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Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?

Generally, the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t require all kinds of car accidents to be reported at the time of the crash. The nature of the accident and the degree of injury and damage caused will determine whether or not an accident is reportable. Whether you’re involved in a minor or major crash in the state of Pennsylvania, it’s always advised that you contact the police at the time of the incident, because a police report would be highly beneficial at the point you file an insurance claim.


Under Pa. C.S.A. § 3744, the state of Pennsylvania requires drivers to report a car collision under the following circumstances;

  • If anyone dies or sustains a bodily injury at the time of the collision.
  • If as a result of the collision, a vehicle gets damaged to the extent that it can’t move on its own except it’s towed away from the accident scene.
  • If a hit and run has occurred

In Pennsylvania, the law mandates all drivers involved in a collision as explained above, to report to the police immediately. In a case where the negligent driver is dead or badly injured, any of the drivers involved in the accident can report to the police. The law also requires that car accidents be reported within five days of the collision. If the police do not respond to the accident, each driver involved in the collision is required to file a report with Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (DOT).


In Pennsylvania, drivers that are involved in minor accidents are not required to report to the police. The term “minor” in this context is further defined as follows;

  • Car collisions where there are no deaths or bodily injuries
  • Car collisions where the cars involved are not damaged badly and may be driven out of the scene in their own
  • Car collisions that occurred on private property such as driveways and commercial parking lots with no injuries and severe damages.

These minor accidents may be classified as non-reportable but it’s always safe to report all collisions to the police. As a victim of a collision caused by a negligent driver who may wish to file an insurance claim, a police report would be advantageous to your case.

Why is it important to report to the police immediately after a car accident?

Most times, traffic accidents leave their victims in a confused state with lots of frustrating thoughts. While battling with those emotions, the negligent driver(s) may appear defensive without plans of compensating for damages caused.

In this situation, the most appropriate step to take is to invite the police to the scene of the accident. The police are not just officers of the law, but neutral parties who will detect all issues at the accident scene. Most importantly, the police report is an important step to ensure your success while filing insurance claims.

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