What's in a Police Report of a Car Accident in New York

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Were you injured in a New York state car accident where the police came to investigate? Did someone else’s negligence cause the collision? The car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages.

In New York, police must investigate any car accident involving personal injury or death. They must prepare reports using one or more Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) forms. Here, we will review the forms police use to file their reports. We will also describe and explain the primary police report and why you need to obtain a copy.

The attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. have been representing injured car accident victims for nearly four decades. A police report provides information to help prove that the other driver was responsible for the harm they caused. We can obtain a copy of the police report for you and use the information in negotiations with insurance companies. Our attorneys want to help you seek the compensation you need and deserve.

Are There Different Kinds of Police Car Accident Reports?

Yes. After investigating a car accident, police will prepare one of two primary reports depending on the location of the crash. The police should complete and file an MV-104A if the accident occurred anywhere in New York except New York City (NYC). If the accident’s location was in NYC, the police should file an MV-104AN report.

Police also use supplemental reports, depending on the vehicle types and if there were fatalities. For example:

  • MV-104D to report fatal crashes to NYS DMV
  • MV-104EN to report early notification of fatal crashes to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • MV-104L to report police line-of-duty accidents
  • MV-104S is for certain crashes involving commercial trucks and buses

What’s in an MV-104A Police Report?

The MV-104A contains 37 specific items that a police officer must observe and provide factual answers to when investigating an accident scene. Many of these items have additional data that the officer must enter. For example, in the report’s ticket/arrest item, the officer must indicate information for the ticket or arrest number and the applicable statutory reference for the traffic violation. The complete list of police report items the officer should fill out is:

  • Crash Identification Information
  • Driver Information
  • Vehicle Registrant Information
  • Ticket/Arrest Data
  • Involved Vehicle Characteristics
  • Vehicle Damage Codes
  • Vehicle Towed
  • Accident Diagram
  • Crash Location
  • Place where the Accident Occurred
  • Accident Description/Officer Notes
  • “All Involved” Data
  • Which Vehicle Occupied
  • Position In/On Vehicle
  • Safety Equipment Used
  • Ejection from Vehicle
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Injured/Killed Persons Data
  • Location of Most Severe Physical Complaint; for Injured Persons Only
  • Type of Physical Complaint; for Injured Persons Only
  • Victim’s Physical and Emotional Status; for Injured Persons Only
  • Injured taken by (medical responders)
  • Injured taken to (medical facility)
  • Names of All Involved; if Deceased, Also Include Date of Death
  • Pedestrian/Bicyclist/Other Pedestrian Location
  • Traffic Control
  • Light Conditions
  • Roadway Character
  • Roadway Surface Condition
  • Weather
  • Apparent Contributing Factors
  • Direction of Travel (Diagram)
  • Pre-Accident Vehicle Action
  • Location of First Event
  • Type of Accident
  • Police Identification Information

How is MV-104A Different from MV-104?

Police officers complete MV-104A (or MV-104AN) after they investigate an accident. MV-104 is a motorist (or driver) accident report. A driver, passenger, or the car’s owner must file it within ten days of an accident if:

  • The accident caused one or more persons injury
  • The accident caused the death of one or more persons
  • Property damage exceeds $1,000

Form MV-104 contains some of the same information as a police accident report but is much less detailed. If those responsible do not file the MV-104 within ten days of the accident, it may result in the temporary suspension of their driver’s licenses.

Failure to file an MV-104 or filing it with incorrect information can result in a misdemeanor for the responsible party. It can also cause the suspension or revocation of their driver’s license, vehicle registration certificates, or both.

How Can I Obtain Copies of the Police and Driver Car Accident Reports?

Where you can obtain copies of a police accident report depends on where the accident happened:

  • NYC only – Request a copy of MV-104AN in person, by mail, or online. If you’re looking for a copy during the first 30 days after the accident, you can request it from the NYPD precinct where the accident occurred.
  • New York including NYC but excluding the NYS Thruway – Request a copy using form MV-198C online.
  • New York Thruway – Request a copy using form TA-W4310 online.

Anyone can obtain copies of a driver’s car accident report (MV-104) online from the New York DMV. The DMV refers to these as “motorist reports.” If you were in an accident with one or more other vehicles, you could request copies of the motorist accident reports filed by the other drivers.

Why Would I Want a Copy of a Police Car Accident Report?

A police accident report provides a detailed and comprehensive account of the accident and answers many of the who, what, when, where, how, and why questions that can help to prove negligence. Insurance companies always obtain a copy of a police report and will scrutinize the information before agreeing to pay you any money.

A knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney knows how to use the police accident report to gather additional evidence and to help substantiate your claim for the compensation you deserve. The report can help to prove or provide such information as:

  • A link between the accident and the injuries and damage
  • Contributing factors, including human, vehicular, and environmental
  • Data for all drivers, witnesses, and insurance companies
  • Essential facts about the accident’s time, place, and location
  • Injury details about the seventeen types of physical complaints and six types of injuries an officer can include in the report
  • Photographs of injuries and damaged vehicles

Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Today

Ready to speak with a team of nationally recognized personal injury lawyers? Let our New York City car accident lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. help you seek the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.