Following a motor vehicle accident, the responding Police Department will complete an accident report. The report will document the identity of the parties involved in the accident, the location of the accident as well as an accident diagram and explanation as to exactly how the accident occurred.
In New York State this form is required by the Department of Motor Vehicles and is known as form MV-104. When a motor vehicle accident has caused personal injuries, this report is often a very good starting point for an attorney evaluating the merits of a personal injury action.
Because the MV-104 provides the police officer's interpretation of how the accident occurred, it often will shed light on which party was negligent or at fault for the accident. This piece of information is crucial for a successful personal injury action.
The Courts are not bound by the police officer's interpretation of the accident since the officer was not present at the scene and would have arrived after the accident occurred. However, it is usually a creditable piece of information outlining how the accident may have unfolded.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and have sustained serious injuries, you may have a legal right to recover damages including lost wages, payment for medical bills, and pain and suffering. If you are able to secure the motor vehicle accident report from the responding Police Department it will allow your attorney to more accurately evaluate your case. The MV-104 can be secured by visiting the responding Police Department or by making a formal, written request by mail including the date, time, and location of the incident as well as the names of the parties involved. Many Police Departments will charge a nominal fee for photocopying the report. Even if you do not have the police report it is easy enough for an attorney to secure those documents on your behalf.
If you have questions about a motor vehicle accident, please feel free to contact our office.