New York state law requires police to file a report when responding to an accident causing over $1,000 in damage or injury to any parties involved. In cases where the police do not respond to such an accident, the drivers involved must file an accident report with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The official title for this report is the Report of Motor Vehicle Accident (MV-104).
The purpose of the MV-104 is to establish the facts that led up to the accident.
The DMV and the drivers’ insurance companies will use the facts contained in the report to determine liability for the accident. This will begin the claims process. If you’re a driver in New York, you should know how to obtain a copy of this report.
What Kind of Information Is in the Accident Report?
The accident report will contain valuable information about the accident. The type of information requested in an accident report includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Date of the accident
- Time of the accident
- Location of the accident
- Make and model year of vehicles involved
- License plate numbers of vehicles involved
- Driver’s license numbers for all drivers involved
- Name of any passenger(s) involved in the accident
- Contact information for driver(s), passenger(s), and witness(es)
- Insurance policy information for all drivers involved
- General weather conditions (e.g., wet, snowy, raining, sunny, dusk) at the time of the accident
- Summary of any injuries to drivers, passengers, cyclists, or pedestrians involved
- Any moving violations or other citations issued by police
- Description of any damage to vehicles or property
- Sketches or drawings that describe the accident (e.g., direction of vehicles before and after the accident)
If the police respond to the accident, they will file the report automatically. However, if they do not, New York law requires the drivers involved to file form MV-104 with the DMV no later than 10 days after the accident. The MV-104 will also become part of the official records for each driver involved in the accident. Every detail counts, so provide as much information as possible.
Why do I Need a Copy of My Accident Report?
If the police didn’t respond to your accident and issue a citation at the scene, it’s possible that one or more of the other drivers involved may contest liability.
That’s why your insurance company (and that of the other driver) will use the accident report to assess which driver was more at fault in causing the accident.
How do I Get a Copy of My Accident Report?
If the police responded to your accident, you should get a copy of the report from the police station for the precinct where the accident happened. Generally, the report will be available no later than 30 days after the accident. If, however, the police did not respond and you submitted an accident report yourself, you will need to complete the Request for Copy of Collision Record Form.
You can fill this form out online but remember to make two copies. Once you have completed both copies, you can mail them to the police precinct where the accident took place or drop them off at the precinct in person. The NYPD also has an online service where you can request a copy of your accident report.
Bear in mind, however, that the report may not be available until at least seven business days after the accident. The precinct will only maintain copies of the accident report for 30 days after the accident, after which time they are forwarded to the New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. If you don’t request your accident report from the precinct within this 30-day period, you must get your accident report directly from the DMV.
How do I Get My Accident Report From the DMV?
You can request an accident report from the DMV online, which allows you to search and download official accident reports. Simply go to the online portal and enter the required search information to see if your accident report is filed. The initial search is free; however, if you find your accident, you will be charged a $7 search fee and a $15 report fee (per report) before you can download your report.
You can also request a copy of the accident report from the DMV by mail. To request a copy by mail, you must first download and complete form MV-198C (Request for Copy of Accident Report).
Information You Must Provide in This Form
Along with this completed form, you must provide the following details:
- Date of accident
- Name of county where the accident occurred
- A check payable to NYSDMV to cover the $10 search fee and $15 report copy fee per report
To assist the DMV with their search, you must also include one of the following pieces of information:
- Driver’s license number of any driver or person involved in the accident
- License plate number of any vehicle involved in the accident
- Name and date of birth (DOB) of any person involved in the accident
You can mail the completed form and the check to:
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228
Let Us Help You Get a Copy of Your Accident Report
If you were in a car crash, the accident report is one of the most important pieces of information you can have. While it’s certainly possible for you to get this report yourself, it can be a lot of work if you’re already dealing with injuries and property damage from the accident. The good news is you have options.
Let someone else do the heavy lifting. Here at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we take care of tasks like acquiring police reports. So, if trying to handle your accident all on your own is too much to handle on your own, you can call us for a free consultation about your case at (516) 358-6900. We offer a No Fee Promise, meaning we charge no upfront fees or costs when you hire us.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900