Accident Report: Legal Definition

An accident report is a document that includes details about an accident including the type and how it happened.

A detailed accident report will likely be required in the aftermath of an accident, whether it is a car, motorcycle, truck, bicycle, pedestrian, slip and fall, or construction accident to establish liability.  In the case of an automobile or other accident which happens in traffic, a police officer will likely be called to the scene. For all other situations, drivers or other interested parties may need to write their own reports.

If you have been involved in an accident, for insurance and legal purposes, you should prepare your own accident report or obtain the official report from the police.

What To Include in an Accident Report

When it comes to filing a report after an accident, no matter where or how it occurred, more information is always better than less. There are certain key items your report should include, and you should try to remain as objective as possible.

Key Details of the Accident

This is essentially the who, what, where, when, and why of the accident itself. Record the location, time and date of the accident. If possible, take photos or videos of the scene from a variety of angles, and include skid marks or debris. If the accident occurred on public streets, note the street names, and the exact location in the street where the accident occurred.

Environmental Factors That May Have Contributed

Whether you are involved in a traffic or slip and fall accident, the conditions at the time of the accident may be critical. Note if the surfaces were wet or dry, whether it was day or night, and how much light was available. Also note any specific landmarks such as signs, vegetation, buildings, or fences that may have hampered visibility or safety.

Include a Diagram or Map

In addition to your written report of the accident, it is helpful to create a simple diagram of the scene, showing the location of vehicles (if appropriate) and any other relevant factors, including witnesses and bystanders. In the case of a traffic accident, indicate the position, direction and speed of the vehicles involved, the position at impact, and the final position after the accident.

Include Detailed Contact Information

Be sure to include contact information for the primary people involved in the accident, along with passengers, bystanders, and witnesses if possible. Note their names, addresses, contact information (phone and email), age and gender.

For drivers, note the make, model, and year of the vehicle, license plate information, driver’s license number, and insurance policy information. If any injuries occurred, include the severity and hospital information if necessary.

Depending on the circumstances, you may not be able to create your accident report immediately after the accident. However, the sooner you can, the better, while details are fresh in your mind. Bear in mind, you do have a time limit, as Arizona statutes require you to take legal action on your case within two years.

Note: If the police showed up at the scene, you can just obtain the official report rather than doing all this work yourself.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been involved in an accident, whether it happened in traffic, in a public place, or on a construction site, Zanes Law may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Call 866-499-8989 today for a free case review. We do everything from A to Z.

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