Let’s say that you are involved in a traffic accident in New York City, but the only damages to either vehicle are some minor dents and some scratches.

Still, if you do not have auto insurance, or if you are driving while intoxicated, you would probably rather not report the accident. Our team of New York car accident lawyers explain more:

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY ABOUT REPORTING ACCIDENTS IN NEW YORK?

Every state has its own rules for reporting traffic crashes. What is the law in New York?

In this state, accidents that involve personal injuries are categorized differently from accidents that involve only property and vehicle damages. If anyone is injured in a New York traffic accident, the driver responsible for causing injury must call 911 and report the accident.

However, if you only damage someone else’s property with your vehicle – let’s say that you crash into a parked car or even a building – you are required by New York law to report that accident only if the owner of the damaged property is not present at the accident scene.

When an accident must be reported, the law in New York says that the driver must report the accident to the nearest police station or law enforcement officer “as soon as physically able.” That means immediately, unless that driver is incapacitated by an injury.

DO YOU HAVE TO REPORT A CRASH TO YOUR AUTO INSURANCE COMPANY?

None of the fifty states require you to report a traffic accident to your automobile insurance company, but you’ll have to make that call nevertheless.

While policies may vary, most auto insurance policies require you to inform the company within twenty-four hours of a crash that you’ve been in a traffic collision.

The failure to inform your insurance company about an accident could result in the company choosing to deny coverage for the accident.

ARE NEW YORK DRIVERS REQUIRED TO FILE WRITTEN ACCIDENT REPORTS?

If you are a driver who is involved in a traffic accident in New York, and if anyone was killed or injured in the accident, you must submit a written report within ten days of the collision on an official New York State Department of Motor Vehicles motorist accident report form.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF YOU DON’T MAKE AN ACCIDENT REPORT?

A variety of penalties may apply to a driver who fails to report an accident:

1. A failure to report immediately a vehicle collision with property damage can be penalized, upon conviction, with as much as fifteen days in jail and/or a $250 fine.

2. A failure to report immediately a vehicle collision with a personal injury or injuries is considered a Class A misdemeanor that may be penalized upon conviction with as much as a year in jail and/or a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000.

3. However, a failure to report immediately a vehicle collision with a serious physical injury is considered a Class E felony that may be penalized upon conviction with as much as four years in prison and/or a fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.

4. And finally, a failure to submit a written accident report within ten days to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles is a misdemeanor which can be penalized with the revocation or temporary suspension of the driver’s vehicle registration or license.

WHAT IF YOU CANNOT SUBMIT A WRITTEN REPORT IN TEN DAYS?

If you have been injured so severely that you cannot file a written accident report within ten days, and if there was a passenger with you when the accident happened, the obligation to file that report becomes the passenger’s obligation.

If you cannot file the report within ten days, and if you were not the owner of the vehicle, the obligation to file that report becomes the owner’s obligation.

WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED?

If you were injured in an accident because the other driver was negligent, you have the right to compensation under New York law, so you must speak as quickly as you can regarding your rights and options with an experienced personal injury attorney.

However, being legally entitled to compensation does not mean that compensation will simply be handed to you. You’ll have to prove that the other driver’s negligence is the reason that you’re injured.

HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER HELP?

You will need an accident attorney who will listen to and address your concerns, who will fight aggressively for justice on your behalf, and who will hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence and wrongdoing.

If you take legal action to obtain compensation, your lawyer will conduct an investigation of your accident and injury, compile and preserve evidence, and question the witnesses on your behalf.

If necessary, your personal injury lawyer will seek the assistance of accident reconstruction specialists and medical experts to help you prove your case.

If you can prove that a negligent driver is responsible for your personal injury or injuries, you can be compensated for all of your current and future accident-related medical expenses, for your lost wages and any lost earning capacity, and for your accident-related pain and suffering.

WHAT WILL IT COST TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS?

Moreover, it will not cost you anything to learn more about how the law applies to your individual case. Here in New York, a personal injury lawyer will provide you with a free first consultation and case review for no charge and with no obligation.

Personal injury cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, so you will pay no attorney’s fees unless and until your personal injury lawyer obtains a settlement or a verdict on your behalf.

When a crash happens, cover all of your bases. Report the accident immediately to the police and to your insurance company and within ten days to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

Speak immediately after the collision with an experienced Bronx personal injury attorney. Legal help is your right after you’ve been injured by negligence.

Get the legal help you need, and get that help immediately. If you’ve been injured by negligence anywhere in or near New York City, your future could depend on it.