If you get into a car accident in or near Philadelphia, the police officer who responds to the accident will often fill out an accident report. This report can prove to be an incredibly important document in the aftermath of an accident, especially if someone got hurt in the crash or if there was a significant amount of property damage.
Calling the Police After a Car Accident
In the state of Pennsylvania, you may be required to contact the police after a car accident. If the police do not respond to the crash, there will not be an official police report. If there is no report, you could find yourself in a situation where the other driver disputes what happened. Without a report, it can be very difficult to resolve any conflicts in what happened.
Because of this, it is important to notify the police after an accident if your car suffered substantial damage, or if there was someone hurt. Having an official report of what happened can protect you if other drivers change their story.
After being called to a car accident, police conduct an investigation and file their official report. This investigation can be quick, if there were no injuries and little property damage, or extensive, if they think someone was driving under the influence or there were serious injuries.
The report of the crash that gets compiled often includes a lot of information. Crucial among this information is a diagram of the crash, statements provided by those who were involved, and contact information of drivers, passengers, and any witnesses who saw the crash.
Getting the Police Report After a Car Crash
If the police do respond to a car accident that you were involved in, they will investigate the cause of the crash and file an official report. However, you are not automatically provided with one of these reports. Instead, you have to apply to receive one or have it sent to your attorney.
In order to get a car accident report, you have to be eligible, first. In Pennsylvania, only the following people are eligible to receive a police report of a car accident:
- Those involved in the accident,
- Lawyers representing those who were involved in the crash,
- Car insurance companies, and
- Other government jurisdictions.
If you are one of those eligible to receive a police report of a car crash, you still have to fill out the appropriate application materials. In Pennsylvania, this means filing an AP7-0015 Form with the state police. This form can only be sent after 15 days have passed since the date of the accident, and has to be signed and sent with a money order or certified check for $22.00, made payable to “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” It has to be sent to the following address:
Pennsylvania State Police
Attention: Crash Reports Unit
1800 Elmerton Ave.
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Using an Accident Report in a Personal Injury Case
Because the police report can include lots of crucial information about the car accident, it can make a huge impact on the outcome of any future personal injury case that happens. This is especially true if the report seems to indicate who was at fault for the crash.
However, the police officers who respond to a car accident do not witness it, themselves. Instead, they have to rely on statements that are provided by witnesses and by evidence they find at the scene of the crash, like tire marks or car damages. As a result, not all police reports accurately show what happened in the crash. This can make it crucial to have a personal injury attorney, like those at Gilman & Bedigian, at your side in the aftermath of a serious car accident near Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
If you get involved in a serious car accident in or near the city of Philadelphia, the police report will either help or hurt your case. In either situation, having a personal injury attorney on your side for the whole process can make a huge difference. If the report shows that you were not at fault, the personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian can ensure that the report holds up. On the other hand, if the report suggests that you might be responsible, we fight for your interests by challenging the report and conducting our own investigation.
Regardless of what the police report says, having the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian on hand can make a huge difference in your outcome after a serious car crash. Contact us online or at (800) 529-6162.