How To Read Your New York Accident Report
Your report made simple - Bronx car accident attorney explains
If you have been involved in a car accident in New York, the investigating police officer will fill out an accident form officially named, “New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Report of Motor Vehicle Accident.” Your car accident report can serve as a critical piece of evidence when building a case against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The details found on your report can give your attorney the tools to conduct a much broader investigation.
You can get a certified copy of your car accident report from The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles online or by mail for a fee of $15. That’s in addition to a search fee of $7 for an online report and $10 for a mailed report. A car accident lawyer at Giampa Law can also get a copy for you.
It’s important that you review your official car accident report and ensure that all information is accurate. If any information on your report is incorrect, our legal team can fight to get it fixed. This 2-page-long form with 5 pages of notes explaining the various codes can be extremely confusing.
That’s why we created this page – to help you better understand your accident report. Our Bronx car accident lawyers have years of experience handling serious car accidents throughout New York. That’s why we’re so familiar with this form and what everything on it means.
Allow us to personally review your accident form with you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with Giampa Law. We’re located in the Bronx and proudly serve accident victims throughout New York City.
Page 1 (items 1-4)
Nearly everything you need to know about your car accident can be found on this page. That's why it's critical that every single detail accurately reflects exactly what happened in your accident. This is especially true with the numbered boxes on the left and right-hand margins of this page. Each one of those boxes (which the form calls "columns") refers to specific circumstances and has specific codes which the investigating officer writes in each box. You can find more information about these codes below - or by simply contacting our law firm. If you have a question, we can find the answer.
If the investigating police officer determined that one of the drivers violated the law during the accident, the officer will include that information here. Such information could have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your car insurance claim. If the other driver broke the law and caused your accident, your claim could potentially be worth more.
The five boxes listed here refer to where the point of impact occurred in your car accident. If you were driving vehicle one and the other driver hit the right-front corner of your car, Box 1 will likely contain a "3." These numbers are very important since they indicate where the cars were when the accident occurred. If the other driver crossed the center line and caused a head-on collision, these numbers should reflect that information. Otherwise, insurance companies might use this data to reduce or deny your claim.
Every single word in this section matters. The words the investigating officer uses to describe your accident will be carefully analyzed by insurance companies. If they think there's anything here that makes your accident seem like it was your fault, they will likely focus on those words and use them as justification for paying you less than you rightfully deserve. We can help you review this section and make sure you agree with every single word. If not, we can advocate to have the accident report amended or take other actions on your behalf.
Page 2 (items 5-7)
The codes for Columns 19 through 24 on Page 1 can be found here. These codes refer to the "apparent contributing factors" which resulted in your collision. Codes can include "alcohol involvement" (2), "driver inattention/distraction" (4), "fell asleep" (8), "unsafe speed" (19), "aggressive driving/road rage" (28) and "texting" (31). If the investigating police officer believed the other driver contributed to your accident, that information will likely be found here. Insurance companies carefully review this section when determining who caused your crash. You should as well - and we can help.
The codes for Columns 4, 5, 6 and 7 on Page 1 refer to the conditions at the time of the accident. This includes the light conditions, condition of the road and weather conditions. Often, drivers who cause collisions later try to claim the road was dark or wet and they simply couldn't stop in time - even though the road was dry and you could see just fine. Small inconsistencies like these can sometimes have a big impact on the outcome of your case.
If you were injured in your car accident, the codes for Columns 14, 15 and 16 on Page 1 should reflect that information. The same is true if the other driver was injured - or not injured - in the accident. Insurance companies will review the numbers listed in these boxes and often use this data when determining whether or how much to compensate injury victims. Make sure this information is accurate. Otherwise, you might have a hard time getting the money you rightfully deserve for your crash.
Page 3 (item 8)
This page goes into more detail about Columns 14, 15, and 16 - the boxes reserved for the type of injuries sustained by drivers and passengers in your motor vehicle accident. We cannot stress to you enough just how important it is that you carefully review the numbers listed in this section. If you disagree with any of the codes written in these boxes, contact our law firm. We can help you make sure your accident report accurately reflects the injuries you sustained in your accident. That way, you can get the money you need after your accident.
Pages 4 & 5 (items 9-10)
Every hospital in New York State has a 4-digit code investigating police officers use when describing which hospital injury victims were taken to after a car accident. This 4-digit code will then be entered in Column 18 on Page 1. Here again, make sure the correct code was entered in Column 18. If you were taken to Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, Column 18 should have 7003 written in that column.
Page 6 (item 11)
If your motor vehicle accident involved a truck or bus, the codes for what type of truck caused your accident will be found here and entered in box marked "Vehicle Type" on Page 1. Here again, make sure this information is accurate. Otherwise, insurance companies could use any mistake made here as justification for reducing or denying your claim. We can review this section with you - or any other section on your accident form - and make sure all the facts accurately reflect exactly what happened in your accident.
Click here to download a printable version.