The Importance of Reporting a Car Accident

Posted: October 2, 2020

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In New York State, all drivers involved in an accident where a person is injured or killed or there is damage to the property of one individual in excess of more than $1,000 must file an accident report within ten days from the date of accident. Likewise, individuals who have been in an accident are generally well advised to report it to their insurance provider or risk losing out on important insurance coverage

Reporting An Accident

There are at least two reports that must be filed as soon as possible after an accident. Here is a look at each type of report.

Police Report or Report of Motor Vehicle Accident

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles:

  1. If the accident only involved property damage, the driver must file an MV-104 and exchange information with the other driver, including information about your driver’s license, insurance and registration.
  2. If someone is injured or killed, the NY State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires the driver to immediately notify the police and file an MV-104.
  3. If the accident involved a parked vehicle, other property is damaged, or a domestic animal is injured, the driver must locate the owner or contact the police.
  4. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident that causes personal injury or death.

When an accident is reported, it will appear on the driving records of all involved parties. An accident listed on your driving record does not mean you were at fault. According to the DMV, it does not try to determine fault in an accident.

Once you file your accident report, you can ask the police for a copy or if the police and/or motorists’ reports have already been filed and processed by the DMV, you can download a PDF copy of the report directly from the DMV website.

Additional helpful information can be found in the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, and the DMV website.

Report to Your Insurance Provider

New York is considered a “no-fault” state. Generally speaking, after an accident, you are required to report it to your insurance provider in order to obtain benefits from your insurance policy, such as coverage for wage loss and medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault.

In certain circumstances, an individual will be permitted to receive compensation for pain and suffering, which will generally involve a separate insurance claim.

These circumstances — known as the state’s serious injury threshold — include:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Serious disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss or limitation of a body organ, member, function, or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature that prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment

The Potential Consequences for Not Reporting an Accident

Failing to report an accident when legally required by NY Vehicle and Traffic Law 605 can result in the suspension of a driver’s license and registration until the report is submitted. Additionally, in accordance with NY Vehicle and Traffic Law 600, someone who fails to report the accident can be subject to a fine of up to $250 and even incarceration of up to 15 days.

Someone who fails to report an accident may also risk losing the ability to make a claim for pain and suffering later on.

William Mattar Can Help

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, be sure to preserve your right to seek compensation by reporting the accident.

Then feel free to talk to an experienced car accident attorney from William Mattar P.C. about your next steps. For your free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling 716-444-4444.

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