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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

Can I File a Claim In New York if I Don't Have a Police Report for My Accident?

Many things happen after a car accident. Ensuring safety is always the number one priority, but insurance companies get involved, and those affected by the accident must receive fair compensation.

A police report is often necessary for the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident. It provides documentation that the accident happened and can even establish which driver is at fault.

However, a police report is not mandatory to file an insurance claim in the state of New York, though it is more challenging to win the settlement. There are ways to win a claim without a police report. The Law Office of Carl Maltese can answer questions such as, "How is liability determined for a bus accident in New York?"

Filing an Accident Report in New York

Filing an Accident Report in New York

Victims of a car crash must contact police to arrive at the crash scene if someone was injured or killed in the accident. This is also true for an injury or death of a domestic animal or pet.

A minor car accident may not require health emergency services. If there is property damage, the drivers involved should swap contact and insurance information. From there, they can file a police report within ten days of the accident taking place.

Car accident victims can attain a police report, also called a motor vehicle accident report, by completing a Request for Copy of Collision Record. The document should be sent to the police precinct located where the accident occurred. Anyone trying to obtain records must have been involved in the crash, and it must have taken place within the last 30 days.

To get a car accident report quicker, those involved in the crash can use the online Collision Report Retrieval Portal for police records dating back to 2016.

How to Prove Fault for an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report

A police report is beneficial when filing a car accident claim. However, it is not necessary. Parties involved in an accident should still file a claim with an insurance company even if they have no official documentation from the police. Winning a claim addresses any property damage or personal injury resulting from the accident.

There are many ways to go about winning a car accident case without relying on police reports. These forms of evidence include:

  • Calling the person who wrote the report as a witness

  • A deposition from the person who wrote the report

  • Witnesses

  • Video footage

  • Photos of the scene, including any injuries or damage

  • Medical records

It is important to remember that there are many ways to produce evidence of an accident, but an insurance company works to make money. Without a police report, it may be harder to win a property damage or personal injury claim. The Law Office of Carl Maltese has experienced auto accident attorneys that can help.

If a claim goes to court, most people cannot use an accident report as evidence. Due to the hearsay rule, they must utilize the alternatives. Usually, this involves the person who filed the report.

How to Demand Compensation

The effects of a car accident can range from minor scrapes to major damage. When a driver is not at fault, they should try to have their insurance company assist in repayment. This includes vehicle damage and more:

  • Medical expenses

  • Incidental expenses

  • Compensation for psychological and mental distress

Some special cases may call for compensation of punitive damages in which a defendant does not cooperate or acts indecently.

Why an Insurance Company Prefers to Have a Report

New York law does not require an accident report after every collision. However, possessing one can streamline the process of filing a claim.

The insurance company may have more reason to deny a claim without a police report. Lacking this documentation can lead to the company denying the accident ever occurred. Having a report leaves no room for the company to deny that.

Additionally, the company could claim that a victim does not have sufficient evidence to cover some if not all of the claim. A car accident report proves the damages caused, leading to a higher likelihood of receiving compensation.

If someone files a fault-based claim under the other driver's insurance, there is a greater chance the company denies full compensation benefits.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Car accidents can be strenuous to deal with. Immediately following a crash, drivers must ensure their safety and proceed with getting the proper compensation.

After an auto collision, drivers involved should follow the next steps:

  • Shift the car into the parking gear

  • Check for injuries

  • Call 911 for emergencies

If no one in the car sustained injuries, the driver can try to move the car away from traffic. Then, they should follow the procedure of swapping insurance and contact information.

When to Call the Police

The police are not required after a minor accident. However, the state of New York requires the parties involved in an accident to call the police if any of the following occur:

  • Anyone involved is injured or killed

  • Any domestic animal or pet is injured or killed

  • A parked vehicle or other property gets damaged, and the driver cannot find the owner

A police report usually accompanies the arrival of emergency responders after all victims are cared for.

When More than One Person Is at Fault

When more than one party is at fault in a car accident, New York uses a comparative fault system. If an insurance claim goes to court, the percentage of fault deducts from the claimed compensation.

Moreover, if a driver is at 50 percent fault for the collision, 50 percent subtracts from the claim. When a driver is only 10 percent at fault, they receive 90 percent of their claim.

A police report helps determine the percentage of the claim a driver should receive. As such, this documentation can be very influential in the outcome of a settlement. The Law Office of Carl Maltese can help with everything you need to know about New York City’s E-Scooter Laws.

Contact a Trusted Car Accident Lawyer

Most settlement negotiations take place outside of court. Drivers can represent themselves, but without an accident report, it can be challenging to get the compensation they deserve. Therefore, the right lawyer can help crash victims financially recover from the aftermath of a car accident.

Contact the trusted legal team at the Law Office of Carl Maltese for ideal representation.


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