Every state has requirements for reporting vehicle accidents. Nearly every vehicle accident that occurs in Pennsylvania will have to be reported to law enforcement officials and insurance carriers. However, there are some situations where a minor vehicle accident may not need to be reported, but these situations are few and far between. Here, we want to review what the state law says about reporting requirements for vehicle accidents.
What the Law Says About Accident Reporting in Pennsylvania
When we examine Pa. C.S.A. § 3744, we see that the law in Pennsylvania requires individuals to report vehicle accidents if there is an injury or death or if damage at the scene prevents any of the vehicles involved from driving away.
The reality is that a vast majority of all vehicle accidents that occur in Philadelphia need to be reported. Only if there are NO injuries and extremely limited property damage will individuals be able to not file a report.
Having a police report will be helpful when you file your insurance claim for medical care or vehicle repair. Typically, individuals at the scene contact the police, the responding police officer fills out the report, and the report gets submitted.
Even if you are involved in an accident where another driver flees the scene, the police still need to come and fill out a report so that the other individuals involved can file their claim for uninsured motorist benefits.
There are times when individuals at the scene of an accident do not think they have sustained any property damage or injuries but later discover that they did. In the event this occurs, individuals have five days from the day the incident occurred to file Form AA-600, Driver’s Accident Report.
Obtaining the Car Accident Report
If individuals wish to receive a copy of their report, which they will almost certainly need when they file an insurance claim, they typically need to wait 15 days after the incident. The individual accident victim can submit an application to receive the claim (SP 7-0015 – Application to Obtain Copy of Police Crash Report), as can their attorney, their insurance carrier, or any government agency.
The Police Report Strengthens a Case
It is crucial for individuals to report accidents to the police, regardless of who was at fault for the incident. In many cases, individuals think they are responsible for the incident and want to avoid reporting it. However, this is not a good idea. All too often, individuals fail to report the crash and then the other party decides to file a claim afterward. The party that files the claim could initially have the upper hand when it comes to recovering compensation because they may try to say the other party is at fault.
If an accident is reported right away, the police can come to the scene and investigate the incident immediately. This will include looking at the evidence at the scene and speaking to drivers and passengers as well as other eyewitnesses. Much of this evidence will not be available if the incident isn’t reported right away.
Additionally, filing a police report and then obtaining that report later could help uncover any inaccuracies made by the police officer in the report. In these cases, a Philadelphia accident attorney can work to correct the inaccuracies and establish exactly what did happen.