When you’re involved in a car accident, it can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. Understandably, this can make it challenging to stay calm and remember the steps you should take to safeguard your legal rights. Unfortunately, those unfamiliar with how to proceed may jeopardize their chances of recovering monetary compensation for their incurred damages. One of the first steps accident victims should take after an accident is to contact the police, regardless of the collision’s severity. Please continue reading to learn the importance of filing a police report after an accident and how a trusted New York City Car Accident Attorney can help you fight for the just compensation you deserve.
Do I have to file a police report after an auto accident in New York?
If you’re involved in a car accident where a person is injured or killed, or there is damage to the property of one individual that is more than $1,000, you must report the accident to the police within ten days of the accident. If you fail to report an accident under these circumstances, you will face serious consequences, including the DMV potentially suspending your driving privileges. It’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident that causes injury or death. If the accident was minor, meaning no one was injured and there was no substantial damage, you are not legally required to call the police. However, there are numerous advantages to alerting the police and filing a police report.
What are the benefits of filing a police report?
Regardless of whether you feel fine and the damage to your property seems minor, you should call the police after an accident. Your adrenaline may mask specific injuries in the immediate aftermath of a collision. In addition, some injuries may not be evidence immediately, as they have delayed effects, causing them to appear several days after the incident. If you fail to file a police report, you will lose crucial evidence supporting your claim.
At the accident scene, the police serve as a crucial impartial third party. Their primary objective is to investigate the circumstances of an accident and gather valuable information about it, which can help determine fault. Due to the traumatic nature of the event, it’s often difficult for the parties involved to recollect specific details. As such, the police report becomes a critical piece of evidence that comprises factual information, accusation descriptions, and pertinent details about the accident. Police reports often include the following:
- The date and time of the incident
- The location where the accident took place
- Any damage to the cars involved
- Any injuries sustained by drivers, passengers, or witnesses
- Witness statements and the statements of each driver as to what happened
- Insurance information of all parties involved
- The officer’s observations and impressions about the accident
- Weather conditions or other conditions that may have contributed to the cause of the collision
As you can see, a police report will provide you with crucial information that can be used to support your claim. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s vital to file a police report. In addition, it’s essential to enlist the legal assistance of a skilled attorney from the legal team at Swerling Law, who can help guide you through the claims process every step of the way.