain a copy of the report. You may also be able to request the report online.

Do the Police Give You a Copy of the Police Report?

In West Virginia, law enforcement officers are required to complete a crash report within 24 after completing their investigation and “shall provide the owner, operator, and insurance information upon request for all the involved parties to each of the other involved parties, and to each party’s respective insurance agents.” That said, it can often take several days or weeks for the report to be completed.

So yes, the police will give you a copy of the police report. However, you will have to submit a request yourself and pay a fee to obtain a copy.

Do You Have to Pay for a Police Report?

Unfortunately, yes, you will likely have to pay for a copy of the report. That said, the fees are generally to cover printing costs and are not significant.

For example, if you request a Crash Report from the West Virginia State Police, it will cost $20 plus an additional $1 for each page over 50 pages. If you request a set of photographs, up to 12 will cost an additional $25.

Again, the quickest way to get the details for your jurisdiction is to get in touch with your local police department. In Morgantown, you can call the office’s non-emergency line at 304-284-7522, EXT. 0.

Learn How Our Lawyers Can Help

Obtaining a police report after an accident is one of the first steps you should take if you pursue legal action for personal injury or wrongful death. While the process of getting a copy of the report is relatively straightforward, we realize that it is easy to feel overwhelmed by any aspect of preparing a car accident claim.

Colombo Law is here to help. Our car accident lawyers will investigate fully and collect any and all evidence to support your claim against the negligent driver. This may include photos of the accident scene, eyewitness testimony, a copy of the police report, and more.

For a FREE case review, contact Colombo Law today. Our attorneys serve car accident victims in Morgantown and all of West Virginia.

by Colombo Law
Last updated on - Originally published on