How to Read an Accident Report

How to Read an Accident Report >

How to Read an Accident ReportAccident reports contain details regarding motor vehicle accidents. Whether you were a driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist, you should request a copy of the report. The investigating officer could have included helpful information you can use to prove someone else is at fault for the crash and that they should pay for your injuries and losses from the accident.

Some accident reports can be confusing. Many people don’t understand the details these documents contain. You should review the sections below to understand everything while reading your New Jersey accident report.

Basic Information

The top of any accident report often contains basic details of the crash, such as:

  • Location of the accident, including the street number, street name, city or town, and state
  • Date and time the crash occurred
  • Total number of injuries and fatalities
  • Name of the police department investigating the crash
  • Case number

Driver Information

Another section of the police report includes details about the driver. If more than one driver is involved, multiple sections will consist of the necessary information for each person. Details often included in this section are:

  • Driver’s full name
  • Sex
  • Insurance carrier and policy number
  • Address and phone number
  • Driver’s license number, state, and expiration date
  • Date of birth
  • Vehicle owner’s name and address

Vehicle Information

How to Read an Accident ReportDetails regarding the types of vehicles involved in the accident are often under the driver information section. Information you can find in this section includes:

  • Make, model, color, and year of the vehicle
  • License plate number
  • VIN
  • Whether a towing company hauled the vehicle away or the driver drove the car from the crash scene
  • Results of a chemical test given to the driver
  • Whether hazardous material was in a vehicle or spilled onto the road
  • Motor carrier name and number of commercial trucks involved in the accident
  • Weight of the commercial truck
  • Type of damage to property
  • Type of traffic citation and summons number issued to anyone involved in the accident
  • Officer’s signature and badge number
  • Name of the person who reviewed the report and their badge number

Vehicle Occupants

Another section shows the information for occupants in the vehicles. This section includes:

  • Name and address
  • Age
  • Physical condition
  • Position in the vehicle
  • Date and time of death if killed in the crash
  • Equipment used in the car, such as a seatbelt
  • Whether ejected from the car during the collision
  • Location and type of the injury
  • Whether medical attention was necessary and the code for the hospital
  • Whether airbag deployed

Apparent Contributing Circumstances

One page of the accident report shows a range of factors contributing to the crash. The report contains details, such as:

  • Road and environmental factors
  • Actions taken by the driver, such as speeding or tailgating
  • Actions taken by a pedestrian or pedal cyclist
  • Vehicle factors, such as defective lights
  • Pedestrian factors, such as inattention, walking on the wrong side of the road or failing to obey a traffic sign
  • Physical status of people involved in the crash
  • Traffic control devices
  • The sequence of events associated with the accident
  • Location of the impact

Crash Description

One particular section could be useful during your case. The crash description section is where the investigating officer can write details about the crash. It could include the events leading up to the accident, such as each driver’s actions and the direction of travel for every vehicle.

The crash description section can also contain the officer’s determination of fault. If they believe one driver or another party’s actions are responsible for the accident, they could indicate that in the report. Law enforcement can also utilize this section to explain how they handled the situation and whether they made any arrests or issued traffic citations.

Crash Diagram

The diagram is a space the investigating officer can use to reconstruct the accident. Common details shown in this section include:

  • The direction each driver was driving before the crash
  • The point of impact during the collision
  • Where the vehicles ended up after the accident
  • What the drivers were doing at the time of the crash, such as turning left or backing out of a parking space

Contact Us

Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers has decades of experience handling car accident cases for New Jersey clients. We know how to investigate crashes to determine fault and locate evidence to hold people liable for their actions. Your injury resulted from someone else’s carelessness, and that person should be financially responsible for your medical bills and other expenses.

If you sustained an injury in a car crash due to someone’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact the New Jersey car accident lawyers of Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers. We can meet you for a free consultation at one of our five conveniently located offices. We can also come to you if you can’t come to us. Call us at (973) 364-8300 right now.

Written by: Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers Last Updated : August 24, 2023
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