How to Read a Virginia Car Accident Police Report
Practical advice from Roanoke car accident law firm dedicated to delivering results
The Department of Motor Vehicles for the Commonwealth of Virginia has a standard form police officers and state troopers fill out for all auto accidents. Insurance companies carefully analyze the information on this form to determine how much money to pay accident victims.
We can help you understand what the findings on your form mean. As a special service, we created this guide. If you need help interpreting your crash report, contact us as soon as possible. We can carefully go through your accident report with you line by line. We can answer your questions and discuss your options, free of charge.
Information is power. The more you know about your accident, the stronger your case. That's why we want to work with you to develop a strategy that addresses your specific accident. Attorney Davis and his colleagues have decades of experience. Put that knowledge to work for you. Contact us. Call (866) 434-1581 and schedule a free case evaluation.
Your Virginia Police Crash Report explained, page by page
Information about the drivers involved in the accident can be found in this section. Pay close attention to the box marked "Injury Type." The codes for this box can be found in the lower right corner. Make sure you agree with the investigating police officer's assessment of the driver's injuries. Also note if the driver was cited or charged by police for offenses, including drunk driving. This information can be found in the box marked "Offenses Charged to Driver."
This section contains a wealth of information about injuries to passengers in your accident. If this section is blank, that means the investigating officer believes that no passengers were hurt in your crash. Make sure the police officer who completed this form correctly entered the passenger's name, birthdate, position in vehicle and injury type.
Type of Accident
This detailed page focuses primarily on the type of accident involving you or your loved one. Critical information about your crash can be found here, particularly in Section P1 labeled "Driver's Action." This 43-answer, multiple-choice section contains some of the most common causes and types of accidents, including "exceeding speed limit," "following too close" and "hit and run." This page also contains information if your accident involved a driver asleep at the wheel (Section P2, "Condition of Driver Contributing to the Crash"), a distracted driver (Section P4, "Type of Driver Distractions") or a drunk driver (Section P5, "Drinking").
This page describes conditions that could have contributed to the cause of your accident. These include "Weather Condition" (ranging from "No Adverse Condition" to "Rain," "Snow" or "Sleet/Hail") and "Light Conditions" (including "Dawn," "Daylight" and three choices for "Darkness" depending on the road lighting conditions). You will also find information here about what type of collision occurred. The choices in Section C18 include "Rear End," "Head On," "Pedestrian," "Bicyclist" or "Motorcyclist." Verify all this information.
This page on your report contains space for the investigating police officer to draw a diagram of your accident. Make sure the diagram matches your memory of the accident. If the vehicles in the diagram are positioned differently or look out of place, contact us. We can help set the record straight. We can talk with you, review damage to the vehicles and information to create a more accurate diagram of your accident. Insurance companies pay close attention to the diagram on this page. We will too!
Commercial Motor Vehicle Accidents
Accidents involving commercial trucks in Virginia often involve serious injuries and significant expenses. Commercial vehicles include tractor-trailers, flatbed trucks, dump trucks, buses and logging trucks. A specific box exists for each type of truck in these multiple choice answers. This page also includes information about whether hazardous materials were spilled during the accident. This information can be found in a box labeled "HM Cargo Released," along with a yes or no answer.
Pedestrian Accidents and Passenger Injuries
These two topics are covered on this page of the Virginia Police Crash Report. The top half of the page is devoted to pedestrian accidents. What the pedestrian was doing just before the accident can be found in Section P10, "Pedestrian Actions." The 20 choices include "Crossing at Intersection With Signal" and "Crossing at Intersection No Signal." If you disagree with the answer marked by the investigating officer, we can help you set the record straight. The same goes for passenger injuries on the bottom of the page.