The police will not automatically send the accident report to your insurance company. Your provider will become aware of your accident only when and if you or any of the drivers involved in the accident report it to file a claim.
However, your insurance company can request a copy of the police accident report (form MV-104A) from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a step that your insurer will take upon launching the claim process if you report the accident to the carrier.
If you want the insurance company to have access to the police report sooner, in the interest of expediting your claim, you can give the company a copy of the report you obtain from the police.
The Value of the Police Accident Report
Police accident reports carry a substantial amount of information relating to your car accident. When the insurance company receives a claim report of the accident and begins its investigation of the incident, the details of this police report will be reviewed and dissected to help determine who was at fault for the accident and whether to deny the claim or pay it—and for what amount.
New York is a no-fault state, meaning each driver’s insurance company pays for medical costs and lost wages up to a certain amount, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, if one of the parties involved in the accident reaches a no-fault threshold (where economic losses exceed $50,000, or the accident caused “serious injuries,” as defined by New York state insurance statutes), that party can pursue additional damages via a personal injury lawsuit.
In this event, fault plays a role in the potential success of the case. The police report may serve as a substantial piece of evidence in establishing this fault.
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What You Can Find in a Police Accident Report
The investigating law enforcement officer who shows up at the scene of your accident explores and records many details about the incident including:
- Location, date, and time of the accident
- Names and contact information for all parties
- Witness contact information
- Damages to vehicles
- Lighting, roadway, and weather conditions
- Diagram of the collision
- Any laws violated or citations issued
- Officer’s opinion regarding cause and fault
Whether to Report Your Accident to Your Car Insurance Company
The state of New York does not require you to report your accident to your insurance carrier. However, when you signed the contract between you and your car insurance provider, you agreed to their terms, which includes reporting all accidents to them within a reasonable period of time—which may be interpreted to mean just a couple days.
By not reporting your accident, you risk non-compliance, which could compromise your accident coverage. This holds true for even minor accidents.
Getting a Copy of Your Police Report
You can request a copy of your police accident report in a few ways, depending upon where your collision occurred. If the accident happened:
- On the New York State Thruway, please request a report from https://dmv.ny.gov/get-accident-report
- To request a police accident report for an accident that took place in Suffolk County, please request a report from https://www.buycrash.com/
You may also stop by the police precinct or agency where the accident took place and ask if you can have a copy of the report. The law enforcement officer who investigated your accident should have given you an identification number for the police report. Use it to reference the report you need. More than likely, you will have to pay a fee to obtain it—typically around $22. (There is no charge for a police accident report in the 5 Boroughs of New York City.)
New York State police submit their accident reports electronically. You can usually obtain the reports 14 days after the accident, sometimes sooner, sometimes later.
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Filing a Civilian Accident Report
You may have to file a “Report of a Motor Vehicle Accident” after your accident.
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires that you submit an accident report for any collision resulting in property damage of $1,000.00 or more and if anyone was physically injured You have 10 days from the date of the accident to file the report.
Other reporting requirements dictated by New York traffic laws include:
- When only property damage results from an accident, drivers must exchange their driver’s license, registration, and insurance information.
- When you collide with a parked car, damage other property, or hurt a domestic animal, you are required to either contact the police or find the owner and notify him or her of the incident.
Also referred to as a Civilian Accident Report (form MV-104), you can find and download the form online. Use the information you recorded about the collision, along with details from the State Trooper’s “Exchange of Information” form to complete your Civilian Accident Report. If you were injured in the accident and retain our firm to pursue a claim for the damages you suffered, we can assist you with the completion of this report.
Failure to file this report could prompt the DMV to suspend your driver’s license.
We Will Can Handle Your New York Car Accident
The legal team at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. will handle every aspect of your car accident case, from obtaining police reports and working with insurers to filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 516-932-0400.