NYPD Officers No Longer Required to Respond to Collisions

An initiative that began on Staten Island last year is now a policy in New York City. As of April 6, 2020, motor vehicle accidents that only result in property damage do not need to be reported to the police department. Officials hope the timing of the policy expansion limits contact during the pandemic to help keep people safe.

Process for Reporting Non-Injury Vehicle Collisions in New York City

According to the NYPD, drivers no longer need to call 911 to report car accidents that result in property damage only. However, individuals who feel threatened or cannot move their vehicle may still call 911 for assistance.

If any of the following situations apply, the drivers must remain at the accident scene and report the crash to the police immediately:

  • A person is killed or injured;
  • A domestic animal is killed or injured; or,
  • A parked car or other property is damaged and the party cannot locate the owner.

Otherwise, drivers are required to exchange information with the other driver before leaving the accident scene. Drivers should exchange driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information.

A Report of Motor Vehicle Accident can be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles for insurance purposes. If the amount of property damage caused by the car accident exceeds $1,000, the Report of Motor Vehicle Accident must be filed within 10 days from the date of the motor vehicle accident.

How Does This New Policy Impact Car Accident Claims in New York City?

One of the first steps most attorneys recommend drivers take after a car accident is to call 911 to report the crash. Police officers respond to the accident, investigate the crash, and complete a police report. A police report can be very useful when filing a car accident claim.

Police reports will not be available now for accidents involving only property damage. Each driver files a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles, but those reports can be biased. Most drivers are not going to claim fault for a car crash.

Unfortunately, some accident injuries are not immediately known after a traffic accident. A driver or passenger could begin experiencing symptoms of injuries like whiplash until hours or days after the crash. Only then does the person realize that he or she sustained an injury in the accident.

Without an official police report, recovering compensation for accident injuries may be more challenging in some cases. Insurance companies may point to the fact that an accident victim acknowledged that he or she was not injured in the accident by not reporting the accident immediately to the police.

Therefore, it is important to try to document the accident scene as much as possible after a crash.

Documenting a Car Accident Scene

If you can do so safely, take pictures of the position of the vehicles before they are moved out of the road. If not, take pictures of the damage to each vehicle. Try to make a video of the accident scene to catch any evidence that can help prove fault.

Ask witnesses for their names and contact information. Agree to exchange information without admitting fault or confirming you are not injured. Note the location of any traffic cameras or other cameras that might have recorded the collision.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately Upon Onset of Injury Symptoms

Consider seeing your doctor for an examination. It cannot hurt to be checked by a medical professional after a crash. If you begin experiencing injury symptoms, seek immediate medical attention and inform the doctor that you were in a car accident.

Keep copies of all information you receive from your doctor. You may also want to keep detailed notes regarding the onset of your symptoms. Taking pictures of bruises as they appear can also be very helpful in proving the car accident caused your injuries.

Ask a Car Accident Lawyer for Help

Car accident claims can be complicated. Insurance companies are not interested in paying claims. They prefer to save money by avoiding liability.

Insurance companies often use delays in medical care to dispute injury claims. With the new policy regarding non-injury vehicle collisions in New York City, insurance companies may fight car accident claims more aggressively when there is no police report, and the injury symptoms were delayed.

If an insurance adjuster is denying your claim or accusing you of causing the car crash, you may want to consult with a New York City car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you investigate the crash and gather evidence necessary to prove fault and liability.