Can I Claim A Car Accident Compensation If There Is No Police Report?


Because New York City is a large metropolitan area, the police cannot get to every car accident that happens here. Drivers involved in serious car accidents in NYC are responsible for filing accident reports that go to the police.

Let’s look at when and how to file a car accident report with the NYC police and when you need to make sure such a report is on the record.

When to File a Car Accident Report with NYC Police

New York requires the driver of a car involved in an accident to file a written accident report with the local police within 10 days of the accident if:

  • A person was killed or injured in the crash, or
  • The accident caused property damage to anyone involved in excess of $1,000.

Each driver in an accident is required to file a report, even if it was a minor car accident. Drivers are to exchange driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance information at the scene of an accident.

A driver who fails to file an accident report with police within 10 days when required to do so may be charged with a misdemeanor. Your license and/or registration may be suspended after 10 days until you file.

In a crash resulting only in vehicle damage, you may estimate the value of damage yourself or obtain an estimate from a repair shop and file the report within 10 days if the damage exceeds $1,000. Keep in mind that there is nothing in the law preventing you from reporting an accident with damage worth less than $1,000.

Consequences of Not Filing a Report When Making a Car Accident Claim

Our view is clear: If anyone was injured or you expect to file any kind of insurance claim connected to the car accident, you need to make sure there is an accident report on file. The insurance companies will dispute the claim if there is no police report of the accident. It will be much more difficult to obtain any insurance payment without a report. In an accident with serious injuries, police will probably respond and file a report. But, by law, you are still required to file a report.

How to File a Car Accident Report in NYC

Drivers report car accidents in NYC by completing and submitting the New York State DMV Report of Motor Vehicle Accident form. It can be completed online. It requires:

  • Driver license information
  • Vehicle registration information
  • Vehicle damage description(s)
  • Accident location
  • Names of all people involved, which vehicle they were in, whether they were using a seat belt, whether an airbag deployed and descriptions of injuries anyone suffered
  • Insurance information.

The accident will go on the records of all drivers involved in the crash. An accident listed on your driving record does not indicate that you were at fault. The DMV does not try to determine fault in an accident.

Getting a Copy of an NYC Car Accident Police Report

Once you have filed a car accident report, if you plan to make an insurance claim or one is filed against your liability insurance that you dispute, you’ll need to obtain a copy of each report filed.

  • If police filed the accident report electronically or it occurred in one of the five boroughs of New York City, allow at least 14 days from the date of the accident before requesting it or looking for it online.
  • If police used a paper form to report the accident, allow at least 30 days from the date of the accident.
  • For the accident report filed by a motorist (you and the other driver), allow at least 60 days.

You can go to the police precinct with the jurisdiction where the accident happened, or get the reports online or through the mail. You must pay a required search fee of $10 and an additional report fee of $15 for each accident report you order by mail. The cost is less when you order an accident report online.

To order a copy of a motorist accident report you must:

  • Be named on the accident report, or
  • Be a party to a civil action (lawsuit) that arose from the accident, or
  • Provide legal representation to a person named on the report, or
  • Represent a person who is a party to a civil action that arose from the accident.

If you are working with the personal injury attorneys at David Resnick & Associates,P.C. to explore the possibility of a civil claim for compensation connected to a car accident, we can gather the accident reports for you. We pursue personal injury and wrongful death claims in car accident cases on a contingency basis. That means we don’t charge for our work unless and until we obtain an insurance settlement or court award for you.

The various accident reports – a police report and those filed by the motorists involved – are the first evidence of the accident and injuries having happened. They are basic to an insurance claim.

Can I Receive Insurance Compensation Without A Police Report?

It’s good to keep in mind that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They make money when they take in more insurance premiums than they pay out in claims.

You can file an insurance claim without a police report, and a small claim might be paid (minus the deductible). As the cost of a claim rises, so will the insurer’s need for proof that they have an obligation to pay you.

An insurer will want solid evidence of how you were injured if the other driver denies responsibility for the accident or has filed his or her own claim for compensation through your insurance.

As stated above, a police report will not declare fault in an accident. But, with the basic facts found on an accident report, an experienced car accident attorney can investigate to develop evidence that shows what happened and who is responsible.

In claim disputes, it is to your advantage to have an experienced attorney working to develop evidence on your behalf. If the other driver has an attorney, you will be at a disadvantage if you try to handle the claim on your own.

Contact Us About Your NYC Car Accident Report

If a car accident in the New York City area has left you significantly injured, you need to file a car accident report within 10 days of the accident. If another motorist caused the accident, you may be entitled to claim compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages you have suffered. New York law calls for filing a report within 10 days of a car accident to avoid penalty.

David Resnick & Associates can help you with the paperwork required after a serious car accident that was not your fault. We can file a claim for compensation on your behalf with the at-fault driver’s insurer. We work with accident victims in New York City – which includes ManhattanQueensBrooklynStaten Island, and the Bronx – and the best way to determine whether you are eligible for compensation beyond your own car insurance payment is to consult an experienced car accident attorney. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.

Author: David Resnick

Founder of David Resnick & Associates, P.C., a New York personal injury law firm in charge of providing exceptional and personal service to each of our clients in various areas including car accidents, slip and fall, wrongful death, construction accidents, and premises liability. David Resnick founded the firm in 1998 after working in large law firms where he saw a need for greater client communication and more personal care.

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