How To File A Motorist Accident Report
Under Section 605 of the NY State Vehicle and Traffic Law, all drivers involved in an accident where:
- a person is injured or killed, or
- there is damage to the property of one individual in excess of more than $1,000,
must file their own accident report within 10 days from the date of accident or DMV may suspend your drivers license until your report is received. To meet the filing requirements, you must fill out and file the Report of Motor Vehicle Accident . In addition,
- if the accident caused property damage only, you must exchange information about your driver license, insurance, and registration with the involved drivers and file the MV-104.
- if a person is injured or killed, you are required by the NY State Vehicle and Traffic Law to immediately notify the police and file the MV-104.
- if a parked vehicle or other property is damaged, or if a domestic animal is injured, you must locate the owner or contact the police.
- it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident that causes personal injury or death.
The accident appears on the records of all the involved drivers. An accident listed on your driver record does not indicate that you were at fault. The DMV does not try to determine fault in an accident.
Do I Need To File A Crash Report If The Police Do Not Come
If the police do not come to the site of a crash, you are not required to file a report. If the accident is minor enough, you and the other driver involved may decide that it is easier and cheaper to settle any damages among yourselves. If you are in a serious accident, however, and the police are unable to come to the scene during times of natural disasters, emergencies or a larger accident in another location, you are required by law to file a report with the police.
But even though you are not required to file a police report for a minor accident, it is still important to file a police report for several reasons:
Seeking Compensation Beyond No Fault
As the victim in a car accident, you retain the right to sue for personal injury losses including:
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What Happens If I Do Not Report The Accident In Nevada
Drivers who fail to report their accident to law enforcement can have their license suspended for up to a year. If someone is injured in the accident and no one calls the police, it can be considered a hit-and-run felony.
Minor accidents that cause delayed injuries are particularly cumbersome circumstances. Suppose one rainy day, a driver hydroplanes into the car in front, causing both to spin before stopping. All drivers and passengers exit their vehicles to assess the damage, finding only a sizable dent in the fender.
The at-fault driver offers to pay for the damage out-of-pocket to avoid an insurance premium increase. The dent in the victims car does not meet the $750 minimum. Since no one feels injured, just sore with a superficial bump on the head, both drivers agree not to involve law enforcement and work out the property damage on their own.
Several weeks later, one of the passengers unexpectedly falls into a coma and dies. After an autopsy, it was found that the passenger suffered a perfect storm of injuries, including a rotating neck injury and a head injury that caused swelling. The swelling slowly cuts off the oxygen to the brain.
Had the drivers filed a report with the police within 24 hours, they would have completed their obligation to the law. However, because both parties agreed not to report the incident, the at-fault driver is liable for a fatal hit-and-run and charged with a felony.
Why Even A Minor Crash Should Be Reported
Reporting a crash, even when it is minor, is important to establish proof that the accident happened. A police report could prove helpful as you seek compensation for your injuries and damages. These reports contain information that can be used to determine fault and negotiate a fair settlement.
Failing to report a crash could result in the other driver filing a police report or reporting the accident to his or her insurance company, which in turn could make you look guilty because you failed to act as soon as possible. You may be forced to pay for the other drivers damages, even if you were not at fault.
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Can I Report A Car Accident Online
Some police forces allow you to report car accidents online. For example, the Metropolitan Police have a report a road traffic incident tool.
You can check your local forces website to see if they offer this.
But if its an emergency for example, if someone is injured or a car is blocking the road you should always call 999.
Do I Have To Call The Police If I Have A Car Accident In New York
The simple answer is, Yes. The Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York does not require a person involved in a motor vehicle accident to call the police, however, its the smart thing to do on several levels.
The Police Accident Report contains a plethora of important information necessary to go forward with a personal injury or property damage claim. When a police officer comes to the scene of an accident, he/she will write down the names and addresses of the drivers and owners of the vehicles, the year, make and model of each vehicle, the name of the insurance carriers and the insureds policy numbers. In addition, the officer will write down each drivers version of the facts.
