The best way to look up or obtain an accident report is to go to the source of the report. For instance, if you were in an auto accident that involves an injury, you may be able to get the accident report from the reporting officer.
If the information is available online, you may be able to go to an official website to view or download the report, such as your DMV’s website. If you are working with an attorney from our firm, we can obtain a copy of almost any type of accident report.
View or Order an Auto Accident Report Online
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records and keeps a copy of your accident report online. Accessing your report only takes a few easy steps:
- Perform a free limited search to make sure your report is available.
- Perform a paid search using your DMV accident case number, license number, or license plate number.
- Order your accident report directly from the DMV site.
- Download the report or have it mailed to your home.
Since we handle cases in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, visiting one of the following websites puts you in the right place for obtaining an auto accident report:
- New York Department of Motor Vehicles
- New Jersey Crash Reports
- Pennsylvania Online Crash Report Request
It may take 15 days for the accident report to get uploaded into these systems. You can call your case officer to see if the information has been added yet, or try the free search variants before you pay for a report.
Is There a Fee for Getting a Copy of My Crash Report?
Yes, there is a fee for searching and downloading your accident report. Here are the fees as of January, 2022:
- New York: $22-$25, depending on the age of the report and which system you use.
- New Jersey: $5 to $20 depending on the accident type, plus additional fees for photos. You may need a lawyer to order a report involving a serious or fatal traffic accident.
- Pennsylvania: $22.
Available Information on an Auto Accident Report
Car accident reports can be complicated and difficult to read. Police or DMV reports contain codes, symbols, and abbreviations, often without explanation. Below is a brief explanation of some of the important information you need to know. Auto accident reports contain the following information:
Number of People Injured
This is one of the first items that an insurance company may look at. The number in the box indicates the number of people who were injured in the accident. If the number is incorrect, you may have a difficult time convincing the insurance company that the rest of the report is correct or that you were among the injured.
There is a section that highlights the details of the injuries, including:
- Physical location of the injury
- The type of injury
- The severity of the injury
You can also view the codes that correlate to the injury. Make sure that the codes are correct, and that the injury information is correct. This is important when your attorney helps you submit your personal injury claim.
Cause of Accident
There is a section that contains information about the causes of the accident. It includes several codes that may indicate whether any of the following was involved in the cause of the accident:
- Road rage
- Unsafe speed
- Driver inexperience
- Driving under the influence
The codes for all reported causes can be found in the accident report.
Additional Information on Your Auto Accident Report
Page one of the accident report contains the immediate information you need to know in the clearest and most concise manner possible. Your accident report may also include additional information, such as:
- Codes for page one located on page two and three
- Codes for types of injuries on page four
- Codes for hospitals on page five and six
- Truck/bus classification information on page seven
Accidents involving commercial vehicles, such as buses, trucks, or 18-wheelers cause more severe injuries and property damage. There are pages designated for these types of auto accidents. You may be able to find information for large-scale commercial vehicles. Truck type and other relevant information are provided by code.
Is an Accident Report Always Accurate?
Accident reports are not always accurate, but insurance companies assume they are. Consequently, they can hurt your personal injury case when dealing with insurance companies if they are incorrect. One wrong code number or omission can make it difficult to prove your case.
For this reason, you may want to consider consulting a truck accident lawyer. If they can gather evidence that shows the accident report is incorrect, they can correct the assumptions of the insurance company.
Must I Get an Accident Report Before Speaking With a Lawyer?
No, but there are good reasons to do it if you can. Getting your accident report before will help your lawyer assess your case with far more accuracy. If you have to hire a lawyer before it’s ready, like if an insurance company tries contacting you in advance to make a statement, do so. Your lawyer can order the report when it is ready.
Also, by getting the report early, you can check it for inaccuracies and bring them up at your consultation. This will help your lawyer prioritize their investigation so they can build a stronger case. The insurance company will use the same report, but may not trust your story. Your lawyer will work to find evidence that shows you are correct.
How the Statute of Limitations Affects Your Car Accident Report
Beyond information about the car accident itself, the crash report can also serve as a way to determine your case’s filing deadline should you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Many people try to avoid having their case go to court by filing an insurance claim instead, but sometimes settlement negotiations do not pan out as expected. If you are working with our team, we may suggest filing a lawsuit to continue your pursuit of compensation, but we must do so within the statute of limitations.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is a law that sets the timeframe plaintiffs have to file a civil action lawsuit against a negligent party. This statute varies by state and even by case type, so our team will review the laws that apply to your case to determine its deadline.
For some general examples, the following statutory deadlines apply in the states we serve:
- New York: CPLR § 214 (3 years)
- New Jersey: NJ Rev Stat § 2A:14-2 (2 years)
- Pennsylvania: Pa. C.S.A. § 5524 (2 years)
These timelines start from the date of injury, which would be the date of the car accident in your accident report if it was filed at the scene. We can use the date on the crash report to determine your filing deadline.
Get Help From a Car Accident Lawyer Today
We can investigate your case to discover the facts surrounding your injuries and help you look up your accident report. We can also review your accident, speak with eyewitnesses, hire expert witnesses, and look at your medical report to assess what really happened and what your case is worth.
Morelli Law Firm can help you with your case. Contact our law firm to get started with your claim. Get a free case evaluation with an auto accident lawyer today.