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A Birmingham Car Wreck Lawyer Explains How to Read an Accident Report

Let a Birmingham car accident attorney answer your questions

If you are involved in a Birmingham car accident, the police will typically create a report that includes their findings. What the investigating officer states on this form can play a significant role in determining how much an insurance company offers you for your accident-related expenses.

Because the car accident report may be critical for your case, our Birmingham legal team urges you to carefully read the findings. To obtain a copy of your Alabama Uniform Traffic Accident Report, visit the Alabama Department of Public Safety website.

As a service to you, Shuttlesworth Law Firm, P.C. has created a sample form with our comments. Our Birmingham legal team hopes this will help you gain a better understanding of your car accident report.

Review the information below and compare it to your form. If you need additional help interpreting your car accident report, don’t hesitate to call our Birmingham law firm at 866-583-1885. We can answer your questions, free of charge. Contact experienced car crash attorney Perry Shuttlesworth for a free case evaluation.

Accident Report instructions page 1

Location and Time: Details about where and when your accident occurred are recorded. These include the city, street name, distance to the closest intersection, vehicles involved, pedestrians involved and whether fatalities occurred in the crash.

Unit Number Boxes: Information on drivers and vehicles is recorded, including:

Driver information:

  • Full name, address, phone number
  • License number
  • Insurance company name
  • Physical condition
  • Driver impairment
  • Drug test results

Vehicle information:

  • Vehicle owner name
  • Vehicle make, model, year
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Citations charged
  • Damage severity and location

Codes: Numeric codes are used by officers to explain how they believed the accident occurred, including contributing circumstances, driver maneuvers or pedestrian actions.

Seating: Officers document the number of people in each vehicle and their seating location.

Victims: Contact information for others involved in the accident is recorded, including whether that person was injured, killed or taken to a hospital after the accident.

Accident Report instructions page 2

Narrative and Diagram: Officers document their opinion of what happened via a pictorial diagram and written narrative. Review this information carefully, as officers may include information not found elsewhere on the accident report.

Roadway Environment: The condition of the roadway is documented in detail, including road defects, type of road, traffic lanes, traffic controls and objects that could obscure the vision of a party involved in the accident.

Investigation: Light conditions, weather conditions and witness information is collected. In addition, the officer documents the time arrived at the scene of the accident, property damage and his or her name and officer identification number.

Truck/Bus Supplemental Sheet: Officers complete this page if a truck or other commercial vehicle was involved in the crash. This includes gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), involvement of hazardous materials, vehicle and cargo type and information about the motor vehicle carrier who owns the vehicle.

Click here to download a printable pdf of this diagram.

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