What Is the Process for Obtaining a Copy of the Accident Report?

law enforcement agencies create accident reports at the scene

Experiencing a car accident can be highly distressing. Besides coping with the shock and starting your recovery, you also need to interact with the insurance company. One of the initial requests from the adjuster will likely be for a police report.

To obtain a copy of the accident report in New York, you need to request it from the police department that responded to the accident. You can get a copy in person, request it online, or by mail. 

Moreover, it’s crucial to provide specific information about the accident, such as the date, location, and the names of the parties involved. You need to pay a fee for the report, and it may take up to seven to ten days to process your request. 

How to Get a Copy of the Car Accident Police Report?

Depending on how you prefer to get your car accident report, you have the following options to consider:

Getting a Police Report via Online

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) guides that you can access your car accident report through the Collision Report Retrieval Portal. To do this, you’ll need to provide specific information about your accident, such as:

  • Date of the accident
  • Location of the car crash
  • Your personal details: driver’s license number and plate number

Remember that your report may not be immediately accessible through this online portal. The NYPD advises that it might take up to seven days for your report to become available.

Seeking the Report In-Person or by Mail

If you prefer a physical copy of the report and want to visit your local law enforcement office, the NYPD recommends completing two copies of a Request for Copy of Collision Record form. You can locate the police station where the accident occurred using the NYPD’s online precinct map.

The information you’ll need to provide on this form is similar to what’s required in the online retrieval portal, including details about the date and location of the crash and driver information. Moreover, if you’d like to receive your car accident police report by mail, you can send two copies of this form to the precinct where the accident occurred.

Can You Access Your Crash Report After 30 Days in New York City?

Your crash report will be available at the local precinct in New York City for 30 days. After this period, you’ll need to go through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles to access the report, which involves different procedures.

What is a Police Accident Report?

A police report is a written record created by a law enforcement officer who arrives at the car accident location. This report, created at the scene, contains all the information about the accident, statements from drivers, witnesses, and those involved, and other important details observed by the officer. Police reports play a significant role in determining the extent of accident-related losses and fault determination.

What Information Does a Car Accident Police Report Contain?

vehicles involved in a car accident

A car accident police report usually contains the following information:

  • Facts about the car accident, including the people, property, and vehicles involved.
  • Identifying information about the parties involved, such as addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
  • Identifying information for any witnesses present.
  • The time, date, and location of the accident.
  • Details about the weather, road conditions, and visibility conditions at the scene.
  • Statements from drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
  • A diagram or drawing describing the car accident, including the location, path of the vehicles, and point of collision.
  • Descriptions of damage to the vehicles or people involved.
  • Any violations of the law or citations issued, if applicable.

In addition, this report may also include other findings or conclusions about how and why the accident occurred, including the officer’s opinions regarding the cause of the collision and determination of fault.

How Can Car Accident Police Report Help You?

Your insurance company uses this report to understand what happened and assess the damage to your vehicle. Based on this information, the insurance adjuster determines who is responsible for the accident and estimates the value of your car accident settlement claim. 

However, remember that regardless of what the police officer may write in the police report, an insurance company forms its own conclusions about the auto accident.

Be sure to thoroughly review the document to confirm the accuracy of statements and facts. If you come across any inaccuracies, feel free to get in touch with the investigating officer to request corrections.

Can Police Reports Be Used as Evidence in Court?

Police reports may serve as evidence in a car accident lawsuit, but the admissibility depends on various factors, including your jurisdiction and the court level. In small claims courts, police reports are generally accepted as evidence. However, if your case reaches a higher court level, the rules of evidence apply, and some “hearsay” evidence, collected as statements made outside of court, may be excluded.

Certain jurisdictions have exceptions to the hearsay rule, allowing you to use some or all of the police report as evidence. In other cases, police reports may be considered “public records” or “business records” and be fully admissible.

To understand whether a car accident police report can be used as evidence in your case, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer in your area who can provide legal guidance.

Get Your Car Accident Claim On Track with Uptown Injury

When the unexpected happens on the road, Uptown Injury is here to ensure your car accident claim is on the fast track to success. Our dedicated team of car accident lawyers is committed to helping you expedite your claim process while maximizing your compensation.

we understand that navigating the complexities of car accident claims can be overwhelming. That’s why our experienced attorneys will handle all the paperwork, investigations, and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf, so you can focus on your recovery.

What’s more, our client-focused approach means you don’t have to worry about upfront costs. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay when we win your case.

Contact us at 917-540-8728, schedule a consultation with our lawyer, and get a free case review from our attorneys. 


When Should I Request the Accident Report?

It’s best to request the report as soon as possible after the accident. However, you can typically access it within 30 days at your local precinct. After 30 days, you may need to request the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

What Information Does the Accident Report Include?

The report includes details about the accident, parties involved, witnesses, date, time, location, road conditions, statements, diagrams, damage descriptions, violations, etc.

Is There a Fee for Obtaining the Accident Report Copy?

Yes, there is usually a fee to obtain the accident report. You may be charged either $22 – $25 when you request it online. This fee comprises two parts: a search fee and a report fee.

Can I Obtain the Report if I’m Not at Fault for the Accident?

Yes, you can still obtain the report even if you’re not at fault. It’s a valuable document for all parties involved in the accident.

How Long Does It Take To Receive the Accident Report?

The time it takes to receive your accident report can vary depending on how you request it. If you opt for an online request, the report might take up to seven days to become accessible. On the other hand, if you go to the police precinct in person, you can typically get it right away. However, if you choose to request the report by mail, it may take longer to arrive,


Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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