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  • Writer's pictureJordan Stern

Why Is It So Important to Obtain a Police Report at the Scene of the Accident

car accident

It is just a piece of paper, but a police report from the scene of an accident contains so much critical information. Many drivers, especially in a minor accident, may not want to call the police and instead just exchange information with the other driver - but there are many reasons why that is not the best course of action.

Under New York State law, you must call the police to the scene of a motor vehicle accident when a person or domestic animal is injured or killed, or a parked vehicle or any other property is damaged. However, even if one of these scenarios does not apply, you should still get a police report.

A police report will document the details of the accident, such as the driver of the other vehicle, witnesses, the location and details of the accident site and insurance information.

Calling the police to the scene of an accident diminishes the ability of the other driver to change their story. If the police ask the other driver or their occupants if they are injured and they say no, or if they decline medical attention – that is all now documented for the insurance companies should they try and later claim they sustained an injury. The police report will also provide exact locations of the accident, placement of the vehicles, whether there were traffic signs and lights and whether they were operational. Police reports also identify witnesses and collect all their information.  Getting witnesses to stay at the scene of an accident with police on site is easier than if you attempt to keep them on your own. The police will also ask them for their personal information and identification which they may not willingly give without a police presence.

In New York City, police are now not required to come to the scene of an accident unless there are injuries or someone needs medical attention, which does not mean you still should not go and file a police report if you have been involved in even a minor accident.

Police reports are extremely important for accurate information to provide to your insurance companies, both auto and medical, and to your attorney.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call us immediately. We will help you navigate the process and the red tape.

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