Car accident reports are public records under Tennessee law. Anyone can view or purchase a copy of a traffic accident crash. Additionally, Tennessee Code §10-7-507 considers records of traffic convictions and other violations public records and anyone can obtain a copy of these reports for a fee.
Car accident reports are a crucial part of a Tennessee injury motor vehicle accidents claim. Insurance companies use this document in investigations of their policyholders’ vehicle accidents.
Why Members of the General Public Want to See Accident Reports
In some instances, media outlets obtain reports for news coverage about a particular car accident or as part of an investigative project. Some businesses want the reports for marketing purposes. Individuals involved in car accidents say that they receive unsolicited calls from questionable telemarketers who promote services from chiropractors, lawyers, collision shops, and others. The marketers get their contact information from the accident reports.
Car Accident Reports: Public Records But With Redacted Information
The government redacts the following when reports become public record:
- Driver’s license numbers
- Social Security numbers of drivers and passengers
- Personal information on juveniles
However, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and individuals directly involved in the crash — and their lawyers – can obtain an unredacted copy of the report.
Information in a Car Accident Report Contain
A car accident report contains such details as:
- The name of the state, county or local law enforcement officer who responded to the accident
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of drivers and passengers
- The drivers’ auto insurance information
- The make, model, year and other details of the vehicles involved in the crash
- Description of vehicle damage
- Weather and road conditions at the time of the crash
- A narrative of how the crash occurred
- A diagram of the accident
How to Obtain a Car Report for Filing an Insurance Claim
Traffic accident reports are made available within seven days of the date of the crash. You can purchase a copy of the crash report in person or by mail for $4.00 by going to the law enforcement agency’s office listed on the card given by the police officer who responded to your crash.
You may also purchase a copy of your report:
- For $4.00 through the mail or in person at a Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) District Office, if the THP investigated your crash.
- Online for $10.00 through private vendor sites, such as BuyCrash or LexisNexis Police Reports.
- For $4.00 from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security 60 days after the date of your accident.
Information Needed to Request a Car Accident Report
According to the state Department of Safety, you will need:
- Names of the drivers involved in the crash
- County in which the collision occurred
- Date of the crash
Other Types of Car Accident Reports That Are Public Record
In addition to a police report, drivers in car accidents involving death or injury or where property damage exceeds $400 have to file a report with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Tennessee requires drivers and vehicle owners to submit this report regardless of who was at fault for the vehicle crash.
To obtain a copy of the report, you must be:
- A driver involved in the crash
- The owner of the car involved in the accident
- The auto insurers of any party involved in the crash
- A lawyer for the driver or vehicle owner
How A Car Accident Report Can Help Me if I File An Insurance Claim
The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril PLLC could help you file an insurance claim on your behalf if you suffered severe injuries or damages in a car accident. We will use the report to investigate your crash and pursue compensation from the at-fault party for the full value of your costs.
Our firm can help you obtain a copy of your car accident report as you pursue compensation for your bodily injuries or damages to your car. Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril PLLC, today at 865-546-1111 to turn your wreck into a check.