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How to Read Your Pennsylvania Police Accident Report

When you’re involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania, evidence plays a critical role in your claim. One of the most important pieces of evidence is the police accident report, known as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Police Crash Reporting Form (AA 500). Insurance companies review the crash report when determining fault, and if the police officer is asked to testify in a deposition or at trial, their testimony will likely be based on the report.

Reading through a police report can be difficult. We’ve provided this free guide to understand your report.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Police Crash Reporting Form (AA 500)

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/pa_par_aaa_500_12_2002.pdf

Pennsylvania Accident Report page 1

Page 1 (AA 500 1)

Block 1 identifies the investigating officer and agency. Take note of the arrival time and compare to the crash time below; often, the police officer does not arrive for many minutes or even hours after the crash.

Click here to download a printable PDF of How to Read Your Pennsylvania Police Accident Report.

Block 2 gives the location, date, and time of the crash, as well as the number of traffic units (vehicles or other road users) involved, number of people, and number of injuries and fatalities.

The remainder of the page describes the location of the crash. If the crash took place at an intersection, the roads are identified as the Principal Road in block 3 and the Intersecting Road in block 5. The investigating officer also fills in nearby landmarks, GPS data, traffic control and lane closure information.

Pennsylvania Accident Report page 2

Unit Page (AA 500 2)

This page describes a single unit – a vehicle or other road user involved in the accident. One copy of this page is used for each vehicle.

Block 10 identifies the unit type, such as a moving vehicle, hit and run vehicle, non-motorized vehicle, or pedestrian.

Block 11 Is all about the operator of the unit in question, including name, contact information, and license information. If any drug or alcohol use was suspected, or if tests were performed, it’s documented here. Pay attention to the physical condition information on the right side; if the driver was intoxicated or impaired by fatigue or medication, that may affect liability. Any citations are also noted.

Block 12 is about the vehicle itself, including the owner’s contact information, the VIN, license plate and other identifying information, and insurance information. This section also documents the vehicle’s position and direction of travel at the time of the crash, and how and where it was damaged.

Pennsylvania Accident Report page 3

Person Page (AA 500 3)

This page is all about the people who were involved in the accident, including drivers, passengers, and non-motorists. If the accident involved more than six people, additional copies of this page are used.

Block 13 documents whether emergency medical services were called; if so, it lists the name of the agency and the medical facility.

In block 14, the unit number listed for each person should correspond to the unit number of the vehicle they were traveling in.

Each person’s name, date of birth, and contact information is listed here. The codes used on this page indicate seating position, whether safety devices were used, whether the person was ejected from or trapped in a vehicle, and how severe their injuries were.

Pennsylvania Accident Report page 4

Page Five (AA 500 4)

This page documents the conditions that led to the accident and the sequence of events in the accident.

Block 15 provides an overall description of the crash, such as head-on or rear-end, and indicates where and in what conditions it occurred.

Blocks 16 and 17 describe the harmful events that the vehicles were involved in. For each vehicle, the officer fills in up to four harmful events in sequential order, using the codes listed on the right side. Section 17 documents the first harmful event and the most harmful event.

Blocks 18 and 19 are critical, as they document actions and conditions that may have caused the crash – meaning they will affect the determination of fault. Section 19 documents the “Indicated Prime Factor,” or the primary cause of the crash, but remember that this is the investigating officer’s opinion, not the final word.

Pennsylvania Accident Report page 5

Diagram & Narrative (AA 500 5)

Block 20 is the officer’s pictorial diagram of the crash, which should include all vehicles’ positions and directions of travel, as well as the roadway and any skid marks.

Block 21 lists contact information for witnesses and the officer’s written narrative of what happened. Read through this carefully; it often contains information not found anywhere else in the report. 

Car Accidents Assistance Accident Report

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