In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, your mind is likely swimming with fears and concerns. You may be in pain from a serious injury, or you may be worried about how you will pay to repair your car. It can be hard to think clearly during this high-stress moment, but you need to take action to protect yourself and your loved ones.
In addition to exchanging the required information with the other drivers, after a serious car accident, it is important to work with the New York police to file a car accident report. This document will create an official account of your accident, which is an essential part of the evidence you need for your car accident injury claim.
In many cases, right after the accident occurs you will be able to describe the event clearly. However, even after just a few days, you will remember fewer details and you may not be able to recall the exact sequence of events. Your car accident report will help document these details right after your accident, so you always have a clear record of the collision.
The New York car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz P.C. have compiled the following information about car accident reports, to help you understand the importance of this document.
What is a Car Accident Report?
A car accident report, also called a police report, is an official document that a police officer will create after a car accident.
This document describes the details of your accident, possible causes or contributing factors in the collision, and often the police officer’s opinion about who is at-fault for the accident.
Police reports may each follow a different format, depending on the precinct or state guidelines.
However, in most cases, these reports all include a wide variety of standard information such as:
- Name, description, and contact information of the drivers involved
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Description of the vehicles involved
- Description of property damage and injuries from the crash
- Weather, road, and lighting conditions
- Statements about the accident from drivers and witnesses
- Citations or violations of the law
- Opinions about the cause of the accident and who is at fault
A police officer needs to write their accident report as soon as possible after the collision occurs. This allows the officer to collect the most accurate information about the accident. A car accident report is the first step in starting an official police investigation into the crash, which can provide you with even more evidence and information about the event.
In most cases, when you call the police after a car accident, an officer will come to the scene of the accident to write their report. This is especially important for large or serious accidents, which may block the road or require an in-depth police investigation. However, even for smaller collisions, in which a police presence was not required, you can file your own accident report with the New York Police Department.
When Do I Need a Car Accident Report?
In the state of New York, you must file an accident report any time you are in a collision that resulted in:
- Property damage exceeding $1,000
- Personal injury
After the collision occurs, you only have 10 days to file your accident report. However, it is best to file your report immediately after the crash if possible. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you must call the police and wait for them at the scene of the accident if the collision resulted in serious injury or death. Failure to perform these duties after an accident is a serious crime.
However, if an accident resulted in property damage only, you do not have to call the police after the collision, but you must file an accident report independently. You can file your accident report online or through an official document available at your local police station.
Every driver involved in the collision should file their own report of the accident.
How Can a Car Accident Report Help with My Injury Claim?
It is always in your best interest to file an accident report, no matter the size or severity of your collision. This document will help you protect yourself and your loved ones after an accident. It will also give you the best chances of receiving fair compensation from your car accident claim.
When filing an injury claim after a car accident, your insurance provider will most likely require an official accident report. This document helps the insurance company verify the events of the accident and determine the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive.
In many cases, your insurance provider may also ask you to recount the events during the accident. You can use the information from your accident report to help you provide substantial detail and consistent evidence while speaking with insurance. When you file an accident report, you will have the greatest possible chances of receiving the compensation you need.
Furthermore, your accident claim can protect you if the other driver decides to pursue legal action after the collision. Without an official report, the other driver may make false claims to seek more money from their insurance or to punish you for the accident. This unlawful behavior is easily preventable if you have an official record of the events.
Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer
If a reckless or negligent driver injured you or a loved one, you should not have to pay for the harm this person caused. You may be eligible to receive substantial compensation, so you can recover from this devastating event.
The New York car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz P.C. have over 35 years of experience fighting for car accident victims, and we are ready to help you through every step of your claim. If you need legal guidance after an accident, contact Finz & Finz P.C. right now to set up a free case evaluation.