How to Read an Accident Report

Accident reports consist of information relevant to a motor vehicle crash. When an officer arrives at the accident scene to investigate, they typically write a report and submit it to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The report should include the people involved, a description of events leading up to the accident, and other necessary details. There’s also a section where the investigating officer can draw a diagram to show how the collision happened.

Many people find it challenging to read an accident report. It can be confusing to review all the information and decipher what everything means.

Below are the sections you can find in an accident report and what they entail, so you understand what you’re reading. To learn about requesting an accident report, click here

Basic Details

The first box typically contains basic information regarding the crash, including:

  • Crash report number
  • Location of the accident
  • Name of the officer investigating the scene
  • Date and time of the accident

Information About the Drivers

This section includes information about the drivers involved in the accident. The report should contain details about each driver, such as:

  • Name and contact information
  • Year, color, make, and model of the vehicle
  • Name of the auto insurance carrier, policy number, and policyholder’s name
  • License plate and vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Car owner’s name, address, and phone number
  • Driver’s license number and state that issued it

Occupants of the Vehicles and Non-Motorists

Another section of the accident report provides information about passengers in the cars and non-motorists involved in the collision. Details can include:

  • Passenger name and position in the vehicle
  • Addresses and contact information for each person
  • Names and phone numbers of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists

Details About the Crash

This section includes details associated with the accident, such as:

  • Condition of the road
  • Type of traffic citation issued and the name of the person receiving the citation
  • The direction of travel for each car before the accident
  • Vehicle defects, such as broken tail lights or malfunctioning braking system
  • Weather conditions
  • Whether the crash occurred at night or during the day and the light conditions
  • Point of impact of the vehicles, such as the rear or front
  • Cause of the collision
  • Actions of any pedestrians involved
  • Whether a car collided with a telephone pole, another vehicle, a pedestrian, or another object

Other Information

Some sections contain additional details about the accident, such as:

  • Type of injuries vehicle occupants and non-motorists suffered
  • Whether anyone requested ambulance services and needed transportation to a hospital
  • Skid marks, road debris, and other information related to the crash
  • Type of damage to each car, the location of the damage, and the estimated cost of repair

Narrative and Diagram

The last section of the accident report includes two boxes. One is for a written description of the crash, and the other is for a visual depiction of what happened.

The investigating officer can use the boxes to describe what the drivers were doing and the direction their vehicles were traveling in before the accident. The diagram can depict the location of the cars and where they ended up after the impact.

Law enforcement can also speak to witnesses and include their accounts of the events leading up to the crash.

Why You Should Request a Copy of the Accident Report

car accident medical bills
A car accident can bring your life to a screeching halt and cause a range of issues. You need medical treatment and might have to take time off work to attend your appointments. Some people experience financial strain if they can’t afford to pay their medical bills and related expenses.

It can be an overwhelming situation for anyone. It’s crucial to hire a car accident lawyer to discuss the available legal options. If you are entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver, you need sufficient evidence to submit to the insurance company.

The accident report can be a valuable element in your case. Your lawyer can request a copy and review the information. The investigating officer might have determined someone else is responsible, allowing you to hold them liable. The information in the report could help you show what happened, and that you deserve to be compensated for your losses.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer from Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A.

Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. has fought for the rights of accident victims since 1978. We always work hard to meet our clients’ needs and try to reach the best possible outcome. When you’re struggling to recover, you shouldn’t be forced to take on the responsibility for filing a claim or a lawsuit. Let us relieve you of this burden and handle everything on your behalf.

If you were injured in a car accident due to someone’s negligent actions, contact Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. immediately. Our legal team is available 24/7 to discuss what happened and advise you about what we can do for you. You can count on us to hold the negligent driver accountable for their wrongdoing and aggressively pursue the compensation you’re owed.

Call us at 561.689.8180 right now for a free consultation with one of our Florida car accident attorneys.

Last Updated : December 7, 2023

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