Evidence like the police accident report is important to a truck accident claim to establish the cause of the accident and who is at fault for the commercial truck accident.
Where do I get a copy of the police accident report after a truck accident?
This varies for each state and sometimes each jurisdiction. In New York, a police accident report can be accessed online through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) site. This requires a search fee of $7 and $15 for a copy of the report.
It will be necessary to provide a full name, address and email. Additional information is required in order to identify the accident. For instance, by entering the date of the accident and the location (county), it will show a list of plate numbers for all vehicles involved.
If the searcher has the accident case number – which may be given at the time of the accident – it may help locate the report, too. Further, the driver’s license or vehicle plate number can be entered.
A copy can also be obtained by calling or visiting the police agency that responded to the crash. There may be a fee for getting a copy of the report. If you’re filing a truck accident claim following serious injury, an accident attorney can help New York victims obtain this document and help evaluate it to present it as evidence in the claim.
Is there a special police accident report if a large commercial truck is involved?
The responding officer is required to fill out a “Truck and Bus Supplemental Police Accident Report” whenever there is a crash involving a commercial truck. This applies to trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combined weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.
It also applies to trucks that carry a hazardous materials placard. This is a law enforced not only by the state of New York, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The other requirements necessitating filling out this form include:
- at least one fatality;
- at least one person transported to a hospital for immediate medical care; or
- at least one vehicle is towed from the accident scene as a result of property damage.
How can a police accident report help a truck accident claim?
A police report can help in establishing who was at fault. What’s critical is that truthful, detailed information is given to the responding officer at the scene. This is because with time, the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash can begin to fade from memory.
Oftentimes the officer can get a good understanding of what happened after talking to all of the parties. The report might provide a summary of what he or she believes is the cause of the crash, which can be very useful when filing a truck accident claim in New York.
Meanwhile, an automatic onboard recording device or the driver’s log books can help establish whether the driver was in violation of federal hours of service rules. Federal law mandates that the hours of service electronic display, chart or printout is provided to law enforcement when requested.
If there is evidence that the driver had gone beyond the allowable time, it could support suspicions of drowsy driving or falling asleep at the wheel. An accident attorney may also request this information from the trucking company if pursuing a truck accident claim in New York.
If the truck driver is cited for a traffic citation and it’s included on the police report, it may show fault. Or if a blood alcohol content (BAC) test is administered, the results could be used as proof of negligence, too.