Getting into a car accident in Philadelphia is not something anyone wants to go through. However, it can happen to anyone, and at any time, so knowing what to do after a crash happens in the city can be important to know.
Once all of the dust settles from the accident and everyone is getting the medical care that they need to recover, one of the things that you will have to do is file a police report of the crash. While police are often the ones responsible for making sure this happens, when the police are not present to create the accident report and the accident is still serious enough to warrant one, the responsibility can fall on you and the other driver.
In Philadelphia, you will have only five days to report it to the appropriate authorities.
The Philadelphia car accident and personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian understand the process and can help you navigate through the necessary steps, which depend on the nature of the crash and whether police were involved.
If Police Responded to the Accident
The Philadelphia Police Department will respond to many of the more serious accidents that happen within the city. This is especially true if the accident obstructs traffic or involves a serious injury.
In these cases, the responding police officer will create a police report of the crash, and you will have nothing to worry about because the accident will have already been recorded by the authorities. The report that the police create will include all of the pertinent information from the accident, including the officer's rendition of what happened, and the information of the drivers involved, as well as any apparent witnesses.
However, if the crash only resulted in property damage to the vehicles involved, and not to other property in the immediate vicinity of the crash, the police might not respond.
In these cases, while the accident is a small one without any personal injuries, it can be up to you and the other driver to report the accident, on your own.
If the Police Did Not Respond to the Car Crash
When a car accident in Philadelphia is not serious enough to warrant a police response, there will be no one there to create an official police report of the accident. This can happen often in the city of Philadelphia, because the police are often busy and cannot spare the resources to send an officer to an accident that does not involve an injury or other pressing situation.
However, not all car accidents require an official police report. Here is how to know whether to report the crash, and how to do it, if filing a report is necessary.
Do You Need to Report Your Philadelphia Car Accident to Police?
Minor car accidents in Philadelphia do not need to be reported to police. Of course, what is “minor” can be open to interpretation.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, accidents that happen in Pennsylvania and were not attended to by the police need to be reported by all of the drivers involved if:
- There was an injury or a death in the crash, or
- A vehicle was damaged “to the extent that it cannot be driven under its own power in its customary manner without further damage or hazard to the vehicle, other traffic elements, or the roadway, and therefore requires towing.”
If either of these is the case in your Philadelphia crash, then, you will need to report the accident under P.R.C. 75 §3747(a) within five days.
How to Report Your Own Car Accident
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a form, the AA-600, that is designed to let drivers who have been involved in such a crash make a report sufficient for administrative purposes.
This form includes fields for numerous aspects of the crash, and requires information about the accident and the drivers who were involved, including:
- When the accident happened,
- Where the crash occurred,
- Any injuries,
- Any vehicle damage, including whether a car needed to be towed,
- The name, contact information, and drivers' license information of any and all drivers and pedestrians involved in the accident,
- Information about the vehicles that were involved, including their insurance information,
- Weather and road conditions during the crash, and
- A diagram and description of the accident.
Once filled out, you should keep one copy of the AA-600 for your own records, and send another copy to the following address:
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering
P.O. Box 2047
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-2047
How Long Do You Have to Report the Accident?
You only have five days to submit the AA-600 form to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, or else you risk facing legal repercussions for not reporting an accident.
One of the legal penalties for not filing an AA-600 accident report form on time is that you could have your license suspended. You could also be made to pay a fine of $200 under P.R.C. 75 §3748 for filing out an accident report with information that you is false.
Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
Being involved in a car accident in Philadelphia can be stressful, even without the legal obligation of reporting it to the Department of Transportation when the police do not show up. You could be struggling to cope with the injuries that you suffered in the accident, or scrambling to get transportation lined up to get you to and from work so you can keep your job, and not have much time to set aside for filling out the accident report form and making sure it is accurate. However, failing to turn the report in within the allotted five days can lead to legal penalties that only make the experience more frustrating.
The car accident and personal injury attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian are here to help. Contact us online for the legal representation you need.