It is easy to obtain a car accident police report for accidents that happened in the City of New York or on Long Island. It has been our experience that the easiest way to get a report for accidents that happened in the City of New York is to visit any NYPD precinct. The easiest way to get a report for an accident that happened on Long Island is to visit the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles website.
In This Article
- Requesting Your Accident Report from the Police Station
- Requesting Your Accident Report from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
- What to Do If You Believe the Police Report Is Incorrect
- Why You Need the Accident Report for Your Case
- Getting Your Car Accident Report As Soon As Possible
- Car Accident Reports Are a Critical Piece of Evidence
- Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. for Help Recovering Compensation
Requesting Your Accident Report from the Police Station
Use the Incident Report provided by the investigating officer at the scene to obtain the report directly from the precinct if the accident took place in the City of New York. Alternatively, you could request the report online at https://dmv.ny.gov/ if the accident took place in Nassau County or Suffolk County.
In the City of New York, there is no fee to obtain a copy of the report. (Of course, the rule providing a “free report” can change. Please call the precinct before visiting to confirm that is still the policy). Visit the New York City Police Department’s website for more information.
What to Do If You Do Not Have the Receipt
Sometimes, people need a Police Accident Report and they do not have the Incident Report. For example, if you are a passenger or in need of a pedestrian accident report, that was involved in an accident, it is quite likely that the responding officers did not provide you with any documentation.
If you do not have the receipt, give the clerk:
- Your full name
- Date of the accident
- Approximate time and location of the accident
- A license plate number of at least one of the involved vehicles
The clerk should be able to use this information to retrieve your case details.
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Requesting Your Accident Report from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
For accidents that occurred in Nassau County or Suffolk County, we have found it best to request the report from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV). There are two ways to request your accident report:
- Online: To obtain your accident report online, you will need a credit or debit card and you must fill out this form. You must have at least one of the following pieces of information: the plate number of a vehicle involved in the accident, or the 8-digit DMV case number (which can be found on the Incident Report). The cost of requesting a report online is $22 ($7 for the search fee, $15 for the report). Of course, fees are subject to change.
- By mail: We greatly prefer utilizing the online request method because of the immediacy of the results. This way, other necessary documentation (No-Fault Benefits Application, NF-2, for example) can be filed promptly. However, for those who prefer mail, the procedure is as follows: To obtain a report through the mail, you must fill out a Request for Copy of Accident Report. The form asks you to provide as much information as possible about the accident (e.g., when and where the accident occurred, the police precinct that responded, the license plate numbers of any involved vehicles, etc.). The cost of requesting a copy by mail is $25 (a $10 search fee and a $15 report fee). Again, fees are subject to change.
Whether you obtain the police accident report online or by mail, be sure to save proof of payment as you may submit this to the No-Fault Insurance carrier for reimbursement.
What to Do If You Believe the Police Report Is Incorrect
Knowing how to get a police report for a car accident is noly half the battle. Because the police were likely not there when the accident occurred, the accident report might be incorrect. If so, you can seek to amend the report.
Please note, since the report is the product of the responding officer’s investigation, the decision as to whether or not to amend the report is generally subject to the officer’s discretion.
We recognize that the Police Accident Report may be wrong. We advocate for you. If your recollection of the accident, the physical evidence, or witness statements vary from the account in the police accident report, we will vigorously fight to prove that the accident happened in a manner consistent with your testimony and that the police report is incorrect.
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Why You Need the Accident Report for Your Case
The police report contains facts of the car accident, as well as the opinions of the people involved. Insurance companies use it to conduct their own investigations. It can also help prove how the accident occurred. The report contains notes from the investigating officer, and it includes information such as:
- Insurance information for all involved vehicles
- Distances between landmarks and other objects
- Contact information for the motorists and witnesses
- The damage done to the vehicles
- The weather conditions
- A diagram of the accident scene
- Statements from the involved parties
- Violations of the law
- Opinions of drivers, witnesses, and the officers who responded to the accident
This report may help us in:
- Proving the accident occurred
- Proving fault
- Identifying insurance carriers to contact and put on notice
- Identifying witnesses that could provide additional information
- Linking your injuries to your accident
If you are having trouble obtaining your accident report, our team can help. We can obtain the report from the police or from the NYSDMV as we perform our investigation into your accident.
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Getting Your Car Accident Report As Soon As Possible
The police department does not keep car accident reports on file forever. After a period of several years, your accident report will be deleted, and you will no longer be able to use it to strengthen a lawsuit or recover monetary compensation.
Other types of evidence that you might want to use are also subject to time limits. Consider the following:
- Witnesses will start to forget the details of what they saw as months or years pass. If they took photos or videos of the scene, they might delete these important sources of evidence.
- Footage from surveillance or traffic cameras is frequently recorded over after a short period of time.
- Expert witnesses who could testify to the seriousness of your injuries often have busy schedules. If you wait until the last minute to ask for an analysis and report as to your circumstances, they might not have time to accommodate you.
- Any billing statements, receipts, or other documentation you have acquired in relation to the accident could be accidentally thrown away or lost over time.
Finally, most personal injury cases are governed by New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214. This law gives prospective plaintiffs a maximum of three years from the accident date in which to begin their cases. Other factors could shorten this time period further, depending on the specifics of your case. In addition to this statute of limitations, claims and litigated cases have other critical deadlines as well.
Given all of these time limits, it is easy to understand why car accident victims should get to work on their cases as soon as possible. A good first step is to consult with a car accident attorney to understand your rights and request a copy of the car accident report while it is still available.
Car Accident Reports Are a Critical Piece of Evidence
Car accident police reports are the most basic form of proof that your accident happened, that the liable party was involved, and that your injuries stem from the accident. Without the report, it is much easier for the liable party’s insurance company to call your story into question and deny you compensation.
An accident report is one piece of evidence among many that will enable you (and your lawyer) to block the insurance company’s attempts to reduce your payout. However, you will still need to:
- Notify the insurance company about your lawsuit
- Collect other forms of evidence to strengthen your case
- Negotiate with the insurance company to get them to pay what you deserve
- Fight your case in the courts, if the insurance company refuses to pay
- File all paperwork and manage all communications in a timely, professional manner
- Deal with insurance companies who might try to manipulate you into saying or doing something that undermines your pursuit of damages
Again, hiring a car accident lawyer who serves New York and Long Island is an effective way to protect your rights after a crash.
Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. for Help Recovering Compensation
The Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. car accident team wants to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses. We will gather all necessary evidence, establish fault, and handle all other elements of your accident case. This allows you to focus on recovering from your injuries.
We want you to be as comfortable as possible as we are handling your case, so we employ a multilingual staff that can assist you in:
Call us today to see how a car accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related losses. The consultation is free, and we do not recover attorney’s fees unless and until you recover compensation: (516) 932-0400.
Do not delay. Various time period limitations apply to your case, and failure to act promptly can negatively affect your rights. The sooner you contact us, the greater our opportunity to build the strongest case possible for you.
Call or text 516-932-0400 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form