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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

Filing a Police Report After a Car Accident: How and Why

If you are only judging based on stereotypes, you could easily think that, since traffic and aggression are essential components of the physical and social environment of New York City, police simply shrug their shoulders when two cars collide, leaving the drivers involved to fight it out for themselves. Unless there are serious injuries, you would imagine, the drivers sort things out through an exchange of harsh words and obscene gestures and then go on their way while the police go on investigating big things like murders and drug trafficking cases.

It is true that the police are not required to investigate traffic collisions that do not involve injuries and that unless the vehicles sustain severe damage, it is your choice whether to report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles. It is in your interest, though, to get a police report because this will strengthen your claim when you are trying to get the insurance company to compensate you for all of your accident-related medical expenses. To find out more about gathering evidence after a car accident and using it to support your insurance claim, contact a New York car accident lawyer.

New York Laws About Reporting Car Accidents

Like in most states, New York law does not require drivers to report accidents that do not involve injuries and only cause minor damage to property. New York’s version of the fender bender law says that if the accident causes at least $1,000 in property damage, you must report it to the Department of Motor Vehicles by filing form MV-1044. The deadline for filing this form is ten days after the accident.

Police are not required to file a police report after a car accident unless it involves physical injuries or unless one of the drivers involved requests a police report. Even if officers in patrol cars pass by and assume that the accident is nothing major, it is a good idea for you to take the initiative to request a police report about the accident. This will put you in a stronger legal position regarding any injury claims that later arise from the collision.

How to File a Police Report After a Car Accident

Call 911 immediately after an accident, and police officers and an ambulance will arrive at the scene. If the EMTs recommend that you go to the hospital to be examined, you should go. Don’t call your insurance company or emergency roadside assistance until after you have finished with the police. When the police arrive, answer their questions thoroughly. After they leave, corroborate their report by taking pictures of the vehicle damage and road conditions. Get the contact information of any witnesses named in the police report, including the other driver in the collision. After a few days, contact the police department to get a copy of the report.

Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda About Car Accident Cases

A premises liability lawyer can help you if you suffer serious injuries in a car accident. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC in Brooklyn, New York, or call (212)671-1110 to discuss your case.



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