Vehicle accidents can be confusing for everyone involved. Even though a crash is over in seconds, the process of dealing with it takes much longer than that. We discuss the laws regarding car accidents, specifically when to report an accident in PA. While it may seem cut and dry when it comes to calling the police, there are certain situations in which they may not show up. If you have any questions and need to speak with a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer, call us today.
When the Accident is Serious
If you have been involved in a serious accident in which anyone involved was injured, you must report it to the authorities immediately. Dealing with injuries is the most important thing that needs to happen in the aftermath of a crash. For serious accidents, the police will generate an accident report with their initial findings.
In some cases, particularly accidents with catastrophic injuries or fatalities, the police may be required to reconstruct the accident scene as part of their investigation.
During the latest reporting year in PA, our Department of Transportation says there were 128,188 total crashes reported. Out of those, there were:
- 80,612 total injuries
- 1,137 total fatalities
What If the Police Don’t Show Up?
However, not every accident results in injuries or major property damage. Under Pennsylvania law, police officers are not required to respond to the scene of an accident if there is no injury or no serious property damage.
So, where does that leave you in the aftermath of one of these incidents?
In these cases, it is up to each individual driver to report the accident to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation within five days of the accident. Failing to make this report could result in a suspended driver’s license. You can find the link to the report that must be filed by clicking here.
The form is fairly extensive, and there is information you should obtain at the time of the crash, including the following for each party:
- Name, address, and phone number
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance policy company and number
- Name and contact info for all passengers of other parties involved
You should also be sure to get the following information about each vehicle:
- Make and model
- License plate number
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Description of the damage
If you have a camera (or a phone with a camera), ensure you take photos of everything at the scene. This could be vital information for insurance companies or in a lawsuit.
Benefits of Filing a Report
You are protecting yourself by filling out an accident report, especially if one or more parties involved decides to file a claim. All too often, everyone at the scene seems friendly and easy-going, then later someone decides to exaggerate damages to their vehicle or make an injury claim. At SMT Legal, our Pittsburgh car accident lawyers are ready to help. You can contact us for a free consultation.