If you were involved in a car accident in New York, you might be required by state law to file a crash report with the police. In this blog, The New York car accident lawyers at The Mandel Law Firm explore when you need to file a crash report, what could happen if you don’t, and how a crash report can help when you file a claim for compensation.
When Do You Need to Report a Collision in New York?
Under § 605 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, you are required to report an accident to the police if you are a driver involved in:
- An accident that results in more than $1,000 in property damage for any one individual, including yourself
- An accident that injures or kills any person
When accidents result in injuries or death, police officers typically respond to the scene and file reports themselves. However, all drivers involved in accidents that meet the above criteria are still required to file their own reports.
You must file your accident report with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of the accident. You can do so by filling out a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident form (Form MV-104) and submitting it to your local DMV office.
What Happens If I Don’t Report a Crash?
If you fail to file a car accident report within ten days of a crash resulting in injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage, you could face several consequences. First, the DMV will likely suspend your driver’s license and registration until they receive your report. Next, if you continue to refuse to submit an accident report, you could face:
- Up to $250 in fines and up to 15 days jail time for failure to report an accident that results in more than $1,000 in property damage
- Between $500 and $1,000 in fines and up to a year in prison for failure to report an accident that results in injuries
- Up to $2,500 in fines and up to 4 years in prison for failure to report an accident that results in death, disfigurement, broken bones, or other serious injuries
The Importance of a Police Report in Injury Claims
In addition to possible legal repercussions, the failure to file a police report could prevent you from obtaining fair compensation in an injury claim. Insurance companies may agree to pay for small claims without a police report. However, the insurer will likely require more proof if you have a potentially expensive claim.
Although police accident reports typically do not contain information about who was at fault for the crash, they do provide many basic facts that can be extremely useful to investigators. If the insurance company or another party tries to imply that you were to blame, your attorney can help you review the details of crash reports and other evidence to support your claim.
To access a copy of your accident report, you can request one from the local police precinct in the area where the accident occurred. You can also request a copy online or via mail, though you may be required to pay.
Contact Mandel Law Today
Our dedicated New York car accident attorneys at The Mandel Law Firm could help you file a comprehensive crash report and seek fair compensation after a car accident. Contact us today to learn more about our services in a free, no-risk initial consultation.