When Do I Need to Notify Police of a Car Accident in New York?

police in a car accident

If you were involved in a car accident in New York, there are numerous steps you should take immediately after the accident to protect your rights. You might also be legally obligated to do things such as calling law enforcement to the scene.

Whether or not you need to call the police depends on the circumstances of the crash you were involved in. Below, we’ll discuss when you must notify police about an accident and other steps you might need to take in the aftermath of a crash. If you fail to notify the police when required, you could incur harsh penalties.

The New York City car accident lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. have the knowledge and resources to help you understand your rights and responsibilities after a car accident. Contact us today to discuss your case. We offer a free consultation to all potential clients.

When Am I Required to Call the Police After an Accident?

In New York, motorists are legally required to call law enforcement to the scene of an accident in the following circumstances:

  • Someone was injured or killed in the accident – If anyone involved in the accident was injured or died, you must call law enforcement and remain on the scene until they arrive. In New York, you’re also required to notify the police if a domestic animal or pet was wounded or killed in the crash.
  • A parked car is damaged, and the owner can’t be located – If you are involved in an accident with a parked vehicle, and the owner is not present on the scene, you are required to notify police if the collision caused damage to the parked vehicle. You must also report the accident to the police if other property is damaged.

In general, it is always a good idea to call law enforcement to the scene and to remain at the site of the accident, just in case someone doesn’t realize that they are injured at the moment. It’s not against the law to report an accident where no injuries occurred, so it’s best to be on the safe side. That way, if it turns out that someone was injured, you won’t be in trouble with the law.

Some injuries, including internal injuries and whiplash, don’t become apparent for hours, days, or even weeks after an accident. If you decide to leave the scene without reporting the accident and someone involved in the collision later realizes they were injured, you should report the crash to law enforcement at your earliest convenience.

If you report the accident to law enforcement on the scene, you should dial 911. However, if you report the accident to the police after the fact, you should call the police department at their non-emergency number.

Things to Know About Reporting a Car Accident in New York

Police are not the only entity you might need to report the accident to. If you’ve been involved in a car collision, you should also consider these vital points:

  • There could be penalties if you fail to report an accident – If you are required to report the accident and don’t, you could get into trouble with the law. The penalty for failing to report an accident usually involves a fine, including jail time in some cases. To avoid penalties, it’s always recommended to report the accident, even if there was no property damage and no one seems to be injured.
  • You could be required to notify the New York DMV – If the crash resulted in $1,000 in property damage, you’re required to report the crash to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You need to do this within ten days after the crash. Even if the damaged property isn’t another vehicle, you still need to report the accident to the New York DMV. If you must report the accident to the DMV and you don’t, you could lose your license, and you’ll have to pay for it to be reinstated.
  • You probably need to alert your insurer – New York is a no-fault insurance state which means that most accident victims turn to their personal injury protection (PIP) policies to cover medical expenses and lost income. Regardless of who caused the accident, you will probably have to report the accident to your PIP insurance company.
  • You could endanger your insurance claim by failing to report the accident – If you don’t alert your no-fault insurance provider about the accident, you might have trouble with your claim. While there are other methods of proving your case to the insurance company, it’s best to report the crash’s basic details right away. Even your own insurance company is not on your side. Insurance companies are for-profit entities, and if they have a reason to minimize or deny your claim, they will do it. Report the accident right away to protect your right to compensation.

If you have questions about your obligations after a car accident in New York, it’s best to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer.

Contact Finz & Finz, P.C.

Were you injured in a car accident in New York or Long Island? If so, contact the New York car accident lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. to speak with a knowledgeable member of our team.

We understand that being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic, life-changing experience. You shouldn’t have to navigate the insurance claims process by yourself while you are recovering from your injuries. Our team has the resources to handle every aspect of your case for you while you focus on rebuilding your life.

Contact us today at 855-TOP-FIRM for a 100% free and confidential 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.