Getting into an accident is bad enough – dealing with the paperwork afterward shouldn’t add extra stress to your situation. But after you’ve dealt with the police and your insurance company, there’s one final task to complete: the Massachusetts accident report.
Officially called the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report, this form is supposed to be filled out within 5 days of the accident. We break down the sections and help you fill it out, step-by-step, with pictures along the way. For this first post, we’ll go over the beginning sections, along with whether or not you have to fill it out.
Do I Have to File?
Right at the top of the first page of the form, the criteria for who should and shouldn’t file a MA accident report are laid out pretty clearly. Here’s how it breaks down:
Yes, A Report Is Required If…
- There was $1,000+ in damage to any vehicle or property
- Any person was injured in the accident
And those rules apply even if a police officer was on the scene filling out his own reports.
No, A Report Is Not Required If…
- The accident occurred on any kind of private way, for example:
- Private road
- Parking lot/garage
If you fall into the must-report category, then it’s time to get down to business. Don’t worry – despite its appearance and the fact that it has 11 sections, the form is actually pretty straightforward. Grab your driver’s license and registration, and let’s get it done.
Filling out Section A: Crash Location
The opening section is all pretty simple. Just remember that you fill out either A1 or A2 – not both. A1 is for intersection accidents, and A2 is for all others.
The only tricky part is trying to pinpoint a precise location if you end up filling out Section A2. If you were on the highway or another road where it’s impossible to identify an address closest to where the accident happened, you have to instead estimate the number of feet it happened from an exit, intersection or landmark.
Thankfully, there’s Google Maps. First, search for the town where the crash happened, then look for the specific highway or road.
Then look for an exit (highway) or landmark/intersection (road) close to where it went down. Right click there on the map and select “Directions from here.”
After that marker’s in place, right click again further along the highway/road, about where you think it happened (remember, this is an estimate.) Click “Directions to here.”
You then get an estimate on the left of how far it the points are apart in miles.
To convert to feet, simply go do a regular Google search on Google.com. For example, search for “0.4 miles to feet.” Google Calculator should convert it for you automatically.
And if you’re unsure about the exit number, no problem – simply drag the destination pushpins in the map to redirect the route off the highway. Look at the turn-by-turn directions on the left, and you’ll get the exit number.
Another tip to keep in mind: make sure to use official names of locations, roads and highways, rather than local nicknames. If you’re unsure of an official name, check to see what it’s called on Google Maps.
Section B: Vehicle You Were Driving
Section B is longer, but it’s easier to complete. Have your driver’s license and registration handy, and you’ll breeze right through.
The only tricky part comes in the “Sequence of Events” section. The instructions aren’t great, but it’s actually simpler than it looks: simply pick up to 4 events that happened to your vehicle by writing a single code in each box.
For example, let’s say that your car blew a tire, then you lost control and hit the car in the next lane. You would write 44 in the first box to indicate the blown tire, then 1 in the second box to indicate that you hit a motor vehicle in traffic.
After that, circle the parts of your car that were damaged, and you’re finished with Section B. We’ll cover the next sections in next week’s post!