How to Get a Police Report for a Philadelphia Car Accident – Automobile Accidents Legal Blogs Posted by Edith A. Pearce, Esq.


In the state of Pennsylvania, it is required to notify police of a car accident if the accident results in injury, death, or the vehicle is unable to be moved safely in a timely manner. Reporting a car accident is important not only because it is an unbiased report, but because insurance companies and courts may not see a claim as valid without one. A police report will provide proof of the accident, and give the victim a leg to stand on in court or settlement agreements. Without one, a victim may be left paying for medical bills and property damage by themselves, or not receive the compensation they deserve. It is important to hire an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer,  to represent victims, and ensure they receive the full amount of compensation they deserve.

How To File A Police Report For A Car Accident In Pennsylvania

The best way to file a police report after a car accident is to call 911, especially if anyone may be injured. This is also the quickest way for an officer to be dispatched to the scene. Once at the scene the police officer will create a report with:


  • All involved parties’ names, phone numbers, and addresses
  • All involved parties’ insurance information
  • Witness statements and their contact information
  • Photos of the scene
  • Time, date, and location of the accident
  • Any tickets issued (reckless driving, failing to yield, distracted driving, etc)
  • If the car accident is not investigated by police, the drivers have five days to file a written report of the incident. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provides the Driver’s Accident Reports on their website. This form will allow the driver to report a car accident and provide all details necessary from the accident. The Driver’s Accident Report will request information such as:

  • All involved parties and their contact information
  • Vehicle information for all vehicles involved (license plate number, VIN, make and model, etc)
  • Any injuries sustained
  • Insurance information for all parties involved
  • A detailed description of the incident as well as a drawing of the incident
  • Impact points on the vehicle
  • Weather conditions
  • Speed of vehicles when they collided with each other
  • Anything else pertaining to the accident
  • Obtaining A Car Accident Police Report In Philadelphia

    Once a police report has been filed, either through a police officer or through the Driver’s Accident Report, it will be filed with the department that took the report. Depending upon where the car accident happened in Philadelphia, the state or city police may be called to tend to the scene. If the car accident is investigated by state police, a copy of the police report can be obtained through Pennsylvania State Police Department.

    Most police reports for car accidents are available approximately two weeks after the date it was filed. It is recommended by the Philadelphia Department of Records to wait 2-3 weeks before requesting a copy of a police report for a car accident.

    Obtaining A Car Accident Police Report By Mail

  • To obtain a police report for a car accident by mail, the driver must fill out an Accident Report Application. The individual who is requesting a copy of the police report must have the following information:
  • Date & location of the accident
  • District control number
  • Philadelphia code
  • Driver’s name
  • Insured party
  • Government-issued ID
  • If the person requesting a copy of the police report does not have a government-issued ID, they need to attach this form to their Accident Report Application that provides documentation to prove identification.

    Once the Accident Report Application has been filled out, payment for the copy of the report must be included. It is $25 to request a copy of a car accident police report. If the accident involved serious injury or death, then most of the time photos of the scene can be requested as well. To request a photo is $27 for the first copy and $9 for any additional prints.

    Once payment is included the report request can be mailed to this address –
    Department of Records, Traffic Accident Reports, Room 168
    Philadelphia, PA 19107

    It is important to note that when an individual is requesting a copy of a car accident police report by mail they must include:
    Correctly filled out Accident Report Application
    Payment for a copy of the police report
    Self-addressed stamped envelope

    Obtaining A Car Accident Police Report In Person

    Obtaining a copy of a police report for a car accident is much simpler in person. To obtain a copy all that the individual needs to do is visit the Records Department which is located in room 170 at City Hall. Their hours are 8:30 am until 4:15 pm Monday through Friday.

    Who Can Request A Copy Of A Car Accident Police Report?

    In order to keep individuals’ information and life events private, only a select number of people can request a copy of a police report for a car accident. These can include:
    Individuals involved in the accident
    Insurance Adjusters/companies
    Injury attorneys representing a client
    Other government agencies

    How A Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help 

    We have provided the process needed to obtain a copy of a police report for a car accident in Philadelphia. Your insurer may provide this report for you, but it is only one of many steps you will need to take following an accident involving a pedestrian or car. It is recommended to consult with an attorney if you have a claim that is more complex than just property damage. In the event you do hire an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney, most of the time they will be able to request a copy of the report on your behalf. They will also look over the case and notify you of your options, and how they are going to protect your right to compensation.

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