NY crash reports are like “snapshots” of what happened at the scene of a car crash. So, given how crucial your crash report is, obtaining a copy should be a priority. But once you have your report, how do you make sense of it?

Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to such a question. Below, we explain how to read any NY crash report, and how to obtain a copy if you don’t have one yet.

What Is an NY Crash Report?

Your car accident report is a legal document. It outlines the likely cause of a car crash, the parties involved, property damage, and personal injuries. Every report contains key details such as:

  • Accident date and time
  • Crash location
  • Vehicle details
  • Driver details
  • Witness information
  • Physical injuries and property damage identified at the scene
  • Contributing factors e.g. DUI, speeding, road hazards

Although a crash report is just one piece of evidence, it can play a vital part in any claim.

Why Does a Crash Report in NY Matter?

Your crash report matters because it helps to prove what happened to you. In other words, it helps you claim compensation for property damage and injuries.

Without a crash report, it may be harder for insurance companies to decide how much your claim is worth. It could also be harder to prove that the accident is the cause of your injuries or property damage.

Are Crash Reports in New York Legally Required?

Sometimes, it’s not just a matter of convenience to have an NY crash report. You may require a report under NY law.

  • You are legally obliged to report a crash to law enforcement if there is any injury, however minor. Fatalities must also be reported.
  • You must notify the police if you hit a parked car and cannot find the owner.
  • You must tell the police if you injure a domestic animal.

You must also tell the DMV if there is property damage worth $1,0001 or more, or if there are injuries. File your DMV report within 10 days or else you could face penalties.

Unsure whether to report an accident? Report it anyway. The police, or the Department of Motor Vehicles, will tell you what to do.

How to Read NYPD Crash Reports

Here are some points to bear in mind as you read through your report.

  • Accident reports contain various numerical codes. Your crash report should include a page with a list of codes and what they mean.
  • Any error, no matter how small, could damage your insurance or compensation claims. Check your report carefully and immediately notify the police if there’s a problem.
  • Even the most detailed accident report can be challenged. It’s only one piece of evidence – albeit a compelling one.

Now let’s break down each section of a standard NY crash report so you know how to read yours.

Closeup of black motor vehicle rear damage after crash in NY

1. Accident Overview

In this section, you’ll find all the basic details, such as the date, time, and specific location of the crash. Double-check this section carefully. Any error – even a typo – can delay your claim or jeopardize it entirely.

2. Vehicle Information

This next section lists the vehicles involved and driver information. It should also contain the driver’s license ID number for each driver.

Your name must be set out exactly as it is on your license. Otherwise, you could encounter problems with your claim, so be sure to double-check this.

3. Citations

Next, you’ll find confirmation of any citations or tickets issued at the scene. These are for traffic violations, such as running a stop sign or red light.

Just because a driver didn’t violate a certain traffic law doesn’t mean they weren’t negligent. Your car accident lawyer can explain how else you might prove fault if someone else caused your injuries.

4. Damage Codes

Damage codes are used to indicate where a vehicle was struck, and how significant the damage is. These details can be crucial in proving the value of any insurance claim following a crash.

5. Contributing Factors

The officer will note any other factors which may have contributed to the crash, such as storm surges or poorly lit roads.

These details matter, because other parties could also be partly responsible for the accident. For example, if it’s a poorly lit road, a local authority could be partly to blame for not maintaining the roadway.

6. Officer’s Notes

In this section, the attending officer draws a diagram. It shows what they believe happened based on the evidence they have available. They will also write up a description of events.

Although these notes are highly relevant, they can be challenged. Especially since the officer most likely did not witness the incident. That said, they give some indication as to who most likely caused the crash.

7. All Parties Involved

This final section contains the details of any other parties injured in the crash. They could be passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, or other road users.

Remember, not all injuries are immediately obvious. Some injuries take time to manifest. So, think of the details in this section as observations. Only once doctors examine a victim can we say for sure what the diagnosis (and outlook) is.

How to Get a Copy of a New York Crash Report

If you don’t already have a copy of your accident report, how do you obtain one? Normally, you can contact the DMV. However, there may be a delay, especially if the DMV does not have your report.

For example, if it is a thruway accident, you may have to contact other authorities to get your report. Or there may simply be a processing delay and your report is still with the local police.

The quickest and simplest way to obtain your crash report in NY is to contact us. We’ll do the hard work of locating your report so you can focus on recovery.

Find Your NY Crash Report Online | Auto Accident Report

Finding your New York crash report can be time-consuming. However, the Auto Accident Report team knows exactly where to look. Simply provide a few details and we’ll quickly locate your report for free. And if you need a medical expert or car accident lawyer, we can steer you in the right direction!

Don’t delay – find your accident report with ease using our simple online tool. Click “Get Started” and obtain your NY crash report now!