Stephen Schultz | September 26, 2023 | Car Accidents
The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) has jurisdiction over car accidents that happen on state and interstate highways. The agency shares jurisdiction with city police departments and county sheriff’s offices. The MSHP will defer to city police departments unless they are asked to investigate.
Consequently, you may not have an MSHP report for your crash. Instead, the city police department or county sheriff’s office may have prepared your accident report. To get a copy of that report, you will need to contact the law enforcement agency that responded to and investigated your crash.
What Is an MSHP Crash Report?
You must report any crash occurring within city limits that involved death, injury, or at least $500 in damage. The city police department will respond or ask the MSHP to take its place. The law does not specifically require you to report accidents that happen outside city limits. But when you do, either the MSHP or county sheriff’s department will respond.
The responding officers will first render assistance and secure the accident scene.
This may involve the following:
- Calling paramedics or ambulances for injured crash victims
- Moving vehicles and people out of harm’s way
- Directing traffic to preserve the accident scene
After addressing any immediate dangers, the officers will investigate the crash. Their investigation has two purposes.
First, the police must determine whether the drivers broke any laws. In some situations, crashes happen when one driver violates a traffic law, causing them to collide with another vehicle. For example, if a driver runs a red light at a busy intersection, they could cause a pedestrian accident.
Second, the police need to memorialize what happened. If any crash victims were injured or killed, the crash investigation can provide valuable insight into what happened and who was at fault.
During the investigation, the police will interview witnesses and gather evidence, such as photos of the scene and measurements of skid marks.
The crash report summarizes the investigation and describes the following:
- The parties, vehicles, and insurers involved
- The citations issued
- How the crash happened
The officers will then sign the report. If troopers from the MSHP investigate the crash, they will upload the MSHP report to the department’s database.
Who Can Get an MSHP Report?
MSHP has two versions of every car accident report. The department makes an unofficial version available to the public. You can access this version on the MSHP’s website. The unofficial document redacts certain personal information, such as addresses and insurance policy numbers. But the names and ages of the involved parties will appear in the public reports.
The official MSHP reports are complete and unredacted. To get an official report, you must appear in person at an MSHP troop post. A trooper will check your ID and verify that you qualify to receive it.
Under Missouri and U.S. laws, the MSHP will only release official, unredacted MSHP reports to:
- Parties involved in the crash
- Owners of property damaged in the crash
- Parents of minors involved in the crash
- Insurers and attorneys for those involved in the crash
The MSHP charges a fee for all official reports. You can print unofficial reports for free.
How Are MSHP Reports Used?
MSHP reports are not admissible evidence because they contain inadmissible hearsay. That said, an MSHP report can lead your Missouri personal injury lawyer to admissible evidence that has the potential to help you prove your case.
The MSHP report often includes photos and diagrams of the crash scene. It also gives names and addresses of eyewitnesses. The most important information from the MSHP report might be the trooper’s narrative description of the crash and the list of citations. This information will help your lawyer question the at-fault driver and anyone in their vehicle.
Thus, even though it cannot be used in court, an MSHP report can provide valuable information to support your injury claim.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in St. Louis, MO
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:
Ladue, MO Law Office
9807 S 40 Dr, St. Louis, MO 63124
Creve Coeur, MO Law Office
999 Executive Pkwy Dr #205, Creve Coeur, MO 63141