Are Car Accident Reports Public Record In New York City?

In New York, you must report to the DMV all auto accidents involving death, injury, or significant property damage. You must also call the police if anyone, including a pedestrian or cyclist, was injured or killed in an accident.

Duty to Report Traffic Accidents

New York law imposes two reporting responsibilities for traffic accidents.

You are required to self-report your accident to the DMV within ten days if:

  • Death Damage Property damage in excess of $1,000

To report an accident, you must complete a form on the DMV’s website. The form contains:

  • Your knowledge
  • If different, the registered owner’s information
  • The other driver’s details
  • The extent of the damage The location of the incident
  • The names and injuries of all accident participants.
  • Your insurance specifics

The DMV may suspend your driver’s licence if you fail to submit the report within the specified time frame.

After a car accident that results in injuries or death in New York City, you must also contact the NYPD or New York State Police. When the police arrive on the scene of an accident, you must provide your driver’s licence and insurance information.

Officers will secure the accident scene and conduct an investigation. They are required to submit an accident report within five days of the incident.

The police report and your self-report differ in numerous ways. The officers must investigate the accident according to New York law. This indicates that the police report will contain the officers’ factual findings. In addition, it will contain a list of the charges or citations that were issued based on these facts.

Ordering a Copy of the Motorist and Police Reports

On the DMV website, the public can access police and motorist reports. 14 to 30 days after an accident, the police report becomes available. The majority of police departments submit their accident reports to the DMV electronically.

Accident reports are kept by NYPD precincts for 30 days after the incident. Within thirty days of the accident, you can obtain a copy of the report from the precinct. After that date, the DMV website will be mandatory.

Since you must mail your motorist report in paper form, it can take up to 60 days for it to be added to the database.

When you purchase a copy of the police and driver reports, you will receive an electronic copy that can be viewed on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. The DMV provides access to these files for seven days. If you fail to print or download your reports within the allotted time, you will be required to purchase them again.

Information in a Car Accident Report That Becomes Public

After an accident, the information in motorist and police reports can help you file a personal injury claim. The reports detail the accident’s circumstances, who was injured, and whether charges or citations were issued.

However, they also contain your address, driver’s licence number, date of birth, and licence plate number. The public can also learn if you were charged with a crime or issued a citation in relation to the collision. When your accident report is posted to the DMV’s website, this information is made public.

The DMV does not provide a way to keep this information confidential. Some states have laws that restrict who can view accident reports without redactions. In New York, anyone can purchase an accident report and view its entirety.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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