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Pennsylvania Car Accident Report Basics

A car accident is over in a matter of seconds, but the paperwork and phone calls with your insurance company can take weeks or even months. It all starts with you filing your car accident report.

Even though Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state, you usually have to file a crash report with the police, the DMV, and your insurance company. Here, we’ll review Pennsylvania car accident report requirements and discuss how to file your motor vehicle accident report.

Knowing the basics about the Keystone State’s crash reporting laws can help save you time and money if you get into a car crash.

How To File a Car Crash Report in Pennsylvania

The chart below summarizes Pennsylvania law and procedures for filing a car crash report.

State Accident Statutes

When To File a Crash Report

Motorists in Pennsylvania must file a report within five days of the crash when:

  • A police officer did not investigate the collision
  • The accident resulted in death, injury, or severe property damage to one of the vehicles

How To File a Crash Report:


Obtain specific information from the other driver(s)

  • Contact information, including their phone number
  • Driver's license number and registration information
  • Name of insurance company and insurance policy number
  • Name and contact information for passengers and pedestrians involved in the accident

Record Information on the Vehicles Involved in the Crash

  • Make, model, and body style of the vehicles
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Description of damage

Submit the report form provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.


Note: Laws are subject to change. Research or consult a Pennsylvania car accident attorney to verify any information.

When To File an Accident Report

Technically, Pennsylvania law doesn’t require you to report all motor vehicle accidents. However, given the strict accident reporting laws, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

According to Pa.C.S.A. Vehicles § 3747, you must report any crash that results in the following:

  • Serious injury to any of the drivers, passengers, or third parties
  • The death of any party
  • Damage that causes any of the vehicles to become undrivable

Motorists must file this report with the local police department or the Pennsylvania State Police, depending on where the accident occurs. Law enforcement typically investigates the accident scene and creates a police crash report. However, the driver may still have to submit a supplemental report at the DOT's request.

If the police do not respond to an accident involving physical injury or severe property damage, it is each driver's responsibility to file an accident report with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT).

They must file their report on the DOT's form within five days of the accident. Failure to file this form could result in the state suspending your driving privileges.

Benefits of Filing an Accident Report

Pennsylvania law no longer requires police to respond to an accident with no injury or severe property damage. Motorists only have to file a report when the crash is serious. So, what happens if you’re in a minor car crash?

The law doesn’t require you to file an accident report if the crash is minor. However, it is in your best interest to file a report even if you caused the accident.

It can be challenging to determine when an accident is "minor." It’s also hard to ascertain whether the vehicle damage warrants a crash report and whether any accident victims have serious injuries. They may appear fine at the scene but learn that they are hurt weeks later.

Filing a report will help protect you if you need to sue the at-fault driver. The insurance company may require you to report an accident, and not doing so could void your coverage.

How To File a Pennsylvania Crash Report

Filing an auto accident report isn’t difficult. The more information you collect at the crash scene, the easier it will be to complete your report.

After your car accident, obtain a copy of the official accident report form AA-600 and include:

  • Location of the Accident: State the name of the city, borough, or township where the accident occurred.
  • People Involved in the Accident: List contact information for all parties to the crash, even those without injury.
  • Vehicles Involved in the Collision: Provide each car's license plate numbers and insurance information.
  • Accident Diagram: Draw a collision diagram, including each car's direction at the time of impact.
  • Narrative: Describe the events immediately before, during, and after the crash.
  • Road and Actions: Describe all involved persons and vehicles before, during, and after the collision.
  • Weather Conditions: Describe any weather or road conditions that may have caused the accident.
  • File Your Report: Mail the completed form to Pennsylvania DOT, Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering, PO Box 2047, Harrisburg, PA 17105, within five days of the accident.

Discuss Your Accident Claim With a Review From an Attorney

If you suffer an injury in a car crash, you must take specific steps to preserve your car accident claim. First, you must report the crash, especially if it involves personal injury, death, or property damage.

Second, you need to ensure that there is a police report or crash report so your Pennsylvania car accident lawyer has evidence to prove your case.

Your auto accident attorney can help maximize your recovery and better defend you if the other driver files a claim against you. 

Get started today by visiting our attorney directory to find a personal injury lawyer near you.

Additional Pennsylvania Car Accident Resources

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