Do You Need to Call the Police for a Fender Bender in NYC?

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    Car accidents happen every day, but most of them do not result in extremely serious injuries that require hospitalization or serious damage to vehicles. Most car accidents have one car impact another, and then both drivers are able to exit their vehicles and go from there. While most drivers will exchange insurance details and other important information, not all drivers will want to report a crash to the police, especially if it is perceived as a “minor” fender bender.

    In New York, you are required to report most accidents to the cops. The criteria for reporting are broad. You must report any accident that results in damage in excess of $1,000 or causes someone to be injured or killed. This will encompass most motor vehicle accidents, so it is always a good idea to err on the side of caution and report your crash. Moreover, reporting a crash can help improve any claim you may file in court in the future.

    If you need assistance, call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a totally free case analysis.

    Do I Have to Inform Law Enforcement after a Car Accident in NY?

    Pursuant to V.A.T. Law § 605, you have to report motor vehicle accidents under certain circumstances. While the statute may at first seem to say something to the effect of “you don’t need to report unless these criteria are met,” the opposite is true. The circumstances under which you must report a car crash cover most car accidents that will happen, so it is good practice to always file a report after you are involved in a collision.

    Someone is Killed or Injured

    You must report an accident to the police if someone is either killed or injured. New York law is silent as to how serious an injury must be in order to require a report. So, if you or someone else involved in a crash has a fracture, cut, scrape, or even just a bruise or is “shaken up,” you should probably report that accident.

    One important reason to report any accident where you get hurt is that a lot of damages are barred by something called the “serious injury threshold.” Under I.S.C. Law § 5102(d), a “serious injury” is anything resulting in death, dismemberment, partial or temporary loss of bodily function, or injuries that incapacitate the victim for certain periods of time. If you cannot prove that you are seriously injured, our Bronx car accident lawyers cannot ask for things like non-economic damages in your lawsuit as detailed in I.S.C. Law § 5104. Filing a report helps to ensure that your injuries are documented and that claims for damages in your lawsuit are supported by evidence.

    Property Damage Over $1,000

    Additionally, you have to report car crashes that create damage in excess of $1,000. This may seem like a lot of money, but the reality is that most accidents will end up causing damage valued higher than $1,000. New York law does not specify what thing that damage has to be caused. The only qualifier is that the damage is caused to the property of “any one person.” This includes more than just your car. It also includes other people’s vehicles, bikes, business fronts, and more. So, for example, if you get in a fender bender and your car needs repairs costing $600, but the other driver will need to pay $1,100 to get their vehicle fixed, you will still need to report the accident because the damage to them is over $1,000.

    How Long Do I Have to Report a Fender Bender in NY?

    In New York, you have ten days to report a crash to the police. However, this time can be stretched if you are incapacitated because of the accident and cannot physically file a report. In those cases, someone else involved in the crash needs to file the report in their stead.

    What Happens if I Do Not Report an Accident in NY?

    New York has laws that penalize failures to report car crashes to appropriate authorities. Under V.A.T. Law § 600, leaving the scene of an accident that needs to be reported without doing so is against the law and can incur penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and up to 15 days in prison. Reporting entails presenting your name, license plate number, and insurance information to law enforcement. The other driver is required to do this as well.

    What if the Other Driver Does Not Want to File a Report After an Accident in NY?

    Sometimes, the other motorist involved in your crash will not want to report the incident and try to convince you to do the same. There are many reasons that this could be the case. They may feel that the accident is not major or worth the headache. They may think that the accident is their fault and attempt to avoid assisting their opponent in a potential lawsuit against them, or they simply may not be aware that they have a legal obligation to report the crash. Whatever the case may be, you should report any accident you are involved in to the police not only because the law requires it but because doing so helps make any legal action you want to take in the future stronger. If you do report a crash, you can use the police report and other information to help improve your case, whereas if you don’t, you will not have that evidentiary support, and the fact that you did not report can be used against you by opposing counsel.

    Go Over Your Claim with Our NY Car Accident Lawyers

    The Carrion Law Firm’s New York car accident lawyers can go over your claim for free when you call us at (718) 841-0083.