We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I File an Accident Report?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Feb 19, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Accident reports are documents that are created, reported, and filed at the time that some type of accident takes place. While an accident report may be filed as an internal document, such as in a manufacturing plant, the more common reference to this type of report has to do with creating and filing an accident report with local authorities. The exact procedures vary from one jurisdiction to another, but there are a few basics that apply in most cases.

For most people, accident reporting takes place at the time of a traffic accident. The law enforcement officials who arrive at the scene of the accident usually initiate the process. As part of the investigation, the police take statements from everyone present at the site of the accident. This will include the drivers of all vehicles involved in the accident as well as any passengers or other witnesses. The idea behind the investigation is to gather as much relevant data regarding the origin of the accident as possible.

As the officers receive data from each participant or witness, they begin to create a structure of the chain of events that led to the accident. Often, the officers will ask clarifying questions of each person at the accident site, making sure they have a correct understanding of the role each vehicle played in the mishap. Because the findings of the investigation will be used to create and file a police accident report, it is imperative that the data be as complete and accurate as possible.

In order to accomplish this task in an orderly fashion, many law enforcement agencies make use of an accident report form. The form helps to provide specific questions regarding the placement of each vehicle in the line of traffic, account for any traffic signs that are in the area, and in general make it possible to create a correct diagram of the scene. The form will also provide a list of specific questions that the officers will use to guide the investigation, including queries on any physical damage to any of the passengers or drivers. The officers document any evidence that alcohol or other mind-altering substances were in use at the time the accident occurred.

Once the officers have completed the investigation, they go over the details with each of the principals. If no other details can be presented that impact the recreation of the chain of events, the officers will submit the report to the local police station, where it is retained on file. From there, the principals can review and request a copy of the traffic accident report for filing with insurance companies or in preparation for filing a suit related to the accident.

In some jurisdictions, a car accident report can electronically transmitted from the site to a central database housed at the local police station. This transmission is made possible by wireless connections that allow the investigating officers to access the database and immediately file the report. The expedited filing of the accident report makes it possible for copies to be obtain without the one to two day waiting period that is common when the report is filed manually.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGEEK, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Read more
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.