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Ruling changes accident reports in Wisconsin

The information that is contained in an accident report can have a significant impact on your claims for compensation after an accident. That information is also important if you are having to deal with insurance companies after the accident. A recent Court of Appeals ruling notes that more information must be included in accident reports.

Currently, driver's license information is withheld from accident reports in the state. The Court of Appeals ruled that the federal law that protects that information doesn't mean that driver's license information can't be included on accident reports. It is assumed that the 30-page ruling will lead to more litigation because there is some confusion on exactly what the ruling means.

The issue stemmed from a 1994 act, the Drivers Privacy Protection Act, that restricted the use of personal information after an actress' stalker was able to obtain her home address. That actress was killed by the stalker. As a result of that act and legal action take in another state, Wisconsin law enforcement agencies began to redact, or black out, personal information, including names, addresses and ages, that were contained on accident reports.

While the redacted information might not seem like such a big deal, there are instances in which it could be crucial. Think about what a difference it could make if a person had given someone a false address when information was exchanged. The information on the police report might help the victim of the accident to be able to get the person served with the paperwork regarding a claim for compensation that was filed in the civil court.

Source: Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Court rules for disclosure of Wisconsin accident reports," Bruce Vielmetti, May 10, 2016

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