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How to Obtain a Car Accident Report in New York, NY

Posted in Car Accidents on September 22, 2021

How to Obtain a Car Accident Report in New York, NY

Motorists involved in car accidents in New York must file motorist accident reports. These reports provide contact and insurance information for all people involved in the accident.

New York makes accident reports available to drivers involved in an accident. Both the NYPD and the state provide online portals to access collision reports filed by investigating officers. The New York State DMV also collects and provides motorist accident reports.

Here is some information about how to obtain a car accident report in New York, NY.

What Are the Different Types of Accident Reports?

New York law defines two different types of accident reports. These accident reports have different filing requirements, although their requirements overlap.

Police Collision Reports

You must report a car accident to the police in three situations:

  • When there has been property damage and you cannot locate the owner
  • There was an injury or death to anyone other than yourself
  • There was an injury or death of an animal and you cannot locate the owner

If you fail to report such an accident to the police, prosecutors can charge you with leaving the scene of an accident. The penalty for this crime ranges from a $250 fine to seven years in prison.

Police officers responding to the accident will investigate the collision. The officers report their investigation’s results on form MV-104A in upstate New York and MV-104AN in New York City.

This report includes the officers’ notes about how the accident happened. It also lists any traffic citations or arrests.

For accidents in New York City, the relevant precinct will add the police collision report to its database within seven days after completion. You can obtain a copy from NYPD by visiting the precinct in person or by requesting a copy online.

The police report remains with the precinct for 30 days. After 30 days, the precinct forwards the police report to the New York State DMV.

If you did not obtain a copy of your police report from the precinct, you can request a copy from the DMV online or by mail.

Motorist Accident Reports

New York law requires motorists to report accidents to the New York DMV. This report is separate from the police collision report. The responding officers will not file this report, but they may provide a copy of the MV-104 form to you.

Motorists must file a DMV report if the accident caused:

  • More than $1,000 in property damage
  • Death or injury

The motorist accident report is similar to the police collision report with two key differences. First, the motorist report does not include a place to identify the citations or charges against the at-fault driver. Secondly, the motorist report includes space to provide your insurance information.

You can get copies of the motorist accident reports from the DMV. The DMV makes these reports available 60 days after the accident.

Since all motorists involved in the accident must report the accident, you will find multiple motorist reports for your accident.

What is the Purpose of the Accident Reports?

These reports serve different purposes. The police report is concerned with how your accident occurred. It also notes what you told the responding officer about your injuries. These two facts should provide enough evidence for your insurance company to pay no-fault insurance benefits.

If your no-fault benefits fail to cover all of your damages, you will use the motorist accident report to find the at-fault driver and their insurer.

You can then use this information to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The police collision report will help you and your accident lawyer prove the driver’s fault for the accident.

To learn more, call one of our convenient locations nearest you for assistance.

New York City law office at (212) 564-2800,
Brooklyn law office at (718) 802-1600.

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