When you are involved in a car accident resulting in injury or death, you are required to report the accident to the police under New York law. Failure to do so can have serious consequences—so it is important that you file a police report if you are required to do so.
You may need to report the accident separately to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV); failure to file a DMV report can have serious consequences as well. With this in mind, here is what you need to know about how to file a police report (and/or a DMV report) after a car accident in New York:
Reporting a Car Accident to the Police in New York
Generally speaking, you are required to file a police report after a car accident in New York if the police do not prepare a report at the scene of the accident. If you (or anyone else) called 911 from the scene of the accident and the responding officer prepared a report (using Form MV-104A, Police Accident Report), that may be all that is required.
However, as we mentioned above, there are penalties for failing to report an accident resulting in injury or death. So, it is better to be safe than sorry. You can contact the local police department to find out if a police report has been filed, or you can hire a lawyer to contact the police on your behalf.
If you still need to file a police report for your car accident, the specific steps you will have to take depend on where the accident happened. Different police departments and precincts have different procedures for handling accident reports. You may be able to report the accident over the phone or online, or you may need to go to the local precinct and file a report in person. However, regardless of what you need to do in order to file a police report, you will typically need at least the following pieces of information:
- Your driver’s license information
- Your vehicle’s registration information
- The time and location of the crash
- The other driver’s vehicle and insurance information (if you have it)
- A description of the location and extent of the damage to each vehicle (if you know)
Reporting a Car Accident to the New York DMV
Regardless of whether you need to file a police report for your car accident, you will most likely need to report the accident to the New York DMV. This is required for all accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,000. Even if the police prepared Form MV-104A at the scene of the accident, and even if you contact the police to report the accident once you got home, you must still separately report the accident to the New York DMV.
You must report your car accident to the New York DMV using Form MV-104, Report of Motor Vehicle Accident. You must complete Form MV-104 to the best of your ability, and you must be careful to only provide accurate information. Do not guess. If you do not know how to fill out any sections of the form, consult with a lawyer before you mail it to the New York DMV.
What if You Don’t Know Whether the Police Prepared a Report at the Scene?
What if you have questions about how to file a police report because you do not know whether a responding officer prepared a report at the scene of the crash? In this scenario, you should either contact the local police department directly, or you should hire a lawyer to contact the police for you.
If the local police department does not have a record of the accident, this could mean that either (i) the accident never got reported, or (ii) you have contacted the wrong jurisdiction. Given that you can face penalties for failing to report an accident – and that failing to report an accident can create problems for your insurance claim – you should not give up. You need to make sure the accident gets reported appropriately; and, if you have any questions or concerns, you should consult with a lawyer for help.
The accomplished car accident lawyers at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC, are committed to helping our clients obtain the justice they deserve. With 150 years of combined legal experience and millions of dollars recovered, we can help you pursue the maximum compensation you need to move forward.
Don’t face the legal process alone. Call O’Connor & Partners, PLLC today at (845) 303-8777 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and other New York areas.