Police report cabinet
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By Richard Obiol
Principal Attorney

In the chaotic aftermath of a car accident, obtaining a police report may not be the first thing on your mind. However, this document is invaluable for documenting the details of the accident and establishing liability for insurance claims and potential legal actions. If you’ve been involved in an accident in New York, here’s how to obtain a police report to protect your rights and interests.

1. Report the Accident to Law Enforcement

The first step in obtaining a police report is to ensure that law enforcement officers respond to the scene of the accident. If the accident involves injuries, fatalities, or significant property damage, New York state law requires you to report the accident to the police immediately. Even in minor fender-benders, it’s advisable to contact the police to document the incident and facilitate the exchange of information between the parties involved. You may file the report even if the other driver refuses to do so.

2. Provide Necessary Information to Law Enforcement

When the police arrive at the scene, be prepared to provide them with all relevant information about the accident, including:

  • Your name, contact information, and driver’s license number
  • Vehicle registration and insurance information
  • Description of the accident, including date, time, and location
  • Description of the injuries and property damage
  • Contact information for any witnesses to the accident

Cooperating fully with law enforcement officers and providing accurate information will help ensure that the police report is thorough and accurate.  DO NOT admit fault.  You may not have all of the facts as of yet to make that determination, and you will be held to what you say in the police report.

3. Request a Copy of the Police Report

After the accident, you can request a copy of the police report from the law enforcement agency that responded to the scene. In New York, police reports are typically available through the precinct or department that investigated the accident. You may need to submit a formal request and pay a nominal fee to obtain a copy of the report.  You may also obtain a copy of the report via the DMV at New York DMV | Crash (accident) reports (ny.gov) 

4. Review the Police Report Carefully

When you receive the police report, take the time to review it carefully for accuracy and completeness. Check that all details of the accident, including the sequence of events, contributing factors, and statements from involved parties and witnesses, are accurately recorded. If you identify any errors or discrepancies, notify the law enforcement agency promptly to request corrections.

5. Share the Police Report with Your Insurance Company

Once you’ve obtained the police report, share a copy with your insurance company to initiate the claims process. Your insurance policy requires you to report the accident to your company promptly, and failure to do so could result in denial of benefits.  The report will serve as valuable evidence to support your claim and establish liability for the accident. Be sure to provide any additional documentation or information requested by your insurance company to expedite the claims process.

The Attorneys at Civardi & Obiol Help Those in New York Who Have Been Injured in a Car Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the potential legal remedies available to you. A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can advocate for justice.

At Civardi & Obiol, our qualified New York personal injury attorneys will help walk you through the process every step of the way. To learn more or schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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