One of the first things you should do following a car accident in New York is call the authorities. Law enforcement and emergency services can help control the accident scene, render medical assistance, and gather vital information, especially if you are too injured to exchange information with the other driver. This information and more gets recorded in a New York accident report, which could prove useful in a subsequent insurance claim or lawsuit. While this information is accessible, there are a few hoops you’ll have to jump through to get yours.
What Does a New York Accident Report Include?
Police should respond to the scene of any accident involving injury or property damage. Part of their job is to conduct an initial investigation of the incident and record their findings in an official report. This report can serve as a useful start to both an insurance claim as well as a lawsuit, if necessary.
The most common New York accident report is called an MV-104A. However, there may be supplemental reports depending on the type of vehicles involved in the collision and if there were fatalities. Most MV-104A accident reports contain 37 unique items that an officer must observe and provide factual and accurate information on when investigating the scene of a crash. Information typically listed in an MV-104A accident report include:
- Accident description and officer notes
- Accident diagram
- “All involved” data
- Apparent contributing factors
- Crash location
- Direction-of-travel diagram
- Driver information
- Driver insurance information
- Ejection from vehicle
- Injured/killed personal information
- Injured taken by medical responders
- Injured, taken to medical facility
- Light conditions
- Location of accident or first event
- Location of most severe physical injury complaint
- Names of all involved
- Place where the accident occurred
- Pedestrian/Bicyclist location
- Pre-accident vehicle action
- Police identification information
- Position in/on vehicle
- Roadway character
- Roadway surface condition
- Safety equipment involved
- Ticket/arrest information
- Type of accident
- Vehicle damage cost estimate
- Vehicle registrant information
- Vehicle towed data
- Victim’s physical and emotional status
- Weather conditions
Why You Need a Copy of Your New York Accident Report
A New York accident report can provide crucial information about the circumstances of the accident. This information is typically more detailed than you can obtain on your own, especially if you were hurt in the crash and were unable to make notes yourself. A police report and other evidence can help establish that the other driver or another party was liable for the accident – an important prerequisite to pursuing an insurance claim or lawsuit against them.
In some states, police reports are not admissible as evidence in a lawsuit, as they constitute hearsay – that is, a statement made out of court and therefore not open to cross-examining. However, New York courts have long held that a police report is an admissible evidence, provided it has been certified and the observations made in it were collected by the officer first-hand.
How to Get a New York Accident Report
One way to obtain a copy of your New York accident report is to request it from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. First, search the DMV to ensure they have it in their system. Remember, it can take anywhere from 14 to 60 days for a police report to show up in the DMV database. The time it takes for your accident report to hit the DMV database depends on how the officers file the report.
- Electronically filing an accident report from any of New York’s five boroughs takes at least 14 days to enter the DMV database.
- Paper police reports can take at least 30 days to become available in the DMV database.
- Motorist reports filed from anywhere in New York State can take at least 60 days to show up in the DMV system.
Conduct a free online search first to see if your report exists in the New York DMV system. If it does, you must pay a fee to conduct an additional paid search for the exact accident report you need. The fee is $7 if you search online or $10 if you pay by mail. Be sure to have the license plate number of the vehicle involved, your driver’s license number, and the eight-digit DMV case number on hand for the paid search. Once you identify the record you need, you can pay $15 to download the New York accident report. After paying the order fee, you have seven calendar days to download your report. You must download your report within seven days to avoid paying for another report.
You can also request a copy of your New York accident report in person at the police precinct where the collision occurred during the first 30 days of the officers filing the report. You can also complete a Request for Copy of Collision Record and mail it to the police precinct where the crash happened. However, you must enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and photocopy of a valid picture identification, like your driver’s license.
Contact an Experienced New York Car Accident Attorney for Help
When you work with an experienced New York car accident attorney, there is no need to worry about collecting vital evidence on your own. The legal team at Finz & Finz, P.C. can do it for you, and at no upfront cost. Our knowledgeable legal can identify and collect a wide range of court-admissible evidence to bolster your case, and then use it to negotiate for the maximum compensation possible. Should the other side refuse to make a fair offer, we won’t hesitate to take your case to court and put it before a judge and jury.
Focus on your recovery and let the New York car accident lawyer at Finz & Finz, P.C. work on pursuing the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to arrange a free case evaluation.