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Filling Out an Accident Report Form
You may be called upon to fill out an accident report form after a vehicle collision, a workplace injury or a slip-and-fall accident at your home. Here are some tips to follow when filling out various types of accident report forms.
Write With Clarity and Precision
No one wants to know that your uncle worked for 27 years at the factory and has never witnessed such an injury as the one you saw happen to a coworker. Fleet managers, auto insurance agencies, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers’ compensation insurers and other interested parties want only the facts about any incident you witnessed or from which you suffer.
Use a black or blue pen when filling out a handwritten accident report, and write as legibly as you can. If you’re unable to write properly due to your injuries, dictate your answers to someone who can write clearly. You make the jobs of all parties involved in an accident easier when you state the facts, when everyone can read the facts clearly on your report and when subsequent copies of the report are legible.
Act With Haste
Whether you’re filling out an accident report for a vehicle crash or a mishap at work, the timing of your report is critical. All workplace, vehicle and other injuries and/or property damage must be reported immediately to a person in charge of property where any accident happens. Of course, any person in danger must be stabilized and made safe before you do anything else. After injured or at-risk persons are secure and attended to, filling out an accident report is the very first responsibility of witnesses, injury victims if able and anyone with knowledge of the events surrounding an accident.
If your accident occurs on a public road, the local law enforcement agencies may collect reports at the accident site. In some busy jurisdictions, you’re responsible for reporting vehicle accidents and injuries to the appropriate city, county or state agency as well as reporting your accident to your insurance agency. In the workplace, you should notify the supervisor in charge of the injured employee or property. In a restaurant or store, a manager should be called to the scene of any accidents or injuries. At a private residence, the homeowner should be notified, and you should follow up with a police/ambulance/hospital/insurance report as necessary.
Pay Attention to Details
Accident reports vary depending on the agency to whom you report. However, most accident reports expect you to fill out the essential details about the incident. Details you should be able to provide include:
- Date and time of incident
- Precise location of accident
- People involved including titles and contact information
- Equipment/vehicle/objects involved
- Weather or climate conditions
- Drivers’ contact and insurance information if applicable
- Treatment rendered to injured parties
- Diagrams and photos of accident if applicable
Incident and accident report forms may have sections requesting more information than the above items, including asking about events that may have led up to an accident or injury.
Talk to a Legal Professional
If you’re afraid you may be held liable for someone else’s injury or accident, or you’re afraid of liability for property loss, talk to an attorney before you complete and submit an accident report about the incident in question. A qualified attorney can help you fill out required forms while also protecting you from misplaced liability. An attorney can also help you submit appropriate reports for your own injury claims and should be consulted when you intend to pursue damages.
Consult Accident Experts
Your insurance carrier, workplace supervisor, and other agencies have more information online and by phone about filling out accident report forms. Reach out for help from experts when you’re unsure about answering accident-report questions.
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