If you suffered a severe injury in a car accident, you’re probably not going to stand and wait for a police officer to provide you a copy of their report. You’re likely to be rushed to the hospital, preventing you from taking photos, gathering insurance information, making notes, and recovering critical evidence from the scene of the accident. The good news: police officers are required to investigate the scene and file comprehensive reports that provide much of this invaluable information.
The Contents of Police Reports After Auto Accidents
While the depth and detail involved in a police report may vary depending on the officer and which agency (sheriff, local police, etc.) is involved, most police reports will include:
- A full list of all drivers involved in the accident
- The contact and insurance information of each driver
- A description of the scene of the accident
- A description of any damage and visible personal injuries
- Whether or not tickets were issued to any of the drivers
- A list of any witnesses, as well as their contact information
Obtaining a copy of such a report can be a critical part of filing your insurance claim or bringing a lawsuit against one or more of the parties responsible for the accident.
How to Obtain a Police Report in New York
Obtaining a police report is a simple process for New York residents, but it can be confusing. The process can change based on the location of your accident and which agency reported it. The various methods of obtaining New York City police reports include:
- If the police or sheriff reported your accident, and your accident wasn’t on the New York State Thruway: You can easily obtain a copy of the report at your local police or sheriff’s office, and it will likely be free. Reports in this case may also be available at the DMV, but it may take longer to acquire it and they will charge a fee.
- If the state troopers reported your accident, and your accident wasn’t on the New York State Thruway: The only way to obtain a copy of the report in this case is through the DMV.
- If your accident occurred on the New York State Thruway: The only way to obtain an accident report for a collision on the NYS Thruway is via a request to the Thruway Authority by using form TA-W4310.
What if the Accident Appeared Minor and the Police Weren’t Involved?
If you’ve been in a minor accident and the police were not called, you are legally obligated to file an accident report with the DMV (form MV-104) within ten days if any one of the following is true:
- The accident resulted in any injury,
- The accident resulted in the death of one or more people, or
- The accident caused more than $1,000 in property damage.
This report will likely be required by your insurance agency if you attempt to file a claim. In this case, keep a copy of the report handy.
Successfully Filing an Insurance Claim or Personal Injury Lawsuit
When it comes to recovering compensation after suffering a personal injury in an auto accident, there’s no better way to achieve a successful outcome than hiring an experienced and talented personal injury attorney. We can help you every step of the way, including:
- Obtaining police reports
- Working with specialists and experts to further investigate the causes of your accident
- Working with medical experts to determine the maximum value of the compensation you deserve
- Filing your claim or lawsuit
- Negotiating with the insurance company or opposing counsels to come to a fair settlement
- Failing a settlement, taking your case to court and fighting on your behalf to accomplish a favorable jury verdict
We offer a free initial consultation, so call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, today at (212) 986-7353 to get the help you need.