Car Accident Reports in Pennsylvania

No one plans to be involved in a car accident. Therefore, most people are unprepared for what they must do after a car crash in Lancaster, PA. Fortunately, you can talk with a car accident lawyer who can help you with a personal injury claim.

The first step you need to take is to report the car accident. Below are frequently asked questions about car accident reports in Pennsylvania.

When Should You Report a Car Accident To the Police?

It is always wise to call the police to report a car accident immediately after the collision. Even if you do not believe you were seriously injured in the accident, having an official accident report can make it easier to file an insurance claim if you discover injuries a few days or weeks after the car crash.

Do I Have To Report a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law requires drivers to report motor vehicle accidents immediately when the crash involves:

  • Injury 
  • Death
  • Damage to the vehicle that results in the vehicle being inoperable 

The law requires vehicle occupants to give immediate notice of the car accident if the driver cannot physically report the car accident, provided the occupants are capable of reporting the accident. Generally, when a car crash involves catastrophic injuries that prevent the accident victims from calling 911, bystanders or witnesses may report the accident to the police. 

How Do I Report a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?

The statute requires you to report the car accident to a duly authorized police department by the “quickest means of communication” when the accident involves injury, death, or an inoperable vehicle. The quickest and easiest way to report a car accident in Pennsylvania is to call 911.

The emergency operator obtains your location and dispatches a police officer with jurisdiction over the accident scene. The law requires every accident reported to a police department as required by law to be investigated by a police officer. The officer must complete a written accident report.

If a police officer does not investigate the accident, drivers must file an accident report within five days of the collision. The Driver’s Accident Report is filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

What Happens if I Don’t Report a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?

At the very least, it could make it more difficult to obtain compensation for your injuries and damages when another driver caused the car accident. However, you could also face penalties for not reporting a car accident in accordance with state law. 

How Do I Obtain a Copy of a Car Accident Report?

You can request a copy of a car accident report from the Pennsylvania State Police through the Crash Report Request website. However, you must wait at least 15 days following the accident date to submit your request. You can also mail a form and fee requesting a copy of the accident report to the State Police Crash Reports Unit.

Having a Police Report Could Strengthen Your Personal Injury Claim

When the police officer investigates a car accident, the officer gathers information to assess what happened. Then, they document evidence from the crash scene that supports their conclusion. The accident report may include witness statements, documentation of damages, and other information that could be helpful in pursuing a personal injury claim.

A police report generally notes which driver contributed to the cause of a car accident. Under Pennsylvania personal injury laws, you must prove that the other party caused your injuries before recovering compensation for damages. Therefore, if the police officer documents factors that contributed to the cause of the crash, it could help your case.

Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer to Investigate the Crash

Police reports can contain incorrect information. The officer did not witness the accident. Therefore, they might make conclusions based on what they observe in addition to statements from those involved in the accident and eyewitnesses.

Therefore, you may need a car accident attorney to investigate the accident. An attorney searches for evidence that proves causation and fault. Evidence that can help establish liability for a car crash includes:

  • Physical evidence from the crash scene
  • Statements made by the drivers after the accidents
  • Damage to the vehicles
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Videos of the crash from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras
  • Opinions from accident reconstructionists and other experts 

Proving who caused the car wreck is crucial. You cannot hold the other driver liable for your economic and non-economic damages if you cannot prove fault for the car crash. An experienced personal injury lawyer has the resources and skills to complete a car accident investigation to gather evidence that proves the other driver was at fault for the cause of your car crash.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963