An accident report contains the details surrounding a car accident—what happened in a traffic crash, the date of the crash, who was involved, any property damage, and any injuries.
What is an accident report?
An accident report records the details from a car accident. Crash records are an important part of filing a claim with an insurance company. A copy of the report could help decide who is at-fault in the accident and determine who pays for necessary repairs, property damage, or medical bills.
When do you need an accident report?
Not all car accidents require an accident report. It’s not necessary to call a police officer for a minor motor vehicle accident.
However, here is when you should contact the police department to send out a police officer to file an official police report:
- If it’s more than a fender bender
- If the car accident is part of a crime, i.e., driving while impaired or driving a stolen vehicle
- If a driver, passenger, or pedestrian needs medical treatment as a result of the car accident
- If the car accident is work-related
- If you plan on filing a claim with your insurance company
- If you’re the victim of a hit and run accident
Depending on your state, you have 5 to 30 days after a traffic accident to file an accident report. If you fail to do so, the DMV could take enforcement action, up to and including suspending your license.
What information goes on an accident report template?
If you’ve called the police department, wait at the scene of the accident until the police officer arrives. They will collect all the information needed for the police report from you and the other driver.
But if you’re just exchanging information with the other driver and plan on filing a driver’s crash report with a law enforcement agency later, you’ll need to collect these things:
- Insurance company information, including policy number
- Driver’s name, date of birth, and contact and insurance information
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Place and time of accident
- Road conditions and any other relevant information
- Vehicle information such as the make and model
A driver’s crash report is a fillable form that you complete and file with the police department, called a CR-2 form in some states. The official form completed by the law enforcement officer will have a different name.
What happens after filing a report form?
Once a law enforcement agency has filed the police report, you’ll need the report number to give to your insurance company. They’ll review the accident report and any crash data to assist with their investigation and work with the other driver’s insurance company to cover repairs or medical bills, if necessary.