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How to Read Your Ohio Police Accident Report

After a car crash in Ohio, the investigating police officer will fill out a report, known as the Ohio Traffic Crash Report (OH-1). If you need to make a claim for compensation for your injuries, the accident report becomes a key piece of evidence in your case. 

Insurance companies review the accident report when determining fault for the accident. If the investigating officer is eventually called to testify at trial or in a deposition (which may be years after the crash), they will most likely read from the report in their testimony. You need to know how to read and understand your report – and understand how it affects your legal rights and options.

Ohio Traffic Crash Report

Ohio Accident Report page 1

Crash Page (OH-1)

The top of the report documents the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as the investigating law enforcement agency. The check marks in the top left indicate whether there are any other documents associated with the report, such as photos or the OH-3 supplement for fatal crashes.

Click here to download a printable PDF of How to Read Your Ohio Police Accident Report.

The middle of the first page describes the road conditions at the time of the crash, including weather and lighting, as well as the manner of the collision itself. This information can affect liability; for instance, if one motorist was driving too fast for the conditions or maneuvered recklessly on a wet road.

The investigating officer writes a narrative and draws a diagram of the crash. Study this section carefully, as officers often use the narrative section to record details that don’t fit anywhere else in the report.

Take note of the officer’s arrival time at the scene, which is often many minutes or even hours after the crash itself occurred.

Ohio Accident Report page 2

Unit Page (OH-1U)

A “Unit” is a vehicle or non-motorist road user (such as a pedestrian) involved in the crash.

There will be one unit page for each vehicle or non-motorist involved.

Contact information for the owner of the vehicle is documented first. (Note that the driver of the vehicle is documented on the next page.) The officer also documents the vehicle’s year, make, model, and color, the license plate and VIN, and the insurance information.

On the top right, the officer documents known damage to the vehicle by location and severity.

Additional information is provided if the vehicle is commercial.

The next section specifies the type of unit, such as a car, truck, or non-motorist like a pedestrian. If the unit is a non-motorist, their location prior to the accident is noted on the left side.

The investigating officer documents the unit’s actions prior to the crash, contributing circumstances, and the sequence of events the unit was involved in. Pay particular attention to the “contributing circumstances” section as this can affect fault for the accident but remember that this is the investigating officer’s professional opinion, not the final word.

At the bottom of the page, the officer documents the posted speed limit and the vehicle’s speed at the time of the crash, which again can affect liability.

Ohio Accident Report page 3

Motorist/Non-Motorist/Occupant Page (OH-1M)

This page documents people involved in the accident. The unit number listed for each person corresponds to a traffic unit documented on a Unit Page.

The officer fills in each operator or non-motorist’s name, contact information, and injury information, as well as their driver’s license number.

This page documents each occupant’s seating position and whether safety devices were used, which can affect liability for injuries.

If drug or alcohol use was suspected, or a test was performed, that is documented here. Any traffic violations charged are also documented.

At the bottom of the page, up to two vehicle occupants (passengers) are listed, with contact and injury information. If more than two passengers were involved, an Occupant/Witness Addendum page with the same information will be attached.

Car Accidents Assistance Accident Report

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