A police officer talks to the two drivers involved in a car accident and writes an accident report.

Ask the Local Attorneys for Car Accidents: Do I Need a Police Report?

Immediately after a car accident, you may feel stressed, anxious, or shaken, especially if it is your first time involved in one. You know you need to get a record of what happened, but your story might be different from the other driver’s. Having a police officer’s report on file can help ensure the accident is recorded accurately, which can help your lawyer navigate your car accident case and get you the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

When you work with local attorneys for car accidents like those at Westmoreland Injury Lawyers, you grant yourself the resources to recover from your accident with as little anxiety as possible. We have helped many people like you in Greensburg, PA, handle the consequences of their car accidents and deal with the stressors that come with such circumstances. Thanks to our experience, we have compiled some information about police reports and why they are crucial for your case after a car accident in Pennsylvania.

Did You Know Drivers Are Required by Law to Report Car Accidents in PA?

If you are involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania, you are required by law to report the accident within five days after it occurred, especially if any of these conditions are met:

  • Any party involved has been injured, regardless of the severity of the injury.
  • There was a death at the scene of the accident.
  • A vehicle was damaged so severely that it could not be driven safely from the scene.

If you are involved in any kind of accident, your health comes first. Calling 911 should be the first step you take if you are physically able. The responding police officer will file a report of the accident for you and the responding EMTs can help with any injuries. If there is any injury involved in the accident at all, ensure you get medical attention as quickly as possible.

If you and the other driver choose not to call the police and handle the accident report yourselves, you have up to five days after the accident occurred to report it to the Department of Transportation (DOT). In the case of a fender bender or a bump to another vehicle where there is no visible property damage, this choice may be your preferred course of action.

Why Should I File an Accident Report?

In Pennsylvania, filing an accident report helps protect you, even when the accident is seemingly minor. Fender benders or other “minor” accidents might not seem serious, but days later or even weeks later, you may experience physical discomfort that a medical professional says could have been caused by the accident.

This injury can lead to time off and lost wages or, in some cases, a permanent disability that can change the course of your life. If you choose not to file an accident report and later have health issues or medical bills that stem from the accident, you may not get the help or compensation you need.

Because there is no evidence of the accident on any official records, you will not be able to use that information to help with a disability claim or to sue the other driver.

The same can be said for the vehicle. While it may not look like there was any real damage done to your car or that the damage done is only cosmetic, you may discover there are more issues than you thought. Suppose you do not have an accident report. In that case, you risk losing the chance to prove that your car issues are due to the accident, and you will not be able to get compensation for the problems someone else caused, leaving you without reliable transportation.


Having an accident report will also keep you safe from other parties who wish to embellish the story of what happened. When each party submits their insurance claims for the accident, having a detailed report from the police can help show insurance companies what damage was caused by the accident and what damage occurred before or after.

If it was a simple fender bender, but the other driver reports their passenger door was smashed in, an accident report can save you from being liable for the cost of that passenger door damage.

Take Photos of the Scene

Another aspect of getting good evidence of the car accident and protecting yourself is photographic evidence of the accident. If you are physically able, and it is safe to do so, take as many photos as possible from many different angles to show what happened. These photos can prove valuable for insurance claims and can be added to the accident report for evidence to back up your claims about the accident. Your auto accident injury lawyer may be able to use these photos to help your case.

How Do I File a Car Accident Report in Pennsylvania?

Typically, the police officer who responds to the scene of the accident will fill out the report and file it with the DOT for you. If you file an accident report yourself for the state of Pennsylvania, you will need to fill out the official accident report that requires some information about both parties involved. Make sure you get the other driver’s contact details before you leave the accident scene.

Do I Need a Local Attorney for my Car Accident?

No matter the accident’s severity, you should always contact a local attorney as quickly as possible. It is never too soon to get in touch with a lawyer after an accident. When you contact Westmoreland Injury Lawyers, our experienced personal injury lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help you navigate the legal ramifications of a vehicle accident.

Are You Ready to Speak to Your Local Attorneys for Car Accidents?

It is challenging and emotionally taxing to deal with the legal process after an accident, but you do not have to go through this alone. When you contact Westmoreland Injury Lawyers for a free consultation, our experienced local attorneys will review your case and determine what steps should be taken next. Let us deal with your car accident case’s paperwork and legal aspects while you heal from this traumatizing event.

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