Pennsylvania requires you to report a car accident to law enforcement within five days of the wreck.
However, in most cases, you will want to call police while on the scene of the crash to file a report. The responding officers can assess the scene; get statements from drivers, passengers, and witnesses; document other evidence; and determine a cause of the accident. They may even assess fault and issue tickets for a violation of any traffic laws. The officers will include any citations in the report.
Why a Police Report Is Crucial
The accident report provides essential evidence to prove your case when it comes time to file an auto insurance claim or injury lawsuit. In some cases, this will be the only proof of some evidence, such as skid marks or debris in the road.
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Pennsylvania Requires You to Report Most Car Accidents
Pennsylvania law requires drivers to report a traffic accident any time:
- There is an injury or death; or
- Damage to the vehicles prevents the involved parties from driving away from the scene.
In addition, you will need a police report any time you need to file an insurance claim for car repairs or medical care. In most cases, the drivers involved in the crash call police and the responding officers submit a report while everyone is still at the scene of the accident.
Occasionally, though, motorists do not believe they suffered injuries or property damage in an accident, but it later becomes apparent they did. If this happened to you, you have five days from the date of the accident to file Form AA-600, Driver’s Accident Report.
Understanding the Importance of Reporting a Car Accident
If you need to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit related to your Pittsburgh crash, you will need a car accident report. In this report, police assess what happened and document any evidence to support their conclusion. If they file a report from the scene, this may include witness statements and responses, documentation of the damages, and other information about factors that contributed to the accident.
The police report also helps to document factors that could contribute to the accident that may not be evident to a survey team who visits the site later. Weather, skid marks, and overgrown shrubs obscuring traffic signs are just a few examples of this.
A Police Report Strengthens Your Case
A police report can help bolster our argument against an at-fault motorist. The accident report can be especially critical when there is a disagreement about what led to an accident and who caused it.
When law enforcement files a police report at the scene of a car accident, it lends credibility to the argument and elevates it above a “he said, she said” situation. If the police report backs our client’s side of the story, it is often much easier for us to negotiate an insurance settlement or win a payout in court.
In some cases, the police report is incorrect. If this is the case, we can launch an investigation into the accident to establish exactly what happened and why the report is inaccurate.
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Pursuing Your Pittsburgh Car Accident Case
In some cases, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for the damages you suffered in a Pittsburgh car accident. Our car accident attorneys will review your case for free and explain if we believe you have a valid claim.
If we decide to work together, our team will thoroughly investigate your accident. This includes obtaining a copy of the police report and analyzing other vital evidence to help determine fault and help build a solid case to support your claim. We may even be able to help you get disability benefits if your car accident injuries caused a permanent impairment that prevents you from working.
Acting quickly is crucial. Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations gives you two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident. And remember that we must obtain your prognosis, gather evidence, and perform several other tasks, all before the two years is up.
Talk to a Pittsburgh Auto Accident Attorney Today
At Berger and Green, our car accident lawyers can help you understand your options for trying to recover compensation to pay your medical bills, cover lost wages, and more. Let us look at your case and determine if we believe you can hold the at-fault driver or another liable party responsible under Pennsylvania law.
Call our team today at 412-661-1400 for your free case review and consultation.