Are Car Accident Reports Public Record in Philadelphia?

If you have been in a collision in Philadelphia, PA, you may wonder whether it needs to be reported.

After a car accident, it can be hard to know where to start. You may wonder whether a police report of the accident will be necessary to make an insurance claim. If it is, you might be curious about how to obtain that accident report.

A qualified car accident lawyer can help you to secure the best possible outcome in your case. Below, we will examine several of the most common questions relating to car accident reports.

Are You Required to Report a Motor Vehicle Collision?

In the state of Pennsylvania, you are required to report nearly all vehicular collisions. 

A crash must be reported if it results in any of the following conditions:

  • Injuries to any party involved
  • The death of a driver, passenger, or pedestrian
  • Vehicular damage that prevents a car or truck from driving

You can report an accident by calling the police or 911.

What Information is in an Accident Report?

If the police don’t respond, drivers are required to report their accident to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. In most cases, the police will arrive at the scene of the crash to make an accident report.

The accident report will include the following information:

  • Time, date, and location of the incident
  • Driving conditions, such as weather and visibility
  • A visual chart detailing the accident
  • Contact information and names of the drivers
  • Details regarding property damage and injuries
  • The name and badge number of the responding officer

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation only releases copies of accident reports to certain authorized parties. To request an accident report, you may need to contact the police station that filed the document.

How Can I Obtain a Copy of My Accident Report?

Car accident reports are restricted to protect the privacy of the individuals involved. There is no long-term restriction on police accident reports for the individuals involved in the crash.

You can request a copy of your car accident report through the Pennsylvania State Police. There is an application form that should be filed no earlier than 15 days following the collision.

The cost of requesting a collision report is $22.00. The reports can be requested online or by mail.

For a mail-in request, the Pennsylvania State Police will require an SP 7-0015 form. This form is known as the “Application to Obtain Copy of Police Crash Report.”

The SP 7-0015 form must be mailed to the following address:

Attention: Crash Reports Unit

1800 Elmerton Avenue

Harrisburg, PA 17110

Along with the required form, you must send a check or money order for $22.00 made out to the “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Can a Car Accident Report Help with My Auto Injury Claim?

If you have been injured or sustained property damage in your accident, the police report can help. First, many insurance providers require a copy of the report before they will provide the money that is rightfully yours. 

Also, the report will be useful if you decide to pursue financial compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. You should not have to carry the financial burdens that result from another driver’s negligence.

A detailed and accurate police accident report will help to support your account of the collision. 

A trustworthy personal injury attorney will carefully review the accident report. They will use the document to fight for maximum financial recovery in your case.

To learn more or get the help you need, call our law firm at (215) 875-7030 or contact us online today.