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How to Read an NYC Police Report

Seth Harris

Last modified on September 15, 2023

How to Read an NYC Police Report

Car accidents happen in the blink of an eye in New York. Once the dust settles, the police will create an accident report. You should get a copy for yourself, but what do you do with this information? Accident reports can be persuasive in New York car accident claims, so knowing what these reports say is crucial. Harris Keenan & Goldfarb has spent almost 30 years representing New York’s injured, and we know the essential role accident reports can play in these cases. This blog explains the information found in and how to read an NYC police report.

What Does a New York Police Accident Report Say?

The New York Police Accident Report is a comprehensive document that captures the vital details of a collision. But what exactly can you find inside?

  • Drivers’ Information: This section lists the names, addresses, and license details of all drivers involved. Additionally, it provides relevant insurance information for each driver.
  • Vehicle Ownership: Here, you’ll find details about the registered owners of the involved vehicles (who might not be the drivers), along with their contact information.
  • Vehicle Details: The accident report will include the make, model, year, and other relevant specifications of each vehicle, offering a clear snapshot of the cars, trucks, or bikes involved.
  • Extent of Damage: This portion describes the nature and scope of the damage each vehicle sustained, helping to provide a visual image of the incident’s aftermath.
  • Tickets Issued: If the police issued any tickets or citations after the crash, you’ll find them here. This can range from speeding to more severe infractions.
  • Narrative of the Accident: Police officers will often include a brief narrative or description of the events leading up to, during, and following the accident.
  • Witness Information: If the police spoke to any bystanders who witnessed the incident, you can find their names and contact details here.
  • Injuries and Medical Treatment: If any party sustained injuries, the report will detail the nature of those injuries and whether any medical treatment was administered at the scene or the injured party left by ambulance.

After obtaining your accident report, review it carefully. This report is the official record of what happened, so if there are any errors, you need to correct them promptly. Your lawyer can assist you with correcting false information in your accident report.

Why You Need a NYC Police Accident Report

In the aftermath of a car accident, it’s easy to feel lost amid the flood of information, emotions, and uncertainties. Police accident reports offer clear, concise answers to help you cut through the confusion. But why is this document so crucial, especially for someone injured in a collision?

  • Foundation for Your Claim: In personal injury claims, the police accident report is often the first piece of evidence insurance companies look at. This foundational document can bolster the credibility of your case.
  • Identifying the Liable Party: Liability is a central issue in any personal injury claim. The accident report’s details—such as infractions noted, witness statements, and the officer’s narrative—can help pinpoint liability.
  • Evidence of Property Damage and Injuries: The accident report meticulously documents vehicle damage and any injuries sustained in the crash. These details can be essential when assessing the value of your claim or negotiating with insurance adjusters.
  • Timely Recollection: As time progresses, memories can become hazy. Having a report that was written shortly after the incident ensures that events are recorded while they’re still fresh.

How to Obtain Your New York Accident Report

How to Read an NYC Police Report 2There are several methods for obtaining accident reports in New York. You can choose the most convenient means to obtain the report or have your attorney handle the details. If you want to request the report yourself, here are your options:


An online search is usually the fastest way to obtain an accident report in New York. Through the NYPD’s Collision Report Retrieval Portal, you can search for your report based on the accident date, where the crash occurred, your license plate, and other variables. If the accident occurred outside New York city limits or an agency besides the NYPD investigated the crash, you can search the New York DMV’s online database.

By Mail

You can request collision reports from the NYPD through the mail if you choose. To do so, complete two copies of the Request for Copy of Collision Record form and mail them to the precinct where the crash occurred. (Find your local police precinct here.)

In Person

To request a crash report in person, take two complete copies of the Request for Copy of Collision Record form to the NYPD precinct closest to where the accident happened.

Police reports are essential evidence in a personal injury claim. If you have questions about what’s in your accident report or how to find it, Harris Keenan & Goldfarb can help. Call [phone-number linked=true] or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

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A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.



Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).



A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.



A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.



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Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.



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The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.



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A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.



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A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

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