Although a minor fender bender may not seem like a big deal to many drivers, it is possible that underlying issues may result from it. Days or even months after a minor car accident, people may begin to experience pain related to the injuries they sustained from the car accident. 

Muscle strains, like whiplash or other injuries, may not show up for a long period of time in some people. Additionally, damage to cars can be undetected for days after even a minor car accident. 

For these reasons, you should call the cops after any car accident, even a fender bender.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

Under New York law, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim if the accident resulted in personal injury that necessitated medical assistance. If the accident at issue only involved damage to property, you have three years to file a claim 

There are additional filings you will need to make, if applicable, within the two- or three-year timeframe for filing:

  • You have 30 days to file with your insurance under New York’s no-fault law (see section below).
  • You have 90 days to file with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC), which handles claims where the driver at fault does not have insurance.
  • You will need to report the car accident to the DMV within 10 days of the collision if it resulted in damage and/or injury which exceeded a worth of $2,000. 

Contact a personal injury lawyer for help filing a claim and understanding the deadline of your case.

What is New York’s No-Fault Law?

New York follows the no-fault rule for car accidents. This means that any injury claims must first be handled through your insurance provider — regardless of who caused the accident. Your insurance provider is the entity that covers medical bills, property damage, and other expenses. Under this rule, you cannot receive compensation for non-monetary damages, such as emotional pain and suffering. 

What are the Benefits of Filing a Police Report for a Minor Car Accident?

When you call the police after being involved in a fender bender, they will file an official police report detailing the circumstances of the accident, including the parties, their insurance information, and other details which you may need official record of when you file a claim with your insurance. 

Insurance companies heavily utilize police reports when evaluating claims because they serve to eliminate the risk of hearsay in the investigative process. Police reports of car accidents can also be used if you wish to pursue a settlement against the other driver in a lawsuit. It is beneficial to all involved parties to have an official record of what happened, whether they are the party at fault or they are not. 

Understanding the Laws About Filing Police Reports

It is always in your best interest to file a police report following a fender bender, even if you are at fault.

You are required by law to call the police if one of the following circumstances occurs: 

  • Someone was injured or killed in the accident. You are also required to notify police if a domestic animal or pet was wounded or killed in a car accident.
  • A parked car is damaged and the owner cannot be located.
  • Other property is damaged, like a railing. 

You may suffer penalties if you are required to report an accident and don’t. The penalty for failing to report an accident is typically a fine but could result in jail time if someone was injured. It is always recommended to report an accident even if there is no apparent property damage and no one is visibly injured as a result of it occurring.

Contact Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been involved in a fender bender and require a legal representative, call our experienced car accident attorneys at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. today. We can help you explain your rights and options after an accident.

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Manhattan, NY, and need legal help, contact our New York City car accident lawyers at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. to schedule a free consultation.

Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C.
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007