Car accidents can be scary and stressful events, especially if you’re involved in a crash that wasn’t your fault. You may still be in shock or recovering from your injuries and not know what to do next. Every state has different laws about the driver’s legal duties after an accident. It can be confusing to know if you have to report your accident or where to file your claim.
Consider hiring an attorney to help you after your accident. Catalano Law helps residents in New York file reports and claims after their car crash to ensure their best chances of getting the full compensation they need. Our experienced Syracuse car accident lawyers understand New York’s laws for reporting accidents and deadlines for filing personal injury claims, so you don’t lose out on your right to compensation.
Insurance Companies Require Reporting
You may think a minor fender-bender doesn’t need to be reported to your insurance company. Misjudging distance and bumping another car at a stop sign or in a parking lot may not result in injuries, but it can still cause damage to the vehicles.
Most people think reporting an accident is the same as filing a claim, and worry their insurance rates will increase. They think they can resolve the issue with the other driver without involving the insurance companies.
However, filing a report is not the same as filing a claim with your insurance. An accident report is a formal record that the accident took place. Reporting your accident to your insurance company ensures your right to file a claim later down the line is protected. Failing to report could mean that your insurance company may have the right to deny your claim if you decide to file later.
All car insurance companies require policyholders to report all car crashes immediately, even in minor accidents, and even if you didn’t cause the crash.
New York’s No-Fault Laws
New York is a no-fault state for car insurance. Each driver files claims with their own insurance for any resulting injuries they receive in a crash, regardless of who was at fault for the crash. After an accident, you’ll make a claim under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay coverage through your car insurance. This makes it even more vital to inform your insurance of an accident, even when you are not at fault.
How to File an Accident Report
Many car insurance companies let you file reports through online forms on their website. You’ll need basic information about the car accident, which can be found in the police report of your accident, including:
- The names of all drivers involved in the accident
- Insurance policy numbers
- License numbers of all drivers involved
- The time, date, and location of the accident
- A summary of your accident, including information about right of way and intersections
Deadline to File a Report
States have different deadlines to file reports. In New York, you are required to file a report with the DMV within 10 days of your accident.
In accordance with New York’s no-fault accident laws, you have 30 days to file with your insurance company. If you’re unsure about the filing deadline, check your insurance policy language to see how long you have to report the crash.
What Happens if You Don’t Report the Crash?
Car accidents in New York that result in $1,000 in property damage or more must be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the incident. If you are unsure how much damage your crash caused, it’s better to err on the side of caution and report the accident anyway. If you fail to file this report, your driver’s license could be suspended. Accidents with injuries must also be reported to the police.
And if you fail to file an accident report with your insurance company when the crash initially happened, you may face penalties and complications later on. Any later claim you file could be denied.
It’s best to report all accidents to all necessary parties right away. Some vehicle accident injuries like whiplash and concussions don’t appear immediately after a crash. Filing a report with your insurance company protects your rights if an injury only develops later and you need to file a medical claim when you initially thought you wouldn’t need to.
Protect Your Rights After an Accident
Getting into a car accident is unsettling. You may think that if your vehicle only received minor scratches and no injuries occurred that you don’t have to report the accident to your insurance company. But not reporting an accident, even if you didn’t cause it, can lead to problems down the road.
Make sure you’re filing the correct reports in time with the help of a car accident lawyer at our personal injury law firm. The legal team at Catalano Law will make sure you have the right information to report to your insurance company. We’ll help you file claims and make sure you’re properly compensated for your car accident. Contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation.