If you have been injured in an automobile accident it is crucial that you have the police report to the scene to take a police accident report.
We have seen situations where the police refuse to take an accident report after the fact at the police precinct. Often, the precinct desk officer will tell the client to file an accident report with the Department of Motor Vehicles in Albany (an MV-104 form). As will be discussed below, this can have dire consequences on a client’s case.
We recommend that in all New York motor vehicle accidents, with the except of the most minor fender-benders, the police be called to the scene so that a report can be made.
Here are the reasons why a police accident report must be taken at the scene:
- The police report proves that an accident happened and that defendant was at the scene. We have had cases where defendant denies being in town at the time of the accident. The police report corroborates that the accident occurred, where it occurred, and that defendant was there. Without such evidence, defendant may prevail.
- The police report is necessary to recover from a “hit and run” accident. In a hit and run accident the vehicle that flees the scene is unidentified. In order for the injured person to recover for his injuries as well as to be able to file for medical benefits (No Fault), there must be a police report within 24 hours. The client’s own MV-104 report to DMV is insufficient.
- The police report is necessary to recover from an unisured vehicle. If the offending vehicle has no insurance, the injured party may have an uninsured motorist claim. This claim may be through own insurance company or Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC). Again, to receive medical benefits and a possible recovery, a police report must have been made within 24 hours.
Here is a case where the client failed to recover due to the lack of a police report:
Barney Hopkins was injured as a pedestrian crossing Delancey Street in Manhattan. The car left the scene, but a witness took down license plate of 295OP. The police are not called
Hopkins makes a claim against the owner of plate 295OP. The owner claims that he was visiting his mother’s grave in Brooklyn at the time of the accident. Hopkins has no proof to show that the vehicle was at Delancey Street. The vehicle owner prevails.
Here is another example:
Sally Jacobs is injured when crossing Queens Boulevard in Queens. The car leaves the scene, and she writes down plate number 295OP. The police are not called.
A plate search is performed, and there is no plate number 295OP in the DMV computer.
Ms. Jacobs cannot recover from either her own auto insurer or MVAIC.
Therefore, we strongly urge that in the event of an automobile accident you call the police to the scene.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please feel free to call me at 800-581-1434 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark E. Seitelman, 3/24/10, www.seitelman.com.