Why Reporting a Car Accident in Pennsylvania is Crucial

As an experienced car accident lawyer, I have seen the consequences of not reporting a car accident in Pennsylvania. Many people are unaware of the legal requirements and potential benefits of reporting an accident, which can lead to complications and difficulties in obtaining fair compensation for damages. In this article, I will explain why it is crucial to report a car accident in Pennsylvania and the steps you should take to ensure a smooth process.

When Should You Report a Car Accident?

Under Pennsylvania law, it is mandatory to report an accident that you were involved in. This includes accidents where someone was injured or killed, as well as accidents where vehicles are damaged to the point of being inoperable.

However, minor accidents with no serious injuries or damage do not need to be reported. Additionally, accidents that occur on private property do not require a police report. The law also does not require police to report minor car accidents. These are accidents where there are no injuries and vehicles can be removed from the scene on their own. However, it is always best to err on the side of caution and report any accident you are involved in.

The Importance of a Police Report

When you report a car accident to the police, they will prepare a report that can be used when filing an insurance claim or pursuing legal action.

In Pennsylvania, you have up to five days to file a car accident report with the police, but it is best to do so as soon as possible. Ideally, the police should be present at the scene of the accident when you file your report. A police report is crucial because it provides an official record of the accident and can serve as evidence in case of disputes or legal proceedings. It also helps to establish the facts of the accident and determine who is at fault. Without a police report, it can be challenging to prove your version of events and hold the other party accountable for their negligence.

Why You Shouldn't Settle Privately

After a minor car accident, the other driver may suggest settling the matter privately without involving the police or insurance companies.

However, this can be a risky move. Without a police report, it becomes your word against theirs, and they could falsely claim that you were at fault. This can make it challenging to recover damages if you were not responsible for the accident. Moreover, private settlements can also jeopardize any potential personal injury claims. If you later discover that you were injured in the accident, it will be challenging to seek compensation if there is no official record of the incident.

It is always best to report the accident to the police and consult with an attorney before talking to your insurance company or accepting any settlement offers.

How to Report a Car Accident in Pennsylvania

If you are involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania, here are the steps you should take:
  • Call the police: As mentioned earlier, it is mandatory to report an accident that you were involved in. Call 911 or the local police department as soon as possible.
  • Seek medical attention: Even if you do not feel injured immediately after the accident, it is essential to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not manifest until days after the incident.
  • Gather information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Also, take photos of the scene and any visible injuries or damage.
  • File a police report: When the police arrive at the scene, provide them with all the necessary information and ask for a copy of the police report.
  • Contact your insurance company: While Pennsylvania law does not require you to report an accident to your insurance company, most policies have this requirement.

    It is best to inform them of the accident as soon as possible.

  • Consult with an attorney: If you were injured in the accident, it is crucial to speak with a personal injury lawyer before talking to your insurance company or accepting any settlement offers. They can help you understand your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your damages.


Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and it is essential to know your rights and responsibilities in such situations. Reporting a car accident in Pennsylvania is crucial, even if it seems like a minor incident. It can help protect your interests and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you have been involved in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact our firm for a free consultation. We are here to help you navigate the legal process and get the justice you deserve.

Benjamín Bélanger
Benjamín Bélanger

Avid coffee fanatic. General creator. Passionate twitter fanatic. Certified coffee evangelist. Subtly charming music enthusiast. Unapologetic music buff.

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