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How to Read Your Virginia Car Accident Report

When you’re injured in a car crash in Virginia, the Police Crash Report prepared by the investigating officer becomes a key piece of evidence. An insurance company will review the report as part of its determination of fault for the accident. Moreover, if your case goes to trial and the investigating officer must testify (often a year or more after the crash occurred), their testimony will most likely be based on the report.

Knowing what your report says is important because of the effects it can have on the outcome of your claim. Here’s what you need to look for:

Virginia Police Crash Report

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/va_fr300_rev7_2007.pdf 

Virginia Accident Report page 1

Page 1

The first block is a general overview of the crash, including the date, time, location, and number of vehicles involved. 

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

On the left and right side, the first and second vehicles involved in the crash are described. (If more than two vehicles were involved, additional pages are used.) Each block describes the driver of the vehicle, including name, contact information, and driver’s license information. The report documents whether safety equipment like a seatbelt was worn, how severe the known injuries were, and whether the driver was given a citation – all of which can affect liability.

Below the driver information, the vehicles themselves are described, including the owner, year, make, model, license plate, and vehicle identification number (VIN) as well as the name of the insurance company. This section also notes the vehicles speed at the time of the crash, which can affect fault if the vehicle was speeding or driving too fast for the conditions.

The report documents the total number of passengers in each vehicle, but only passengers injured or killed in the accident are individually named in the report. The passenger section notes each injured passenger’s name, seating position in the vehicle, whether a seatbelt was worn, and the severity of their known injuries.

Refer to the codes at the bottom of the page to interpret the information in the previous sections.

Virginia Accident Report page 2

Page 2

This page is critical for a potential claim, as it contains a wealth of information used to determine fault.

The left side of the report focuses on the involved drivers, beginning with their actions leading up to the crash. It includes information on driver impairment, distraction, and impaired visibility (which seems innocuous but can contribute to liability if the driver was going too fast or otherwise operating recklessly).

The right side focuses on the vehicles, including the body type, maneuvers made, and condition. Defective or poorly maintained vehicles often cause accidents, so this section, too, matters for liability purposes. This page also documents the amount of damage to each vehicle.

Virginia Accident Report page 3

Page 3

This page describes the conditions at the scene of the crash, including weather, light, traffic controls, and the roadway surface. Any road defects or other environmental conditions that may have contributed to the accident should be documented here.

If the crash took place in a work zone or school zone, additional information is provided on this page.

In the bottom right, the investigating officer identifies the general type of crash, such as rear-end or head-on.

Virginia Accident Report page 4

Page 4

The investigating officer draws a diagram of the crash on this page, including the position and direction of travel of each vehicle, the roadway, traffic signals and signage, skid marks, and other visual information.

If there was any non-vehicle property damage (like a fence, guardrail, or building), it’s documented here.

Read through the written description carefully. Officers often use this space to record information that doesn’t fit elsewhere in the report.

The officer documents the sequence of events that happened to each vehicle using the codes at the bottom of the page, including the most harmful event – which is defined as the event that caused the most severe injury or greatest property damage for each vehicle.

The officer also documents the first harmful event of the entire crash, which is typically the first collision.

Virginia Accident Report page 5

Page 5

This is a supplemental page only used for serious crashes involving commercial vehicles, defined as any vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds, seats at least nine people, or transports hazardous materials.

For each commercial vehicle, the officer documents the configuration, body type, and type of driver’s license required to operate it. If any hazardous material was involved in the crash, that is also documented here.

The report documents the name and contact information of the commercial carrier, which can be critical if the carrier is found liable for the accident.

Virginia Accident Report page 6

Page 6

This is a supplemental page used if the crash involved a pedestrian, or if there is space needed for additional injured passengers.

Each pedestrians’ name and contact information are documented here, along with the extent of their injuries.

The investigating officer documents each pedestrian’s actions during the collision, as well as any contributing circumstances such as alcohol use or fatigue.

Any additional injured passengers who did not fit on the first page are documented on this page.

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