How to Fill Out a Washington State Collision Report
You’ve probably heard a story like this before.
A friend gets hit by another car but the other driver insists that the damage isn’t that bad.
“Don’t worry about it,” the other driver says, “Let’s not go through the trouble of getting insurance involved. I’ll just send you a check for the damage.”
Your friend likes the idea of not doing insurance paperwork and so he agrees. When the police officer on the scene asks if they need a collision report, your friend says “No.” After all, they’re “not going to get insurance involved.”
We all know how this story ends.
The next day your friend gets a call from his insurance. The other driver filed a claim and now your friend is being made to pay for a collision that wasn’t his fault.
Don’t be like your friend.
Always request a collision report from local law enforcement agencies.
What Is A Washington State Patrol Collision Report?
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A Washington State Patrol Collision Report is a document recording the details of your collision, what happened, who was involved, and what the road conditions were like.
Making sure that a collision report gets filed is crucial. If you should decide to seek damages from the person responsible for the accident, a collision report is needed to legitimize your case. Alternatively, if the other driver should attempt to sue or throw the blame of the collision onto you, then you need a collision report to bolster your defense. Insurance companies often look to collect as much information as possible and may request an official copy of any accident reports that describe how and when the collision occured.
The best way to ensure that your collision report gets filed is to immediately call the police when a collision takes place. When the police arrive, adamantly request that they write a collision report, even if they don’t want to (more on this below).
Make sure they hear your side of the story and are able to speak with any witnesses to the collision. Once they complete the collision report, get a copy to make sure it accurately represents the facts.
If for some reason you are unable to get the police officer to write a collision report, then you will need to file the report yourself. Continue reading for instructions on how to do this.
Who Is Responsible For Filing A WSP Collision Report?
Typically, the police officer who arrives at the scene of the accident will be the one to fill out and file the collision report. If the police officer says that they will file the report, then you are not obligated to file a report on your own.
There are exceptions to this though:
If the police officer estimates that there is less than $1,000 in damages, then they may decide not to file a report.
There may be a misunderstanding which causes the officer not to file a collision report.
If either of these happens, or if something else causes the police officer to not file the report, then it is your responsibility to submit the collision report yourself.
To file a citizen collision report, you will need to go to the Washington State Patrol’s Online Motor Vehicle Collision Reporting (also called OMVCR) website.
How To Ensure Your Collision Report Is Filed Correctly
When you go to the Washington State Patrol OMVCR site to file your collision report, you will need to know a lot of information in order to file your collision report correctly.
The key to ensuring that your collision report is filed correctly is to take lots of notes and photos immediately after your accident.
If you are unable to take photos yourself, try to get a witness to help you document the scene. You should have photos of the damage done to each vehicle, what the road conditions were like, and of all the required documents.
You also need information from the other driver and all witnesses that were present.
To help you know exactly what information you need to collect, here is a list of the questions you may be asked by the OMVCR site and the answer options they could list:
- What was the date of your collision?
- What time did your collision occur?
- Did a law enforcement officer investigate your collision? If so, which one:
- State Patrol
- City Police
- Other Police
- Did any of the following occur with your collision?
- Vehicle Fire
- Hit and Run
- Stolen Vehicle
- What is the street address of where your collision took place?
- What was the road surface like?
- Standing Water
- What were the lighting conditions like?
- Dark – Street Lights On
- Dark – Street Lights Off
- Dark – No Street Lights
- What was the weather like?
- Clear/Partly Cloudy
- Severe Crosswind
- What best describes your involvement in the collision?
- Motor Vehicle (note that you will choose “Motor Vehicle” even if your car was struck while parked or unoccupied).
- Property Owner
- What is your information?
- Full name
- Driver’s License Information
- Where you distracted at the time of the collision? What distracted you?
- Did you receive any injuries? Where they minor or serious?
- Did you have passengers with you? How many?
- What are the details on your vehicle?
- Vehicle information (year, make, model, VIN, estimated cost to repair)
- License plate information
- Registered owner information
- Liability insurance information
- What is the information for the other driver?
- All the same questions as the last section.
- What are the details on the other driver’s vehicle?
- Same questions as given for your vehicle.
- What happened?
- This is like an essay question on a test. Give them a description of how the collision occurred and related details.
- Were there witnesses to the collision?
- Here you will enter the name, address, and phone number of your witnesses.
After you answer all these questions, you will click “Continue” and submit your collision report to the Washington State Patrol.
To ensure that your collision report is filed correctly, make sure that you have answers for all of those questions before you leave the scene of the collision.
Work With An Expert Traffic Collision Attorney
Filing a collision report is just the first step in securing your rights after a traffic accident. To ensure that you receive the compensation or defense that you deserve, you need to find a skilled traffic collision attorney to present your case in court.
For the best legal representation in the greater Seattle area, contact The Jones Firm today. Our head attorney, Dax Jones, is an award-winning lawyer who will ensure that you receive the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.