Many insurance representatives become skeptical and difficult to deal with if a Police Accident Report was not created. The bodily injury and property damage adjustors have been trained to sniff out fraudulent claims. When they hear that the police did not come to the scene, a red flag goes up and you often have a battle on your hands.
Most people will feel compelled to report the accident to their insurance carrier due to the creation and filing of a Police Accident Report. This helps us get the ball rolling at an early stage of the case.
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Reasons To File Your Own Police Report
Should the police decline to come to your minor auto accident, an official police document will be an asset for the following reasons:
- Delay in damages. Not all damage to the cars or the people involved is apparent at the scene of an auto accident.
- Future liability. Even if you and the other driver appear to agree about what caused the accident, you can’t be sure that they will hold this same opinion later on. A police report is a powerful document should there be litigation.
- Facilitating a settlement. A police report may expedite the insurance claim process.
Be sure to notify your insurance agent immediately when you are involved at the scene of an auto accident. Safety Insurance offers a you should exchange with the other driver.
If The Police Do Not Come To The Scene
There may be times that a police officer can’t come to the scene of the accident. Here are a few reasons why that might happen:
- In some states, the police are not required to go to the scene of an accident if the property damage value is too low. If you are concerned about injuries or other issues, make the police aware when you call it in. Having more details can help them decide whether they will come.
- The police may decide not to come if there are no injuries.
- If there is a public emergency or disaster underway, they may be too busy to make it to the scene of your crash.
You should always make a call to the police and let them decide whether they’ll come out. If the police do not come to the scene, then make sure you record all the details of the accident and any damages yourself.
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Will Reporting An Accident Increase My Car Insurance Cost
Different factors affect the cost of car insurance including your age, car, and driving experience
If you were deemed to be at fault in the accident, you might see your car insurance costs rise. This is because insurers could see you as a risky driver.
But sometimes even if an accident isnt your fault, you might see your premiums rise.
You shouldnt let a potential rise in premiums stop you from reporting an accident, though.
If you dont tell your insurer about one but they find out later, it could invalidate your insurance and you might even find it difficult to get another policy.
Remember, even if you dont make a claim, an accident needs to be disclosed when you buy insurance in the future.
How Police Reports Are Used In A Car Accident Injury Case
A police report is often used as powerful leverage in settlement negotiations . Police reports tend to include detailed statements and information about the accident, such as the type of weather and road conditions the accident occurred in, the date and time the accident took place, and, critically, the names of any witnesses who might have watched the accident unfold.
During litigation, a lawyer can use a police report to refresh the police officers recollection of his/her investigation of the accident scene. The investigating police officer and witnesses listed on the report may be called upon to testify at a trial or deposition, which is sworn oral testimony taken outside of court. Such testimony can be absolutely invaluable, sometimes even making the difference between success and failure.
Theres also another important reason to call the police after you get into an accident: depending on how serious the crash was, your failure to notify law enforcement could result in criminal charges.
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When You Must Call The Police From The Scene Of A Car Accident
There are two circumstances in which motorists in New York are legally required to call the police from the scene of a car accident:
- Injury or Death If anyone was injured or killed in the accident, you must call 911 from the scene and wait for the police to arrive. You must also report any accident resulting in injury to or the death of a domestic animal.
- Damage to Property of Unknown Owner Under New York law, you are required to report an accident to the police if the accident results in damage to a parked vehicle or any other property and the owner cannot be located.
What if you dont know whether the accident resulted in injury? When in doubt, it is best to report a car accident to the police from the scene. You cant get in trouble for reporting an accident if it turns out no one was injured, but you can get in trouble for failing to report a collision in which injuries occurred.
What if you only learn that someone was injured in the collision after the fact? If you or one of your passengers starts experiencing symptoms after the crash, or if you later learn that the other driver is seeking treatment, you should report the accident to the police promptly. At this point, you should not call 911, but instead call your local police departments non-emergency number.
