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This is How Long it Takes to Get a Police Report After a Car Accident 

By: Anapol Weiss

It takes about 15 days to obtain a police report after you get into a car accident in Pennsylvania. How you get your police report may differ depending on the police department compiling it. For instance, you’ll have to mail Pennsylvania State Police directly to request your crash report.

Understanding how long it takes to get a police report after an accident can help you make sure you’re following a timeline that protects your rights to compensation after an car accident. A police accident report helps the drivers explain their accident, insurance companies determine fault, and courts decide on settlement amounts if a personal injury claim is filed.

The police report after your car accident may not be the only evidence you need to collect, but in many cases, it can be the most important. An automobile accident can be a stressful and painful event, physically and financially, so following the steps you should take immediately after a car accident will help start you on the path to recovery.

Police Procedure After a Car Accident

If an accident occurs on public property in most states, you are required to notify the police department which then dispatches an officer to make a report of the incident. On private property, some states will still offer the option of a police response while others do not allow for police reports when an accident is on private property without the occurrence of a crime.

Determination of liability often centers on the information contained in the police accident report, making how long it does take to get a police report after an accident a prime concern so you can get your car fixed, medical bills paid for, and start putting your life back together.

When you call the police, the dispatcher will take some information from you immediately over the phone. Your name, location, call back number, and a brief description of the incident help emergency responders reach you faster. The dispatcher will ask a few questions to determine the level of fire or medical intervention that’s immediately needed so they can better determine what services to dispatch to the scene.

Once a police officer arrives, they will immediately ensure that the situation is as safe as possible for all involved and coordinate with other responders while they begin gathering information for their report.

What’s in a Police Report After a Car Accident?

The police report is based on factual details provided to the officer at the scene or observed by the officer themselves. It allows for an impartial record of the accident and the surrounding conditions.

Most police reports will include:

  • Identification information for all drivers involved

  • Insurance information for all drivers involved

  • Vehicle information such as make, model, and year along with license plate numbers

  • Street address or location of the accident

  • Road Conditions Assessment: a part of the report that details conditions out of drivers’ control such as inclement weather, construction activities or other unusual road hazards

  • Record of States Made: specific statements by drivers involved

  • Physical Observations: states what the officer sees superficially at the accident scene, but also any measurements taken, such as the length of skid marks that indicate braking maneuvers.

  • Report on Any Citations: notes on any citations issued and which drivers they were issued to. This will play a key role in determining liability. In comparative negligence cases, this can help determine the percentages involved in any settlement.

After The Report Is Taken

The responding officer will take the information needed for the report at the scene of the accident, you will be given a report number or other identifying information and the officer will tell you how long it does take to get a police report after an accident in their jurisdiction.

While most reports can be requested by mail, phone, or in-person and some can even be requested by email, it’s best to understand the policies for the officer’s department so you have the appropriate expectations. It generally takes a couple of days for the report to be properly submitted and filed by the officer into the department’s system, however, digital technology is allowing some departments to create reports at the scene and have them available as early as the next day.

Working With your Lawyer

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and need help filing your claim or fighting for the compensation you deserve, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help.

They can talk to you about your case specifics, how long it does take to get a police report after an accident, and how that report and other evidence will affect your claim. Before you sign any paperwork from an insurance company or another driver’s attorney, make sure you have legal representation protecting you.

You can get a free consultation with a Philadelphia personal injury attorney who’s ready to make your case their cause. Contact Anapol Weiss and start putting your life back together now.