An accident report will most likely be created if you’ve been in a vehicle accident in New York. Should a law enforcement officer be called to the scene, that officer will file one based on what you and any other parties to the accident might say. If there are no police called to the scene, you may be required to file an accident report within a specified period.
The insurance companies and the court will use the report’s details to help determine who is at fault for an accident. But what happens if the information in the report isn’t correct? Do you have to live with it? Or is there something you can do about it?
Accident Reports in New York State
According to New York’s DMV office, if anyone dies or is injured in an accident or it results in damage worth at least $1,000, parties to the accident must file a motorist accident report within ten days. If you don’t file a report about an accident you’re involved in that caused injuries or property damage, you could have your license revoked.
If the accident only caused property damage, you can exchange information with the other people in the collision. Then, you’d file the state’s Report of Motor Vehicle Accident, also known as the MV-104.
Once the report is filed, get a copy and confirm that everything on the report is correct. You can check at the precinct covering the location where the accident occurred to get the report. The DMV should retain the record for four years.
On the DMV site, you can find instructions about how to get your accident report.
- You can first do a free limited search to see if it’s in the system.
- You can then search for the specific report. An online search will cost $7, or you could pay $10 for a search by mail.
- Once you’ve found the report, you’ll pay $15 to order it.
- Once you’ve paid online, you’ll have seven days to download the PDF.
Once you receive the report, thoroughly examine it to ensure all the information is correct. If a law enforcement officer made the accident report, confirm that the info you relayed to that officer made it into the report correctly.
What Are You Looking For?
As we detailed in an earlier article, the accident report in New York State starts with a first-page detailing who was involved in the collision. If an officer fills it out, it might include codes for contributing factors in a crash, including unsafe speeds and alcohol use. From page two, a report will elaborate more on those contributing factors.
The DMV does make a sample report available online so you can know what to expect. An experienced New York car accident lawyer can help you assess what those codes mean. It’s important to know what’s on the report. The officer might be saying something about the cause of the accident that’s different from what you experienced.
What if There’s a Mistake?
If there’s a simple, provable mistake on the accident report, such as your date of birth or insurance policy information, you can contact the DMV about amending the report. The sooner you act, the better off you are. Any documentation you can submit to back you up, such as a photo of your license or insurance policy, will help.
But what if the issue goes beyond a simple mistake? Maybe the accident report includes an account alleging you’re at fault. Maybe it omits some key details or presents the facts differently than you see them. In that case, you may want to contact a lawyer experienced with New York car accidents.
While you want to correct the accident report to reflect that the accident wasn’t your fault, you could also seek compensation for your injuries and losses from the person at fault. Consulting with a lawyer dealing with car accident cases could clarify what steps to take.