The days and weeks after a car accident can be confusing and painful. While you are most likely focusing your energy on medical treatment and dealing with the immediate impact of lost wages and costly hospital bills, it is also important to begin thinking about putting together the best possible accident lawsuit. To have a strong case, you will need to have evidence that supports your version of the events, and it can be extremely helpful to have third-party witnesses who can clarify facts surrounding the collision.
If you have been injured in a serious accident in Wisconsin, one of the first steps you can take toward building your case is to request a copy of your own accident report before speaking with a Green Bay personal injury lawyer. It is much easier to amend mistakes sooner rather than later, and you will need the accident report as evidence in your lawsuit.
Importance of Double-Checking the Facts on Your Accident Report
As we noted above, you should obtain a copy of the MV4000 as soon as possible, and you should review it for accuracy. An MV4000 is the accident report form in Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation provides a guide for law enforcement officials who create and amend them. You might be surprised, but these accident reports often contain small (and sometimes even major) errors, and it is important to get these mistakes corrected quickly. And you cannot know whether your report is accurate until you request a copy and take a close look at it yourself.
Getting accurate evidence in order as quickly as you can is extremely important to proving that the other driver was at fault for the crash. You should keep in mind that it is certainly possible to amend an MV4000 if there is a piece of information that is incorrect, and the sooner you do this, the faster your attorney can work on the other elements of your case. You should also take a quick look at this YouTube video developed by the advocates at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC, which emphasizes the need for speedy investigation work. If you wait too long to take photos connected to an accident or to look for witnesses, you can find out that importance evidence can be lost.
Requesting Your MV4000
Now that you know the importance of requesting your MV4000 in a timely manner, how do you actually obtain a copy? You will need to take the following steps:
1) You will need to determine which agency was responsible for completing your accident report. Depending upon where the accident happened, you may need to contact a city police department or the county sheriff’s department.
2) If your accident happened in Appleton and the Appleton Police Department completed the report, you will need to request a copy of the MV4000 online within 90 days of the accident. To complete this online request, you will need to visit https://app.wi.gov/crashreports, and you will need to have the following information handy: document number, accident number, or the date of the accident and your driver’s license number. If you do not know this information, you can contact the Wisconsin DOT at (608) 266-8753 to get your accident number.
3) If another agency (aside from the Appleton Police Department) completed the report, you will need to write a letter to the records department at that agency to make the request. What should your letter say? You should include all of the following information:
- Your name;
- Your contact information;
- Names of the people involved in the accident;
- Date of the accident;
- Location of the accident; and
- Document number (if you know it).
Certain other agencies also have online systems to request a copy of the accident report. If you are not sure what to do, you can call the agency that completed the report and inquire about how to obtain a copy of the MV4000.
Contact an Appleton Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love sustained injuries in an accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer in Appleton, WI can help. Contact Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today for more information about our services.