How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in New York State?
Last Updated on July 22, 2020
After you get into a car accident, you might be stuck wondering what you should do next. There’s often confusion surrounding whether or not you should report the accident, and how long you have to do so. In many cases, you will need to report the accident, and there are actually many benefits to doing so. Here’s everything you need to know about reporting car accidents in New York State.
When Do I Need to Report the Accident in New York?
In New York State, you have 10 days after the accident to report it. You are legally required to file a report if someone was injured or killed in the crash, or if it caused property damage amounting to more than $1,000. All involved drivers are required to file an accident report with the DMV (NYS DMV Accident Report), so even if the other party has already filed a report, you are required to file one as well. If the property damage amounted to less than $1,000 and no one was injured, you will just need to exchange driver’s license and insurance information with the other party in case you need to file a claim. If you cause damage to a parked vehicle, you will need to locate the owner, and if the owner can’t be located, you will need to contact the police. It can be difficult to determine the financial amount of property damage in an accident, so if there is any confusion, it’s always best to file a report, just to be safe.
Who Do I Report the Accident to in NY?
As soon as you can after the accident, you will need to report it to the local police. The police will then file an accident report, which you will need to obtain copies of and file with your local DMV within 10 days. To get a copy of the NYS DMV accident report, you will need to contact the police station where it was filed, who can provide you with a copy to give to the DMV. If you are incapacitated and not able to file the report, but there was a passenger in the car who is, then they are legally responsible for doing so. If you were not the owner of the car and you are incapacitated, then the legal owner is responsible for filing the report. If neither of these things is true, then someone else will need to file the report on your behalf as soon as possible.
You are not legally required to report any accidents to your car insurance company. However, if you want coverage for the accident, you will need to report it as soon as possible. Each car insurance contract is different, but most companies will require you to make the report within a few days. If there is even a small chance that you will want financial coverage for the accident, you should report it to your insurance company right away. Many insurance companies include reporting requirements as part of your contract, so they could deny you the coverage you need if you fail to report an accident. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the details of your insurance contract when you sign up, so you know what to do in case something happens.
What Happens If I Don’t Report an Accident?
With all of the stress and trauma involved in a car accident, it can be tempting to skip the report. However, there are legal consequences if you fail to make a report and are caught, so you should always do so as soon as you can, even if it’s inconvenient. The legal consequences depend on the type of accident. Failure to file any written report with the NYS DMV is a misdemeanor and could result in suspension or loss of your vehicle registration and/or driver’s license. If you fail to orally report to the police an accident with property damage over $1,000, but no injuries, you could be subject to a fine of $250 or 15 days in jail. Failure to orally report any car accident that results in an injury could result in a fine between $500 and $1,000 and up to a year in jail and is considered a class A misdemeanor. If the accident resulted in a ‘serious injury’, then you could be subject to even more penalties, as this is considered a class E felony. Legally, serious injuries are defined as bone fractures, significant disfigurement, loss of function in a body part or system, or anything that causes disability for 90 days. Failing to report an accident with these injuries could result in a fine between $1,000 and $2,500 and as long as four years in jail.
Final Word on When You Need to Report Accidents in New York State
Car accidents are serious business, so it’s important that you report them as soon as possible. In other states, the rules might be different, but in New York State, you are required to report the accident to the NYS DMV within 10 days. Your auto insurance company most likely also requires all policyholders to report accidents to them in a similar timeframe. Although the process can be stressful, reporting the accident to proper authorities will prevent serious consequences and can also help you get the insurance coverage you need in this situation.