If you’ve been in an accident in Long Island, the accident report is an integral document as you work through the complicated process of submitting claims, connecting with an attorney, and getting the treatment and resolution you need.
How to Get a Police Report
Following an accident in which damage to vehicles or injuries occurred, you should contact the police to file a police report. They can complete an investigation on-scene; this documentation will help your attorney protect your rights as a victim in the accident. Do not leave the scene of the accident until you have met with police, and do not admit guilt during your discussions with the police. Share the facts without apologizing or claiming responsibility.
Always remember that the safety of those involved is more important than the accident report. Make sure everybody is safe, administer first aid if necessary, and call 911 for an ambulance if anybody is seriously hurt.
Getting a Copy of the Police Report
Once the police report has been filed, you’ll need a copy for your records. This is helpful when submitting claims to your insurance (or the insurance carrier for the other driver) as well as when meeting with a personal injury attorney.
The New York Department of Motor Vehicles maintains accident reports for four years, so it’s important to request your copy as soon as possible after your accident. If complications arise later, you may no longer be able to get a copy of your accident report.
You can either order a copy of your report by mail using form MV-198C (called Request for Copy of Accident Report) or online through the NY DMV’s website. In order to complete the request, you’ll need to know the license plate number, driver license number, name, and date of birth of at least one person involved in the accident. The DMV will send you a certified copy of the accident report in response to your request. You can’t request your copy by phone in the state of New York.
Keep in mind that your police accident report usually isn’t available until two weeks after your accident. If you or someone else involved in the accident filed the report yourself instead of calling the police, it takes much longer to get through the system and be available for you. As a matter of fact, it can take as long as two months.
How Much Does it Cost?
Like most government requests, you have to pay to get a copy of your accident report following a motor vehicle accident. If you submit your request by mail, the fees include a $10 search fee and a $15 report fee, totaling $25. If you submit your request online, you can expect to pay a $7 search fee and a $15 report fee, totaling $22.
What Else Should I Do After an Accident?
A personal injury attorney can help guide you following an accident involving injuries. He or she can make sure you’ve taken all of the steps necessary to take care of yourself after your accident. This includes getting the medical care you need and making ends meet financially until you receive compensation for your injuries. He or she can also compare what you receive from insurance companies and/or the driver at fault to what you should have received. If a discrepancy is identified, a personal injury attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve after your accident, which might include:
- compensation for lost wages due to time away from work
- compensation for wages you will lose in the future if you’re unable to return to work or have lost your job
- compensation for loss of companionship if there was a death in the accident
- reimbursement for medical expenses and other services required after the accident
- compensation for future medical expenses you expect to incur as a result of your injuries
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