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How to Read Your Massachusetts Car Accident Report

When a car accident occurs in Massachusetts, the investigating officer’s report, called a Commonwealth of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Police Report, is a key piece of evidence in any resulting claims. Insurance companies use the report to determine fault for the crash. If a case ends up going to trial and the investigating officer is called upon to testify, their testimony will likely be based on the report.

It’s important that you know how to review your report and understand what it says. Here is what you need to know.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Police Report

Massachusetts Accident Report page 1

Page 1

The top of the first page gives an overview of the accident, including the date, time, location, number of vehicles, and number of injuries. If the crash occurred at an intersection, both roadways are named in the report; if it did not, the road where it happened, as well as landmarks for reference, are used for the location.

Click here to download a printable PDF of How to Read Your Massachusetts Car Accident Report.

The remaining sections describe individual vehicles involved in the crash, starting with the contact and license information of the operator and owner of each vehicle. This section also includes the vehicle’s insurance information, direction of travel, and location of any property damage.

Pay particular attention to any citations issued as well as the “driver contributing code” information, as this can play a significant role in establishing fault.

The end of each vehicle section lists all the occupants of the vehicle, beginning with the operator. For each person, the report documents whether seatbelts or other safety devices were used, whether an airbag deployed, whether the person was ejected or trapped, and whether they were injured. (Note that not all injuries are immediately known.)

Massachusetts Accident Report page 2

Page 2

The investigating officer draws a diagram of the crash, using numbered boxes to indicate the vehicles involved. The diagram should show the sequence of events that led to the accident.

The officer also writes a brief narrative of how the accident occurred. Review this carefully, as it may contain information that didn’t fit anywhere else in the report.

Any witnesses to the accident are listed here.

If there was any non-vehicle property damage (for instance, if a car struck a fence or sign), it’s listed here.

The final section is additional information about the carrier if the crash involved a commercial vehicle.

Massachusetts Accident Report page 3

Exchange Form

This form is given to the involved parties after the crash. It repeats some of the information from the first page and includes instructions for obtaining the operator crash report, as well as a copy of the police report.

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