Understanding Your Pennsylvania Accident Report
Our attorneys explain what you need to know
If you have been involved in a car accident, the police officer responding to your crash will fill out an official accident report. For example, in Pennsylvania, this is known as the "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Police Crash Reporting Form."
This form is critical for obtaining the financial compensation you rightfully deserve for your accident-related expenses. However, actually obtaining full and fair compensation for your accident can often be a challenge. That's because insurance companies often challenge every piece of evidence in your favor.
That's why you need Villari, Brandes & Giannone, P.C. on your side, defending your rights. We know how to take on insurance companies and win. And we know how to read accident reports for the facts you need to build a strong legal case. Contact us to find out how we can help you.
The "Police Agency" data section might seem straightforward. But it's critical that you make sure the facts are accurate here. This includes the police officer's name and badge number. You and your attorney can also use this information here to contact the police if you need to make any corrections to their police report.
Boxes 2 - 7
These boxes primarily concern the exact location and time of your accident. Make sure all this information is accurate. If there's a mistake, insurance companies might try to use such errors as justification for denying your accident claim.
Boxes 8 - 9
"Traffic Control Devices" and "Lane Closure" data can be found in these two boxes. If a traffic light was not working or a lane on the road was closed at the time of the accident, that information will be included here on the report.
Boxes 10 - 11
Personal information about the driver or pedestrian involved in the accident can be found here. So can information about whether or not the driver or pedestrian was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Insurance companies looks at this information very carefully. You should too. If you believe the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, but it doesn't say so here, we can help you set the record straight.
The "Vehicle Information" section contains a wealth of information about the vehicles involved in the accident and the crash itself. Here, you can find information about the angle of impact and the severity of damage to the vehicles. This last box, found on the bottom of the page, can make a big difference in how much money you receive for your accident claim. If the box says "minor" damage instead of "disabling," you could have a hard time obtaining the compensation you deserve for your crash.
If anyone from the accident was taken to a hospital or treated by a medical professional, that information will be included here. Specifically, the names of the hospitals or emergency medical services companies will be listed in Box 13.
Boxes 14 - 19
Sometimes, accidents result in multiple injuries. The names of all the people injured in the accident (as well as whether or not they required EMS transport) can be found here. If you were injured and taken to a hospital, make sure this part of the form includes those facts.
This part of the accident report form contains the diagram of the accident. Make sure the investigating police officer's drawing corresponds to position of the vehicles in the accident. If your car was in a different position, say something. Insurance companies carefully scrutinize this diagram to determine who caused the crash - and who should pay for it.
Boxes 21 - 22
This section contains the investigating police officer's description of your accident. The words the police officer chooses can make all the difference when it comes to getting the money you deserve from insurance companies. We can carefully review this section with you. We know which words often raise red flags with insurance companies. We know how to set the record straight and make sure your rights are respected.
Click here to download a printable version of the Pennsylvania Auto Accident Report.