After a minor car accident in Pennsylvania, you may not have to call the police. State law only requires that you file an accident report in specific situations, including if someone was hurt or if you were in a hit and run accident, among other scenarios.
However, just because you may not be required to call the police, does not mean you shouldn’t. Filing a police report after a car accident, even a minor one, can impact on your ability to recover fair compensation for your car accident damages.
When do Car Accidents Need to Be Reported in PA?
Under Pa. C.S.A § 3746 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, police must file a car accident report for these specific types of car accidents:
- When a hit and run accident occurs
- If anyone is injured in a car accident
- If the vehicle cannot move and must be towed from the scene
As you can imagine, many drivers need to report their car accidents to Pennsylvania law enforcement officers. It is important that you contact 911 immediately after any of these types of accidents, so law enforcement can report the collision file your report.
If a police officer does not investigate one of the above accidents, then the drivers must submit their own reports within five day so the crash per Pa. C.S.A. § 3747. If you opt for legal representation, your lawyer can also obtain this crash report on your behalf.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
Optional Accident Reports for Car Crashes in Pittsburgh
The law does not require you to report minor car accidents where no one suffered serious injury, and there was no damage to any involved vehicles. Additionally, you do not legally need to report accidents on private property.
With that being said, it may be in everyone’s best interests to contact police following an accident of any kind. You can contact the Pennsylvania police and let them know that there has been a minor car accident, and you would like to file an accident report.
Car damages and injuries may not be apparent right away, so having this report on file can help you if you choose to pursue compensation for someone’s negligence.
Benefits of Having Police at a Car Accident Scene
Even in situations where you do not have to contact police after an accident, the benefits of having law enforcement at the scene can prove invaluable. When you file a police or accident report, the information it contains can include critical evidence to support your case. Some of the different information that the police or accident report might contain include:
- A description of the accident
- A description of anyone’s injuries
- A description of the scene of the accident
- The police officer’s assertion of liability
Police officers at the scene of an accident can also be of considerable assistance in a number of other ways. They are impartial third parties that have experience handling hazardous situations. They can objectively review the evidence to determine who is responsible for causing the accident.
They will also be sure to include specific types of information that you may not think to consider, such as the placement of skid marks, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and the witness statements of anyone who may have seen the accident occur.
Getting a Copy of Your Accident Report in Pittsburgh
You can also obtain copies of the police and accident reports by requesting copies online from the Pennsylvania State Police. You can request a copy approximately two weeks after your accident, and you can expect to pay a $22 fee for each copy of the accident report.
Alternatively, you can mail in your request and include a money order or certified check to cover the cost of the accident report fee. Fill out and print out SP 7-0015 – Application to Obtain Copy of Police Crash Report to send your request by mail.
Whether or not your car accident is severe enough to require an accident report, it may be in everyone’s best interests to do so. If you contact police. You are also setting yourself up to obtain valuable evidence that can be used to support your case against the liable party when you seek compensation for your losses.
Contact a Pittsburgh Car Accident Lawyer Today
After a car accident in Pittsburgh, filing a police report could help you build compelling evidence against the liable party in your case. Even if you are not legally required to contact police and file an accident report, doing so could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Get help holding them accountable for their negligence when you reach out to a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer at Berger and Green. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation when you give our office a call at (412) 661-1400.