PSP Reports: What You Need to Know  

After any car accident in Pennsylvania, it’s important to notify the police, preferably immediately at the scene, by calling 911. 

The responding officer will compile an official car accident report, which details the circumstances of the crash, the personal information of all drivers and passengers, and often, a narrative that establishes who was at fault for the collision.

Your auto insurance company will need a copy of the report to process your claim, even if the other driver caused the accident. If the other car was to blame for the wreck, your Philadelphia car crash lawyer will also need a copy of the report to help build your case. Finally, you should retain a copy for your own records. 

Overview of a Pennsylvania Police Report

Pennsylvania law requires most car accidents to be reported to the police, and the accident must be reported immediately if there is personal injury or a fatality. 

The responding law enforcement officer from the jurisdiction where the crash happened prepares the report and submits it to their department and other appropriate authorities. 

Pennsylvania law requires preliminary crash reports to be submitted within 15 days of the accident. However, the officer may supplement the report later if they need extra time to add witness statements or other information.

A standard Pennsylvania police report contains the following information:

  • The municipality and county the accident occurred in
  • The date and time of the collision
  • The number of units in the accident (a unit is a vehicle, bike, or pedestrian)
  • The number of people involved in the crash, both drivers and passengers
  • Whether anyone was killed in the crash
  • Who was injured in the crash, and how badly
  • Any damage to the road or nearby features
  • Whether the crash was a primary or a secondary incident
  • The roadway location of the accident, such as a railroad crossing, on-ramp, or intersection
  • What kind of road the crash happened on, such as a highway, one-lane, or two-lane road
  • Notes of the surrounding area, including traffic lights, signs, and landmarks
  • Personal information of the people involved in the crash
  • Whether alcohol or drugs were involved, and the results of testing at the site

The police narrative of the crash often includes details that aren’t included in the other report categories. It’s usually structured with the first harmful event, typically the causation, then the most harmful event, followed by any contributing factors. There should also be a diagram of the accident.

How To Obtain a Copy of Your Pennsylvania Accident Report

Anyone involved in a Pennsylvania car accident has the right to obtain a copy of the police report, per Pennsylvania law. Any other interested party to the collision, such as an insurance adjustor or a personal injury lawyer representing one of the parties involved, also has the right to have a copy of the report.

To get a copy of a car accident report from the Pennsylvania State Police Department, you may either mail a form or go online.

The mailing address is:

Attention: Crash Reports Unit
1800 Elmerton Avenue Harrisburg, PA, 17110

You must wait at least 15 days after the crash to request a report, and the fee, whether by mail or online, is $22. 

Why You Need a Police Report

The official police report is critical to proving which driver is to blame for the collision. Always call the police after an accident, even if you don’t think it’s that serious. Having a police report can protect your interests. And if you take legal action after the crash, your Philadelphia car accident attorney will also require the report for your case. 

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