If you have been in a car accident in New York City, there are several ways you can easily get a copy of the police accident report that was made. 

Accident reports are valuable documents as they preserve valuable information and details related to your car accident, which can be helpful if you decide to file a claim and seek damages. If it appears your case is headed for a settlement, an accident report that shows the other party was at fault could help convince the insurance company to meet your demands.

Even if your case is headed for a trial, New York law might allow the accident report to be admitted as evidence under some circumstances. 

What makes an accident report so valuable to your case is the information it contains, such as:

  • Conditions at the scene of the accident at the time it occurred
  • Statements from witnesses and others who were not involved
  • Whether or not any laws were violated and by whom
  • Explanation of who the officer determined to be responsible for the accident

Having a document that so clearly lays out what happened in your accident and contains the opinion of an unbiased authoritative voice is crucial to your case.

How to Get a Copy of the Accident Report 

The process of obtaining an accident report is relatively simple. Within the first thirty days after the report was filed, you have two options. First, you can request the report from the precinct where the report was filed.

To do this you will need to submit the request for copy of collision record either by mail or in person at the precinct. The form needs to be filled out as accurately as possible and asks for information including:

  • Name of the driver of the vehicle
  • Name of the owner of the vehicle
  • License plate number
  • Where the accident occurred

The second way you can request the accident report within the first 30 days after it was filed is online at collisionreport.nypdonline.org

Simply follow the prompts and complete the form with the information requested. Things like license plate number, date of the accident, and name of the driver are also required when requesting an accident report online. Once completed, you should be able to print a copy of the report for your own use.

You should, however, keep in mind that it could take up to seven days for your report to show up in the system. If you can’t find it online, wait a few days and then try again.

Requesting a Report After 30 Days

After 30 days, accident reports are moved from the precinct to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. You will no longer be able to request your accident report by mail or in person from the precinct where the report was filed.

However, you can still access your report at collisionreport.nypdonline.org as the collision report portal maintains records dating back to 2016.

After 30 days, if you want to obtain an accident report via mail, you need to fill out form MV-198C and mail it to 6 Empire State Plaza, Albany NY 12228. 

Additionally, there is an online option. You can get a PDF of your accident report by submitting the necessary information at the New York State’s Motor Vehicle Accident Report page. It should be noted that while requesting an accident report from the precinct, either in person or online, is free of charge, requesting one from the state of New York does come with a small administrative fee.

What to Do If You Have Been In An Accident 

If you have been in a car accident in New York City, it might also be a good idea to contact a qualified personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accident cases. Not only will a personal injury lawyer be able to assist you in obtaining an accident report, but they will also help you develop your case and maximize the amount of money you could receive to help cover costs related to injuries and damage to your vehicle.