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Filing a Pennsylvania car accident report: Should you do it?

Drivers must report injurious and fatal car crashes to authorities in Pennsylvania as a matter of law. In serious accidents like this, police will compile an accident report. Drivers may also need to submit a supplemental accident report to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDOT) if the police report is lacking vital details pertaining to the incident.

Alternatively, if police do not report to a crash that involves a physical injury or extensive property damage, both drivers may be legally responsible to submit an accident report to PDOT on their own.

One reason why police may not respond to your crash is if serious property damages and physical injuries have not occurred. Essentially, the law only requires police to report to accidents where injuries or extensive property damages are present. Nevertheless, the decision of whether to classify a particular accident as minor or severe could be a topic that is subject to debate.

One problem with not reporting an accident is that a plaintiff might later reveal in court the true extent of injuries and damages that became apparent in the days or weeks following a collision, regardless of whether or not police responded to the scene. This is why, even in minor collisions, it's in the best interest of the parties involved to submit a formal report to PDOT relating to what happened in the incident.

Are you trying to determine whether you should report a particular car accident? The better safe than sorry approach is always best. Your vehicle insurance might require you to report all accidents no matter how small they are. Make sure you fully understand your legal obligations before you decide to ignore a crash and leave it unreported.

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D'Amico Law Offices, L.L.C.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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