While there are circumstances in which a driver in New York may choose not to report a car accident, the best course in most cases is to report the crash as soon as possible. The first priority following a car accident should be to assess any harm to the people involved and seek medical care if necessary. Following that, it is important to begin the recovery process, which may include filing reports with insurers or the police. It may also include filing a lawsuit in some cases.
In a case where the accident is a minor fender-bender and no one is injured, it may be in a driver's best interest not to report the accident. Many minor crashes go unreported because the cost of repair is less than the relevant insurance deductible, for example, or because of the risk that the insurer will increase the driver's premiums going forward. According to tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, even collisions that occur at low speeds and result in only minor damage sometimes cost upwards of $1,000 to repair.
For people who want to report a car crash, there may be a limited window of time in which the report must be filed. Many insurers require their policyholders to make claims within a certain number of days. In a case where a lawsuit becomes necessary to recover for damages, the operative statute of limitations will act to bar a claim if the injured party waits too long to file. Statutes of limitations vary widely from state to state.
A person who is injured in a car accident may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses or other damages. An attorney with experience in personal injury law may help in such a case by attempting to negotiate settlement with at-fault parties or by gathering evidence in support of the client's injury claim.