The Role of Police Reports in a Berks County Car Accident Claim

When law enforcement responds to the scene of a car accident, they complete a police report, detailing the specifics of the collision. As an official document, the report is a critical piece of evidence that insurance companies and the courts use to determine the validity of a personal injury claim.  

The Significance of Police Reports in Car Accident Claims 

Completed by a law enforcement officer at the scene, a police report is an objective account of the car accident. It provides contact information of the parties involved and the collision details, including the time, date, and location. The report also includes witness statements and the officer’s description of weather and road conditions. In addition, the report indicates any traffic or other violations observed at the scene. 

The police report serves as a credible and unbiased encapsulation of the sequence of events that culminated in the traffic accident. Used by legal professionals, insurance companies, and the courts to establish liability, an officer’s report is a critical supporting document that helps determine the appropriate compensation for property damage and personal injury claims. 

How To Obtain a Police Report in Berks County 

As stipulated in Pennsylvania’s 75 Pa. C.S. § 3751, the following people or entities may request a copy of the police report: 

  • Any person involved in the crash 
  • Involved persons’ attorneys 
  • Insurer 
  • The federal government 
  • Branches of the military service 
  • Commonwealth agencies 
  • Officials of political subdivisions or agencies 
  • Other states 
  • Other nations and their political subdivisions 

In the event the collision involves pending criminal charges, the “police department may refuse to furnish a complete copy” of the accident report, “unless the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure” require the document release. 

Request a Car Accident Report From Berks County or Pennsylvania State Police 

You will need to contact either Central Berks Regional Police Department or the Pennsylvania State Police, depending on whether it’s a reportable or nonreportable accident. 

Central Berks Regional Police Department 

Berks County guidelines designate between reportable and nonreportable accident forms.  

When an investigating officer takes a report of either a reportable or nonreportable accident, you will be provided with a case or report number. It’s important to keep the number to identify the case. 

Reportable Accidents 

Generally, a reportable accident involves one or both of the following: 

  • Any injury 
  • A vehicle that needed to be towed from the scene 

Reportable accidents are handled by the Pennsylvania State Police. To obtain a report, you must wait 15 days from the date of the accident before submitting the request. 

The state police accept either online or mailed requests. 

  • Submit an online accident report 
  • Complete the state police application 
  • Include $22.00 as a signed money order or certified check payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 

Nonreportable Accidents 

Nonreportable accidents do not meet the above criteria. 

You can obtain a Central Berks Regional Police Department form at 2147 Perkiomen Avenue, Reading, PA 19606.  

  • Reports only contain driver and vehicle information 
  • Cost $15.00-cash or check 
  • Typically, available within 24 hours of the accident 

Analyzing the Police Report for Your Claim 

Following is a breakdown of the general information contained in the police report, officially known as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Police Crash Reporting Form (AA 500)

Page 1 (AA 500 1): 

  • Section 1: Investigating officer and agency, and arrival time 
  • Section 2: The date, time, and location of the accident; number of involved vehicles; number of people involved with injuries and fatalities 
  • Section 3: Specifics about the crash location, including cross streets, landmarks, and traffic controls 

Page 2 (AA 500 2): Each vehicle or involved person requires a separate page 2 

  • Block 10: Designates the type of road user involved, such as a pedestrian or moving or parked vehicle 
  • Block 11: All pertinent information about Unit 1’s operator, including driver’s license number, contact information, suspected use of drugs or alcohol, and sobriety test results 
  • Block 12: Vehicle information: owner’s name, VIN and plate numbers, direction of travel prior to accident, and position after 

Page 3 (AA 500 3): Each page accommodates the information of up to six people involved in the accident. More pages may be used as needed. 

  • Block 13: Record of emergency vehicle agency and medical facility if required 
  • Block 14: Unit number of each person corresponds to unit number of vehicle they were in, personal and contact information, codes correlating to seating position, safety devices worn, whether they were ejected or not, and severity of injuries 

Page 4 (AA 500 4): Road and weather conditions as well as sequence of events 

  • Block 15: General description of the crash 
  • Blocks 16 & 17: Using the codes provided, the officer lists up to four codes for each vehicle, indicating the harmful events that led to the collision in sequential order 
  • Blocks 18 & 19: Codes indicate the actions and conditions that contributed to the accident, with Block 19 delineating the “Indicated Prime Factor” 

Page 5 (AA 500 4): The officer’s diagram and narrative of what occurred 

  • Block 20: Diagram of all vehicles’ direction of travel prior to the accident, and their position after, including skid marks 
  • Block 21: Witness names and contact info, and officer’s narrative of what occurred 

When There Is No Police Report 

You may be able to file a claim without a police report; however, it’s imperative to contact a car accident attorney in Berks County as soon as possible to assist with gathering pertinent facts, documentation, and witness statements. Memories fade, another driver’s story may change when pressed for details, and you may lose critical video documentation if too much time elapses. 

Although there are exceptions, Pennsylvania also caps the deadline to file at two years from the date of the accident. 

Contact an Experienced Berks County Personal Injury Attorney 

While there are instances when you may be able to pursue an insurance claim for a car accident without a police report, it’s in your best interest to go through the appropriate channels and officially document the incident. 

A police report is considered a credible and objective account of the events that led up to and caused the collision. Contact the knowledgeable legal team at Larry Pitt & Associates for a free, no-obligation review of your car accident claim. 



Larry Pitt

Larry Pitt

If you've been injured, Larry Pitt & Associates can provide you with the legal assistance and representation you need to ensure that justice is served. Get in touch today for a free consultation to discuss your case. Whether it’s a work injury, auto accident, medical malpractice, or any other injury-related matter, we are here to help make sure your rights and interests are respected. We understand the stress and frustration that can accompany an injury, and we are committed to providing thorough legal guidance and support throughout the entire process.