How to Get a Car Accident Report From the Police

If you’re wondering how to get a car accident police report in New York City, there’s some good news: it’s generally straightforward, and there are a few ways you can do it.

A copy of the police report about your accident will be important evidence for your claim. Without one, you’ll run a higher risk of receiving an unfair settlement offer that doesn’t adequately cover your damages or of having your claim denied outright.

Once you know how to obtain a car accident police report, you’ll be able to minimize the risk of this happening to you.

How to Get a Car Accident Police Report in New York City

There are several steps you can take to obtain a copy of the police report on your car accident claim. These are:

  • Contacting the responding police officer
  • Visiting the police station
  • Calling your insurance provider
  • Going to the Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Contact the Responding Police Officer

The police officer who responded to your accident should be the first person you contact when you’re looking for an accident report. The officer in question should have provided you with a receipt for the report; when you contact them, they should be able to use the receipt’s identification number to find the document.

If you don’t have a receipt or identification number, explain that you are looking for a copy of the police report for your accident and provide your name, details of approximately where and when the collision occurred, the license plate number of your car, and any other potentially helpful details.

Visit the Police Station

If calling or emailing the police station doesn’t work, you can visit the agency or precinct at which the responding officer works and request your report in person. Again, the receipt and identification number of the report will be useful here; if you don’t have them, though, the desk clerk may be able to use the details of your accident to track down your crash report. Be aware that, depending upon the area of New York you’re in and the agency you visit, you may have to pay a fee for the copy of the accident report.

Call Your Insurance Provider

You can also ask the claims representative at your insurance company whether they have a copy of the police report. Note, however, that the police don’t automatically provide copies to insurance companies, so your insurer will only have it if an agent requested it at the time of the accident.

Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles

Finally, you can get your car accident police report through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, it will take you longer to get the report this way than from the police or your insurance company, and you will have to pay a fee. So, you should explore this option only if you’ve already tried the others. You can order a copy of the report from the DMV website.

Reports can be downloaded electronically; alternatively, you can ask the DMV to mail you a hard copy. Be prepared to provide your driver’s license number, your car’s license plate number, or the incident report identification number. Current fees for reports are $22 for an electronic copy and $25 to receive a report by mail.

If you’ve tried all these methods of getting your accident report and still had no success, you should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss your next move.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Police Report After an Accident?

If you’re wondering when to get a car accident police report, it may also be useful to know how long the process will take.

Your report may be available from the police as soon as 24 hours following an accident, depending upon the internal procedures of the agency in question. However, it can take significantly longer than this.

If the NYPD took your report, it can take up to seven days for the report to become available through the department’s electronic system, but you may be able to access it sooner if you visit the station to submit your request. Collision reports are available at NYPD precincts for 30 days from the time of the report’s filing. After that, all accident reports from precincts are forwarded to the state DMV and all report requests must be made to the DMV.

If you are seeking a copy of a car accident report submitted to the DMV by the police, you can expect to wait at least 14 to 30 days from the date of the accident for the report to be available in the DMV system. Reports filed electronically by police are generally available within approximately 14 days, but if the officer used a paper form to report the crash, you could be waiting 30 days or more.

How the Police Report Can Benefit Your Claim

Accessing your police report can benefit your claim in a number of ways. First, you’ll be able to check whether the information the report contains is accurate. Inaccurate information might negatively affect your car accident claim, so it’s crucial to highlight any mistakes as early as possible.

The police report will also tell you what witnesses and other parties to the accident stated about the cause of the collision. This will allow you to gather your own evidence to offset unfavorable statements, if necessary. The information in the police report might also lead your attorney to additional evidence that will assist in their investigation and case-building efforts.

How to Report Your Accident

If the police don’t come to the scene of your accident, the responsibility for filing a report about it falls on you, as well as any other involved parties.

The New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires any car accident causing an injury, death, or property damage over $1,000 to be reported within 10 days. Failure to comply with this rule can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.

To report the accident, you need to complete a Motor Vehicle Accident Report (MV-104), which can be found on the New York State DMV website. This form will ask for specific details about the accident, including the time, location, and nature of the collision, along with details of any injuries or property damage that occurred.

While waiting for authorities to arrive, you should exchange information with any other drivers that were involved in the accident, including names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, and license plate numbers. However, it’s crucial to remember that you shouldn’t make any statement that might be construed as an admission of fault, as that could work against you in a claim or lawsuit later on. To be safe, you should minimize any discussion you have with other parties to the accident once you’ve exchanged all necessary information with them.

In addition to filing the MV-104 to alert the authorities about your accident, you’ll need to report the crash to your insurance company as soon as you can. Again, you’ll want to be cautious here, as you don’t want to give your insurer the impression you were at fault for the accident. On the other hand, though, you must be accurate and truthful when describing the event. Misrepresenting the accident can lead to severe consequences, including denial of coverage.

Finally, you should consider getting legal assistance if there were injuries or significant property damage involved. An attorney who specializes in car accident claims can guide you through the legal process and ensure your rights are protected.

Remember, taking photos or video footage of the scene, vehicles, and any injuries can be very helpful later, during legal proceedings and dealings with insurance companies.

Need Help Getting Your Police Report? Call Us.

If you’re still struggling to get your hands on your accident report after following the advice in this post, or you have some other issue related to a car accident claim, we can help you. Our skilled car accident attorneys can assist you through every part of the claims process, ensuring that your rights stay protected.

Contact us via the form on our website or over the phone at (516) 399-2364 to schedule your free case review.

john tucker

Managing Attorney John. J. Tucker, Esq.

John has personally handled thousands of clients who were victims of another’s negligence and fights relentlessly for their rights. John enjoys bringing closure to a client’s matter so that the injured party can move forward with their life. His background enables him to evaluate complex liability related claims and bring resolution to claims in a record time frame. [ Attorney Bio ]

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