6 May 2021

By Boris Tadchiev

In Car Accident

If you are in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident in Queens that causes injury or $1,000 or more in damages and the police response to it, they will file a report with basic information about what happened. If the police do not respond to a car accident of that severity, the drivers involved must file a report with the N.Y. Division of Motor Vehicles.

The report, officially known as the Report of Motor Vehicle Accident (MV-104), is typically the basis of a car, truck, or motorcycle accident claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance or a personal injury lawsuit. The MV-140 form can be found online at dmv.ny.gov/forms/mv104.pdf

If you own a motor vehicle or drive one in Queens, you should know how to obtain a car accident report. There are more than 440,000 car accidents a year in New York state, more than 1,200 a day. Don’t think it can’t happen to you.

What Is a Car Accident Report?

The State of New York’s MV-104 car accident report form collects information about accidents and those involved, including:

  • Contact information for all parties involved in the accident (drivers and witnesses)
  • Date, time, and location of the accident
  • Driver license information
  • Vehicle registration information
  • Diagrams to illustrate the accident
  • Amount and severity of vehicle damage
  • Description of injuries
  • Weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
  • Citations issued by police
  • Police comments and observations
  • Insurance information.

The MV-104 must be filed within 10 days of the date of the accident. It can be completed online. In the best circumstances, the police will file the report for you. However, the police don’t respond to every car accident in the New York City metropolitan area.

Once the report is filed, the accident goes on the records of all drivers involved in the crash. This doesn’t mean you were at fault. The DMV doesn’t determine fault.

Requesting Your Accident Report from the NYPD

If you are involved in a car accident in Queens that police responded to, you can obtain a copy of the report from the precinct where the collision occurred within 30 days of the accident.

There are three ways to obtain the report:

Collision Reports are held at the precinct for 30 days before being forwarded to the New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. After 30 days from the date of the accident, you’ll have to contact the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to get a copy of the report.

Requesting Your Accident Report from the N.Y. Department of Motor Vehicles

Local police reports filed after car accidents causing a personal injury or $1,000 in damages go to N.Y. DMV about a month after the accident.

The DMV says to expect a report to enter their system at least 14 days after the accident if it happened in Queens. Paper police reports take at least 30 days to appear in the system. Meanwhile, a report filed by a motorist from anywhere in New York State takes at least 60 days after the accident to enter the system (assuming it is filed within the required 10 days).

In most cases, the DMV keeps accident reports filed by police or motorists for four years from the date of the accident.

You can obtain an accident report from the DMV by mail or online.

By mail, you must download and complete the Request for Copy of Accident Report (MV-198C) and provide the:

  • date of the accident
  •  county where the accident occurred

and at least one of the following:

  • the license plate number of a vehicle involved in the accident
  • the driver license number of a person who was involved in the accident
  • name and date of birth of a person who was involved in the accident.

There is a cost payable by check of:

  • $10 search fee, and
  • $15 report fee for each report you order.

Mail the completed form and a check to:

MV-198C Processing
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228

Online, you can search for, buy and immediately download certified accident reports. This requires a $7 search fee and $15 for each report, but first, you can search for free to determine whether the report is available.

Here is the online Get Motor Vehicle Accident Reports portal.

Conduct a free search by clicking on “List Reports on File by Date” to see a list of accidents on file by the county and date you enter. The list will include license plate numbers of vehicles involved in the accidents on file.

If your report is available, you must then conduct a paid search by clicking on “Search by Plate Number, License Number, or DMV Accident Case Number.” You will be charged the $7 fee regardless of the outcome of the search, including problems caused by entering incorrect information or if the report is not actually available.

Order the report you need by providing one of the following:

  • the plate number of a vehicle involved in the accident
  • the driver license number of a person who was involved in the accident
  • the 8-digit DMV case number (starts with the number 3).

After you pay the $15 fee (per report), you will be able to download your reports in PDF format.

You will have seven calendar days to access the report you purchased. After seven days, you will need to pay again.

Why You Might Need a Car Accident Report

A car accident report provides the basic information about a collision: who, what, where, when, how it happened, and how much damage it caused. If you have an insurance claim against a policy you hold or the other driver’s coverage, you and the insurance company will need this information.

If your claim is disputed, the information on a car accident report gives your lawyers a place to start to build a case for you. As your car accident attorneys, The Tadchiev Law Firm can help you obtain an accident report if you don’t have it. Our Queens injury attorneys will work aggressively to pursue just compensation for you.

Work with a Queens Car Accident Attorney to Recover Compensation

If you have been injured in a car accident in Queens, N.Y., contact a car accident lawyer at The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., today. We are aggressive legal advocates ready to fight to maximize the compensation you recover for your accident-related medical expenses, lost income, and other losses.

Call us today at 718-380-1200 or reach out online. We won’t charge a legal fee unless we win money for you. We’ll start by reviewing your accident, answering any questions, and discussing your legal options during a free consultation. Call now.