FAQs: Car Accident Reports in Pennsylvania
Ryan Zavodnick | August 9, 2023 | Car Accidents
If you are ever involved in a car collision, it is important that you understand Pennsylvania’s laws regarding car accident reports and how to get a copy of yours.
Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers receive a lot of questions about crash reports in Pennsylvania. We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions below, but if you have any questions we haven’t answered, call us for a free consultation.
When Am I Required To Report a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?
You can report a crash if you are involved in an accident with another person or property. But police are not required to respond to the accident scene if there is no injury or serious property damage.
However, reporting a car accident is usually in your best interest because it creates a written record of the incident, which you will need to support your car accident claim. It can also help document certain information, possibly including the other driver’s version of events, in case this story later changes. Also, your insurance contract may require you to report any accident you are involved in.
Pennsylvania law requires you to report a car accident if it causes any of the following:
- Wrongful death
- Property damage that prevents you from driving the vehicle away from the accident scene (hereinafter referred to as “serious property damage”)
If you’re in doubt about whether you need to report the accident, report it.
Where Do I Report a Collision in Pennsylvania?
If your accident results in serious property damage, injury, or death, you should report it to the nearest police department.
If police do not complete an accident report, all involved drivers must file a report with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Your insurance contract may also require you to report the collision to your insurance company, even if the accident was not your fault. The terms of your policy will provide the time limit you have to report an accident.
How Long Do I Have To Report a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania law requires motorists to report an accident “immediately by the quickest means of communication” if it causes injury, death, or property damage that prevents a vehicle from being operated. If none of these apply, some motorists are required to file a report within five days of the crash.
How Do I File a Pennsylvania Car Accident Report?
If police respond to the accident, they will usually complete the accident report. However, the Department of Transportation may request the involved drivers to file a supplemental report.
If law enforcement does not respond to the accident scene and complete a report, you can file a car accident report by:
- Obtaining a copy of the official accident report form
- Completing all relevant fields on the report, including providing all of the information you have about the accident location, the other driver(s) and vehicles involved in the accident, an accident diagram that shows the location of the vehicles immediately before the collision, and the actions of all involved driver(s)
- Send the report to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at Pennsylvania DOT, Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering, PO Box 2047, Harrisburg, PA 17105
You must provide the report within five days of the crash.
What Happens If I Don’t Report a Car Accident?
Your driver’s license could be suspended if you don’t report a car accident as required by law. If the incident is considered a hit-and-run, you could also face criminal penalties.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Pennsylvania Car Accident Report?
You can get a copy of your car accident report by contacting the law enforcement agency that completed the report. You could also submit an application to obtain a copy of the crash report to the Pennsylvania State Police at least 15 days after the accident.
If you need any assistance in obtaining a crash report, reach out to an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer for help.
Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney If You Have Questions or Need Assistance
You need a lawyer you can trust to be your advocate in and out of court. Contact a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer for help with your personal injury claim or if you have questions regarding the timeline of your case.
To learn more and get the help you deserve, call Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers at (215) 875-7030 or contact us online.
You can also visit our law firm at 123 S Broad St #1220, Philadelphia, PA 19109.