A car accident in Buffalo, New York can lead to property damage, injuries ranging from mild to serious, and death. Typically, you are required by law to report a car accident. This helps law enforcement agencies record the accident and the related details. However, not all accidents need to be reported as per New York laws. You also need to know the right procedure to file a report in case you are involved in an accident. Here is a look at various aspects of reporting a car accident.
When to Report a Car Accident in Buffalo, New York
If you have been involved in a car crash, you should wait for the police officer to arrive and take stock of the situation. The officer who arrives at the scene will talk to you and the other drivers involved as well as any witnesses. He will then draw up a report in which statements of the involved parties are recorded and a general conclusion is drawn as to what happened.
You are legally required to report any accident that involves property damage worth more than $1,000 or an injury or death. If there is property damage above $1,000 and you escape the scene of accident, this will be regarded as a misdemeanor.
If an accident involves a minor injury, you are all the more obliged to report it and wait for the police to arrive at the scene. If you flee the accident site in this case, this will count as a hit-and-run violation.
Similarly, in an accident that involves a more serious injury or death, fleeing the site of accident is regarded as a grave crime. In this case, the driver may be charged with Class E or Class D felony which carries serious penalties.
The police report is also important to your car wreck attorney, as it helps prove your case.
When Not to Report an Accident
Notifying the police about a car accident is not always a legal requirement. If an accident only involves minor damage that is less than $1,000, for instance, you don’t have to report the accident. If you were hit by another vehicle, you simply need to exchange contact information. This is so that you can later file a claim for the damage.
If you hit a parked car or a piece of stationary property, you are responsible for locating the owner and notifying him or her about it. If you are unable to do so, you will need to report the collision to the police. When you are not sure whether or not to report an accident, you may seek the advice of a good car wreck attorney in Buffalo, New York.
Filing a Report With the Police
You must report the accident to the local police department within 10 days of the crash. Typically, the police will arrive at the scene of the crash and complete a Police Accident Report. Sometimes, an officer may choose not to file the report if there are no obvious injuries. In such a case, you should insist that the report be filed.
This is important because many injuries become obvious later. You may feel pain or other symptoms a few hours or even a few days later. A police report becomes an important piece of supporting evidence when you have to seek compensation for the injuries and other losses.
If for some reason, the police didn’t arrive at the scene or you couldn’t give a statement, you must file a report at the police station later. This must be done within 10 days. If you are incapacitated and injured, another person is required to file the report on your behalf.
Reporting the Accident to the DMV
In the wake of a car accident, you are also required to notify the New York State DMV about it. Again, this is a requirement only if property damage is above $1,000 or the accident involves an injury or fatality. You have 10 days to file the DMV report which must be filed on a MV-104 form. Alternatively, you can get a copy of the police accident report from the police station and forward it to the DMV. Failure to do so within the designated timeline may result in license suspension.
Reporting the Accident to the Insurer
If you have sustained property damage or injury in a car crash, you should also report the accident to the insurer. If you have no-fault motor insurance, your own insurer may be able to cover the damages to a certain limit. You have 30 days to report the accident if you want coverage for accident-related losses. If you make any delays in this, the insurer may use it as an excuse to refuse your claim.
Hiring a Reliable Car Accident Lawyer in Buffalo, New York
If you have been involved in a car accident in Buffalo, New York, you must report it to the police, DMV and the relevant insurance company as soon as possible. This is particularly important if you wish to seek compensatory damages for your losses. Our Buffalo car accident lawyers specialize in helping you recover these damages in the wake of a car crash. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation with our attorneys.