If you need to make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit following a car accident in New York City, you should obtain a copy of the police report. The easiest way to do this is by requesting it in person from the police department. If that is not an option, you may be able to obtain a copy through an online request.
Your accident report will provide important substantiation of your claims, both that the accident occurred and that you suffered an injury. But they are not always correct. A New York City car accident attorney from our firm can evaluate your case and determine how best to proceed.
What a police report will show after a car accident
- It documents that an accident did occur.
- It usually includes names, contact information, and insurance carriers for others involved, making it easier to make a claim if necessary.
- It records crucial observations like the weather, landmarks relevant to the accident, damage to the vehicles, and whether anyone suffered injuries.
- Police reports show whether anyone was cited for a traffic violation, which can be used to establish fault.
What can be a bit confusing is that even though police reports are official records containing valuable information, not all of the information is correct or admissible in court. They might contain hearsay that may only be admitted if you can show exceptions. Some of the facts and conclusions may be wrong. Your lawyer can help you navigate these issues so that you present a clear and accurate record.
How to obtain your police report
The quickest way to receive your accident report is to visit the NYPD precinct in the jurisdiction where the crash occurred. Typically, the report is free, and you can receive it instantly– though it may take 14-30 days for it to become available. However, save yourself a trip to the wrong location by calling ahead to confirm that the precinct covers the area of your accident.
You can also obtain a copy of the police report online. The DMV allows online requests for reports of accidents occurring within the five boroughs. This option requires you to pay a fee and can take longer.
Information needed to retrieve an accident report
As already mentioned, you will need to know which precinct will have your report on file. Along with that, you will need something to identify the report. If you received papers from the officer, it should have an incident number, and you can use this.
If you did not receive the incident number, the precinct would be able to look it up with other information, including:
- Your first and last name
- The license plate number of your vehicle and the other vehicle involved
- Date and time of the accident
- Location of the accident– either the address or intersection
Not everyone is allowed to receive a copy of the police report. You will also need to confirm that you are either party to the accident or a legal representative of someone who is.
What if the police report contains errors?
Since the police report is made after-the-fact by someone who usually was not present when the accident occurred, it can contain errors.
An inaccurate report can hurt your chances of obtaining a fair settlement or prevent you from winning a lawsuit. If you notice a mistake and it is material, you may need to seek an amendment to it. You can do this by contacting the police officer who made the report and explaining the error. You may even be able to supplement your request with supporting documents.
The officer has the final say in whether they will amend it. It can be helpful to have your attorney handle the request because attitude is everything. Your lawyer should be able to process the request with confidence and respect, increasing the odds that you will receive an amendment.
Contact us today for a free consultation
Speak with a personal injury lawyer in New York City if you sustained an injury in a car accident. At Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, we fight for your rights. We can help you obtain your police report, ensure it is correct, and advocate for you before insurance companies and the other driver’s lawyers. Call today to schedule a free consultation.