How to Obtain a Car Accident Report in Philadelphia
Ryan Zavodnick | June 3, 2020 | Car Accidents
Most people who are involved in a car accident in Philadelphia call 911 to report the accident. Under Pennsylvania law, individuals involved in a traffic accident must immediately notify the police department of the crash if anyone is killed or injured. Also, the parties must notify the police immediately if a vehicle cannot be moved safely because of damage to the vehicle.
If a law enforcement officer responds to a car accident, the officer investigates the crash and submits a car accident report. However, police officers in Philadelphia are not required to report to every accident. If the traffic accident does not involve injuries, and the vehicles are movable, an officer may not respond to the crash.
When a police officer does not investigate a collision, all drivers involved in the crash must file a written report of the accident within five days of the crash. Drivers can use the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Form AA-600 to report the crash. Drivers should also report the crash to their respective insurance companies.
Steps for Obtaining a Car Accident Report in Philadelphia
Contact the Pennsylvania State Police
Depending on where the accident occurs in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania State Police may respond to the crash scene. If so, you must contact the State Police to request a copy of your car accident report.
The fee for a copy of the crash report from the State Police is $22. The crash report may be requested online or by mail. If requesting a copy of the crash report by mail, send a certified check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and an Application to Obtain Copy of Police Crash Report to the Pennsylvania State Police in Harrisburg, PA.
Contact the Philadelphia Police Department
Copies of traffic accident reports for collisions investigated by the Philadelphia police department must be requested from the Record Department by mail or in person. The office is in Room 170 of City Hall. If mailing a request, make it to the attention of “Accident Reports.”
The fee is $25, payable by money order, cash, or business bank check. Checks and money orders should be payable to the city of Philadelphia. If your request is by mail, do not send cash.
You must also include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with each request, regardless of whether you mail the request or drop of the request in person. Forms for requesting a copy of a police report are available on the Philadelphia PD’s website.
What Information Can a Car Accident Report Provide for My Injury Claim?
Having a written accident report can be very helpful when filing a car accident claim. The accident report is evidence that the collision occurred.
A car accident report contains the police officer’s determination of fault and other details of the accident, such as:
- The parties involved in the accident and their contact information;
- The insurance information for each driver;
- The date, time, and location of the accident;
- A diagram of the accident and an explanation of how the accident occurred, according to the officer’s investigation;
- The weather conditions at the time of the crash;
- Passenger and witness information;
- Whether anyone was injured in the accident; and,
- Information about the vehicles involved in the accident.
Even though a car accident report is not the final determination of fault for a crash, the insurance company for the other driver may be more willing to settle for a fair amount if the police officer determined the other driver was at fault. Your attorney can obtain a copy of the report for you and help you review the report for any mistakes or errors.
What do I do if the Information on the Accident Report is Incorrect?
If you notice errors or mistakes in the car accident report, contact the police officer immediately. If the error is factual, the officer may be willing to amend the report. For example, if the date of the accident is incorrect or the location of the accident is wrong.
However, if you disagree with the police officer’s determination of fault or what the other driver said happened, the police officer is unlikely to change the report. Those details are a matter of dispute. You need to talk to a car accident attorney as soon as possible whenever there is a dispute regarding the cause of a car accident.
Your attorney conducts an independent accident investigation to gather evidence to prove how the crash occurred. You cannot recover compensation for your injuries or damages unless you can prove the other driver caused the car accident.
Therefore, it can be helpful to contact an attorney after an accident. An attorney has the resources necessary to investigate the crash. In the case of a complex, contested car accident, your attorney may hire an accident reconstructionist and other experts to assist in the investigation to protect your best interests.