Filing a Vehicle Accident Report
If you are in an accident in the state of Utah, whether you are in rush hour traffic, off to hike in Zion, or at a stop sign in the suburbs, a vehicle accident report is essential. But do you have to file one every single time?
Here are the answers to some common questions, and how and when you need to file a vehicle accident report.
What are the Legal Requirements of an Accident Report?
The law in Utah is pretty simple. You need to file a vehicle accident report in the event that anyone is injured, killed, or that you feel property damage is over $1,500 in value. WIth most of today’s vehicles, this means that even a fender bender needs to be reported.
You must stay at the scene of the accident until a police officer responds. They will fill out an accident report of their own, but they may request that the drivers involved fill one out as well. If they ask you to do so, you are legally required to file a report.
Essentially, if you are in an accident, you must stay at the scene, cooperate with other drivers and law enforcement, and may be required to file a vehicle incident report.
When Do You Have to File a Report?
In the case of any of the legal requirements above, you need to file a report as soon as possible. This means if you are able, you need to stay at the scene and fill out the report at that time.
Even in the case where you may hit a parked car in the parking lot, if you cannot locate the owner, you should still leave a note. It’s often a good idea to call law enforcement and file an accident report even if the damages are small and you intend to pay for them. This proves to the other driver that you were being a good citizen and prevents them from filing a hit and run report.
Who Has to File?
The first person who has to file a vehicle accident report is the responding police officer. It is their job to take statements from those involved, draw diagrams, take photos, and essentially document the accident.
They may also ask those involved in the accident to fill out reports as well. If you are not comfortable sharing your information with the others at the scene, you do have the choice of simply sharing it with the responding officer.
What if you Can not File an Accident Report?
If you are injured in the accident and can not file a report right away, you are allowed to postpone doing so until you can. Of course, you want to file the report as soon as possible before your memory of the incident fades, but it’s important to get the medical attention you need first.
In most cases police officers will meet you at the hospital or at your home once you have recovered, and will take your information for the report at that time.
How Do you Get a Copy of Your Accident Report?
In the state of Utah, the easiest way to get a copy of your accident report is to find it through the online portal. You can either purchase the report online using this portal https://secure.utah.gov/accidentreport/index.html or you can order a printed copy of the report and have it sent to you.
You will of course need your case number, the date of the accident, your name, and your driver’s license number. This all helps to keep your personal information confidential.
If you are in an accident in Utah, no matter where you are or what you are doing, you will probably need to file a vehicle accident report. Follow these steps to make sure you are in compliance with the law, and if you have any questions, be sure to contact an attorney as soon after the accident as possible, and before talking to the other driver’s insurance company.