How Do I Get an Accident Report in Wyoming?
The immediate aftermath of a serious car accident can be an overwhelming experience. Because it is an event most drivers rarely experience, many are unsure what steps to take, and whether it is necessary to contact the police.
You should report a car accident to the police as soon as possible. Not only is this required by law in some situations, but it can also help when filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
Police reports are often crucial elements of strong car accident claims. An experienced car accident attorney can help you with this process, in addition to pursuing compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses.
Reporting a Car Accident in Wyoming
In Wyoming, drivers must notify law enforcement immediately after a crash if the accident involves injury, death, or property damage of at least $1,000 (see §31-5-1105 to 31-5-1112). If the driver is physically incapable of immediately contacting the police and there was another occupant of the vehicle, the occupant must contact law enforcement instead.
Since 2013, there is no longer a mandate for the completion of an Owner/Operator Crash Form (PR-901). Nevertheless, drivers must still report traffic accidents to the nearest law enforcement agency. Therefore, if you have been involved in a crash, reach out to your local law enforcement agency immediately.
If a collision occurs within a municipality, the local police department must be notified. Otherwise, drivers should contact the nearest state highway patrol or county sheriff’s office.
Upon arriving at a crash site, a police officer will communicate with all parties involved to determine if medical attention is required and whether any charges need to be filed, such as for reckless driving or driving under the influence. These details, along with the drivers’ insurance and contact information, are recorded in the report for potential future reference by the police. The officer may also provide an account of the accident’s cause or who was at fault. Typically, these reports are written soon after the incident and offer an impartial perspective on the event. If you have an attorney review the report, they may be able to identify important information to support your case when it’s time to deal with the other driver’s insurance company. Additionally, insurance companies are sometimes likely to accept a police officer’s evaluation of the situation without dispute.
Accident reports are then forwarded to the highway department within 10 days of the investigation. Once this has occurred, the Department of Transportation will verify that you and the other drivers involved were carrying the required amount of car insurance.
What If I Don’t Know If the Accident Has to Be Reported?
What if you feel fine and the damage to your car is minimal, but the other driver may be injured or their vehicle may have sustained $1,000, or more, in damage?
This is an issue that Wyoming residents may face after being involved in a collision. While it is sometimes obvious that a crash should be reported based on the thresholds listed above, it is not always the case.
If you are unsure whether you need to contact the police, your best option may be to do so just in case. There is no penalty for contacting authorities if you believe injuries or high damages may be involved; however, failing to contact authorities for an accident that involves injury or death can be punishable by a fine of $5,000, a year in jail, or both.
How to Obtain a Copy of a Crash Report
If you need to obtain a report of your crash, contact Highway Safety with the following information:
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- Date of the crash
- Name of the person involved
- Case number (if you have it)
Requests for crash reports can be made in one of three ways:
- By phone: Call Highway Safety at (307) 777-4450.
- In-person: Visit your nearest Wyoming Highway Patrol office (you can find a list of local offices here).
- By mail: Request a copy by mail (specify if you want to receive your report via email, fax, or paper copy):
Wyoming Department of Transportation
Attention: Accident Records
5300 Bishop Blvd.
Cheyenne, WY 82009
There is a $3.00 fee for crash reports, as well as a $2.50 service fee if you pay by credit card. Alternatively, checks or money orders (payable to WYDOT) can be mailed or dropped off in person when a request is made.
Why Are Car Accident Reports Important?
Although police reports are generally not admissible as evidence in court, they do provide important factual information about the accident. Without such a report, insurance companies may attempt to discredit your claim or even deny that the accident occurred. On the other hand, with an official record of the accident prepared by law enforcement, you are better equipped to counter such arguments.
While a police report may establish some basic facts, additional evidence is usually necessary to prove your eligibility for compensation for the injuries you sustained. For instance, eyewitness testimony, video footage, photographs, and other evidence can support your claim for damages.
Retaining the services of a car accident lawyer is crucial for securing the compensation you deserve after a crash. Your lawyer can obtain relevant documentation, including the police report, conduct an independent investigation, and enlist experts to evaluate all available evidence. Additionally, your lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and, if necessary, litigate your case in court.
Burg Simpson Law Firm has been helping car accident victims for more than 40 years. Our firm has obtained more than $2 billion in combined verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
If you were injured in a crash, our experienced Cody car accident lawyers can help. We are committed to helping our clients recover the full and fair compensation to which they are entitled under Wyoming law.
Contact our office today online or at 307-527-7891 for a FREE and confidential case evaluation. Our office in Cody, Wyoming welcomes clients from across the state.