Call For Help For Someone Who Is Injured
You should call an ambulance if it appears that someone is injured. You should not touch the injured person, unless you have medical training or unless the victims needs are clear. For example, if a car is burning, you can pull the victim from the car. If you can do so safely, you should help prevent further accidents by warning approaching traffic, such as putting on your hazard signals, or raising the hood of your vehicle.
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Duty To Give Information: Leaving The Scene Of An Accident Is Hit And Run
All states have laws outlining the steps drivers are required to take after a serious car accident. In Pennsylvania, this law can be found at 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3744 , which states that if an accident causes any injuries, deaths, or even property damage, the driver has a legal obligation to:
- Give his or her name, address, and vehicle registration number to the driver and/or passengers of the other vehicle.
- Give to the other party, upon request, his or her drivers license and insurance information.
If anyone was injured in the accident, the driver is also obligated to offer reasonable assistance, i.e. call 9-1-1 or transport the injured person to the nearest hospital, as a car accident lawyer in Philadelphia, PA knows.
As for police notification, 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3744 specifically states that the driver must report the accident to the nearest police department if:
In New Jersey, the relevant statute is N.J.S.A. § 39:4-130 , which includes similar provisions. However, the New Jersey law is a little more specific than the Pennsylvania law in that only property damage exceeding $500 need be reported.
Know How To Contact The Officer Who Filed Your Report
After the accident report is filed, make sure you get a card and/or direct contact information from the police officer who filed the report.
Often after an accident, you may only remember details after you’ve rested and calmed down. These details can be very important, especially if the car accident claim snowballs into a lawsuit.
If you find you have remembered some key details after the accident report is filed, contact the police officer and see if you can add these details to the accident report.
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Car Accidents Law In California
In California, the law mandates that all drivers involved in an accident must stop, no matter how minor the accident was. Drivers must stop even in a slight fender bender that doesnt seem to have caused much damage. Whether the accident involved a stationary object, moving vehicle, pedestrian, or someone elses property, you have the legal obligation to stop and exchange information with the other party. Driving away leads to a hit and run charge, which comes with worse penalties than a standard accident.
Once your vehicle collides with something else, you must stop and you should notify the California Highway Patrol or local police. Dial 9-1-1 or the non-emergency number for police in California, 1–275-5273. If the accident caused a death or injury, you must call the police. Without an injury, the law technically does not require you to notify the police. However, insurance companies and personal injury attorneys recommend you always call the police no matter how minor the accident was for your own protection.
Do I Have To Report An Accident In A Parking Lot
Back into a car in the parking lot? Did your car get hit while you were in the store? Parking lot accidents should be treated the same as an accident on a road. Use the same rules above to assess the situation and your need to file an accident report. Call your insurer to notify them of the accident.
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How Do I File My Own Crash Report If The Police Do Not Come
If the police do not feel it is necessary to file a report, but you wish to make a crash report about the accident, you need to gather detailed information at the accident scene:
- The names, addresses and phone numbers of all drivers involved in the accident.
- Their drivers license numbers.
- Their insurance information.
- The names and contact information for any pedestrians or other passengers involved in the accident.
- The names and contact information of any potential witnesses.
- The license plate numbers of other vehicles involved.
- The make, model and style of the other cars.
Along with all this practical information, you should also:
- Take pictures of your car and the other cars showing any areas of possible damage, skid marks on the road or provide evidence of weather and road conditions as well as location and any nearby landmarks in street signs.
- While it is fresh in your memory, write down your version of what happened.
When you have all this information gathered, you need to download and complete a copy of form AA-600 within five days after the accident. Send the form to:
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
What Should I Do After A Minor Accident In Nevada
Most motorists are reasonable people willing to exchange information and assess vehicle damage after a minor accident. If the driver or occupant of the other vehicle fails to act reasonably, be sure to stay safely in the vehicle, phone the police, and take note of important information:
- License plate
- Description of driver and occupants
- Description of vehicle
- Make and model of the vehicle
When considering calling the police to an accident, consider Blaise Pascals wager about God. Even if police are likely not needed, the potential benefits of calling them outweigh the benefits of not.
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