How to Read an Accident Report
One of the most important steps to take after you have been injured in a car crash is obtaining the police accident report. Whether or not the accident was determined to be reportable, the officer will complete a crash reporting form. This report will contain information concerning the accident, including damage to vehicles, injuries and witnesses. You can request a copy of the accident report 15 days after the crash occurred through the Pennsylvania State Police website, or, if not the State Police, through the local police agency which responded to the scene.
Trying to make sense of the police crash report can be difficult, so we are dissecting the form so that you can find the important information you and your attorney will need if you plan to file a claim.
Like a tax form, an accident report is organized by numbered boxes.
Box 1 contains contact information for the reporting officer, including her badge number and her law enforcement agency.
Basic information on the accident is found in Boxes 2-7. Here, the location and time of the accident can be found, as well as the number of vehicles and people involved. This section will also contain the number of those injured or killed in the accident.
Information about traffic signs, lights and other control devices will be found in Boxes 8 and 9. If you believe that any of these devices played a role in the accident, these boxes should confirm whether or not any traffic control devices were working at the time of the crash.
Boxes 10 and 11 can help prove liability in cases, especially involving intoxicated drivers. Box 10 will provide other information, such as whether or not the accident is a suspected hit and run or involved an illegally parked car. Box 11 will provide information regarding suspected intoxication, including the blood alcohol content of the suspect.
To find insurance information for the drivers involved, look at Box 12. This box will also describe any damages to the vehicles and information regarding towing.
If anyone was transported to a medical facility as a result of the crash, information on the EMS service and hospital will appear in Box 13.
Boxes 14-19 will contain the names of each person involved in the crash. The seating positions will also be provided next to each name. Information about seatbelts and air bags will also be found here. Use the key located above Box 13 as a guide when trying to read Boxes 14-19.
The reporting officer will sketch a bird’s eye view of the scene in Box 20.
Boxes 21 and 22 will be important for your personal injury case. Names of witnesses, their statements and contact information will be recorded in these boxes.
Recovering from an injury is stressful enough. Hopefully, our explanation on how to read an accident report is helpful. Yet, we know that this will not alleviate all of the stress.
If you have been injured in an accident, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help. Rely on KBG for Results You Deserve®.