Can You Get in Trouble for Not Reporting a Car Crash in New York?

When people get into a minor car accident, they think it’s okay to handle it on their own. They agree not to call the police and figure they can just exchange insurance information with the other driver. They don’t want to deal with the hassle of calling the cops. After all, if the damage to the car isn’t that, what does it matter? They assume that, because they aren’t injured, there is no reason to report the accident. 

What a lot of people don’t realize is that, legally, you are required to report the accident. While the law in New York isn’t as strict as it is in some other states, there are rules about reporting a car accident. If you don’t abide by this law, you can be cited and even arrested. It depends on how serious the car accident is. However, rather than risk getting into trouble, it’s better to just call 911 at the time of the accident.

By calling the police, you satisfy the requirement of reporting the accident. Technically, you must report a crash in New York in the following situations:

  • there is more than $1,000 in property damage
  • Anybody is injured in the crash
  • Anybody dies in the accident

Obviously, if someone dies in the accident, you will want to call the cops. They would arrange for an ambulance to come to the scene. But there are times when you have no idea how seriously someone has been injured. What appear to be minor injuries at the scene could turn into more serious injuries hours or days later. Plus, your Buffalo car accident lawyer is going to need a copy of the police report to prove your case. That’s why it’s in your best interest to just call the police and handle it properly from the start.

Why Do You Need to Report the Accident?

Some people don’t realize why they need to report a car accident in New York. If you agree to handle the crash with the other driver, why do you need to get the police involved? There are lots of reasons why this isn’t a good idea. You have no idea what the other driver’s intentions really are. For example, they may give you false insurance information. If they do this, you’ll have no way to submit your insurance claim. You could find out that you are injured and you won’t have any way to pursue the other driver’s insurance for your medical bills. Or, they could be driving a stolen car and you have no way of knowing.

By having to report the accident, you’re serving the public interest. The police want to make sure there aren’t dangerous drivers out there on the road. The best way for them to do that is through the DMV. When you report an accident, the police will determine who was at fault. They’ll submit this information to the department of motor vehicles. This way, if people become habitually bad drivers, the DMV will know. 

Your Buffalo Car Accident Lawyer Will Need the Police Report

Even if you weren’t required to report the crash, your Buffalo car accident lawyer will need the police report anyway. A lot of people don’t realize how bad the damage to their car is until after the accident scene is cleared. Or, you find out the day after the accident that you’ve suffered internal injuries and need medical treatment. Without the police report, your attorney will have no proof that the other driver was at fault.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Buffalo, New York

If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident in New York, you should call our office right away. You’re required to report your car crash anyway. And, if you suffer any injuries or property damage in the crash, you may have a legal claim. An experienced Buffalo car accident lawyer can review your case and let you know if you have a claim for damages. They can also answer any questions you might have.

Your attorney will need the police report to evaluate your claim. This is why it’s a good idea to call the police to the scene right away. While you do have ten (10) days to report the crash, you won’t have the benefit of a police report. If you truly think the other driver was at fault, calling the police can only help you – not hurt you.

Call today and schedule your free initial consultation. And remember – you don’t pay anything until you settle your case. 

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