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How to Read Your Washington Car Accident Report

When Washington police officers investigate car crashes, they fill out a State of Washington Police Traffic Collision Report. If the car accident in question later leads to a deposition or trial and the investigating officer is called to testify, their testimony will most likely be based on the report. Insurance companies also use the report itself to determine fault and decide whether to approve or deny a claim.

The insurance company will carefully review your accident report, and you should, too. Here’s how to read it.

State of Washington Police Traffic Collision Report

Washington Accident Report code page 1

Code Page 

This page defines the numerical codes used throughout the report. Refer to this page as you review your report in order to understand the information in it.

Washington Accident Report page 1

Report Page 1 

The first section of this page gives a general overview of the crash itself, including the time, date, location, and number of traffic units (that is, motor vehicles or bicycles) involved. The codes used in the boxes to the left represent the conditions in which the accident took place.

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

Each traffic unit is described on this page, beginning with the driver’s name and contact information. If the driver holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL), that information is also documented here. The investigating officer records the severity of the driver’s injuries; keep in mind that not all injuries may have been known at the time the report was written.

After the driver, the vehicle itself is described, including the license plate, vehicle identification number (VIN), year, make, and model, and owner’s contact information. The report also documents where the vehicle was damaged.

At the bottom, the officer’s name and agency are reported.

Washington Accident Report page 2

Page 2

This page lists any passengers involved in the crash or witnesses to the crash, including names, contact information, and for passengers, seating position and injury information. The unit number recorded for each passenger matches the unit number for the vehicle they were riding in.

The investigating officer draws a diagram, which should include each vehicle’s position and direction of travel as well as the roadway and any signage.

Read through the narrative carefully, as it may include information not found elsewhere in the report.

Washington Accident Report page 3

Supplemental Page

This page is used when an accident involves a commercial vehicle, or when more than two vehicles are involved.

The commercial motor carrier section includes the carrier’s name, contact information and identifying information, as well as the type of commercial vehicle. This can be critical information if the commercial carrier is found at fault for the accident.

Additional units (e.g. a third, fourth, and fifth vehicle) are listed on this page, in the same manner as the first page. Liability in multi-vehicle accidents can become quite complicated, so if this page is included in your report, it’s even more important to review it thoroughly.

Car Accidents Assistance Accident Report

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