The method to obtain your police report depends on how long it has been since the accident.
Within 30 Days
If you are still within the 30-day window since your accident, then you have the option to file a request in person, online, or via mail. You can go directly to the NYPD district or precinct where the accident happened and file your request. This is the quickest method to obtaining your police report, which you will usually receive between 1 to 3 days, although you may wait up to two weeks.
If you file your request online through the Collision Report Retrieval Portal, then your police report will be uploaded to an online portal within seven days. If you prefer to make your request by mail, then you will need to print, download, and fill out two copies of the Request for Copy of Collision Record and then mail them to the precinct where the accident happened.
After 30 Days
After 30 days, the precinct no longer holds onto accident reports on file, so you will need to file your request with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This can only be done by mail or online. If you choose to mail in your request, then you’ll need to download an MV-198C form. If you choose to file online, then you will need to fill out the MV-104 at the DMV’s report transactions page.
What is a police report?
A car accident report is a written document usually generated at the collision scene by the responding police officer. It contains important details about the crash, including statements from the drivers involved, passengers and witnesses, the time and location of the crash, and the point of collision. It will detail the damage to the vehicles and property and whether or not there were any injuries. Sometimes the police report also contains a diagram that the responding police officer drew to illustrate the path of the vehicles and the point of collision. In some cases, the police officer may even draw conclusions as to why they believe the accident happened.
The police report will also include violations of the law, such as whether or not one of the drivers was inebriated or failed to yield the right of way. The report will also include the roadway conditions, weather, and visibility conditions at the scene of the accident. Identifying information for all of the people involved in the accident, such as their names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information, will also be contained in the police report.
Who uses the police report?
There are multiple parties that use the police report for different reasons. One is the insurance company, which will conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident and use some of the responding officer’s observations and notes to come to a conclusion. They will use the information documented in the report to determine fault and how much they should pay for the injuries and damages.
When you show up to your initial consultation at Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP, it would be best for you to bring the police report with you if you have it. Even if the responding police officer indicated which party was at fault for the accident, this does not necessarily mean that you have lost your case or that the police report is accurate. Just as the insurance company will conduct an investigation, your personal injury attorney will conduct an investigation to find out exactly what happened.
The report could also say that the other driver was at fault, but this does not necessarily mean that you will automatically win your case. Although the other driver may decide that they want to settle the claim to avoid litigation, there’s still a chance they could fight and hire their own attorneys. This is why you need an experienced, successful attorney representing you and handling your case.
Is a police report admissible in court?
If neither one of the parties can settle the case before going to trial, then it’s possible that the police report will be used as evidence when you file your lawsuit. Police reports are typically admissible in small claims court, but if your car accident case goes to trial in circuit court, then it may or may not be used as evidence. This is due to the rules of evidence, which are the legal principles that determine what evidence should or should not be considered as fact. Again, the responding police officer may have given their opinion regarding who they believe is at fault, but it is only an opinion, so it is not always admissible in court.
How Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP Help Victims of Accidents
Personal injury cases are rarely straightforward. The insurance companies want to save themselves money, so their interests are not the same as a victim’s interests. Likewise, if a driver is at fault for causing an accident, they are very likely going to try to find a way to reduce their fault. Everyone involved in your accident case will be looking out for themselves, so you should have an attorney who is looking out for you and your interests.
The accident attorneys at Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP will not only advise you of your rights, but they will fight for you to get what you deserve. Our prior clients have been more than satisfied with the representation they have received from us because we prioritize communication and compassion.
With offices in Long Island and New York City, we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your accident, whether you were involved in a car accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, truck accident, or any other type of accident. Your initial consultation at Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP is free, and we highly recommend that you bring your police report with you so that we can best advise you on the next steps towards recovering damages for your injuries.