After a car accident, the last thing that most people want to do is deal with paperwork and bureaucracy. Unfortunately, filling out forms is often required after you are hurt in a crash. This is particularly true in New York, where motorists are required to fill out an accident report for most traffic accidents.
The MV-104 requires drivers to provide details of an accident that caused injury, death, or property damage of $1,000 or more to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of a crash. Injury victims should be cautious when completing this form, as insurance companies often scour them to look for reasons to deny your claim. At the same time, your attorney can use the MV-104 accident report filed by the at-fault driver to build a strong case for compensation.
The Odierno Law Firm exclusively represents individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents. We offer free initial consultations to all prospective clients, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Give our law office a call to talk to your own Long Island personal injury lawyer about your claim.
What Is the MV-104?
The MV-104 is a form that is used by drivers to report motor vehicle accidents in New York state. It is similar to a form that police officers are required to file when they respond to motor vehicle and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crashes.
Motorists are not required to file an MV-104 report after all traffic accidents. It is only required under New York’s Vehicle and Traffic law for wrecks that involve:
- Personal injury; or
- Property damage to any one person in excess of $1,000.
In other words, if you are involved in any type of motor vehicle accident as a driver and there is a possibility that someone sustained $1,000 or more in damages, then you must file an MV-104 report. This form must be submitted within 10 days of the crash.
You can print out the form and mail it to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or file an accident report online. If you don’t file the form in a timely manner, then the DMV may suspend your driver’s license.
Because even minor damage to a motor vehicle can lead to pricey repairs, MV-104 reports will be required in almost all car accidents. In addition, if someone is hurt or killed in a collision, then it must immediately be reported to the police. Law enforcement will then fill out their version of the MV-104, and the motorists involved will still be required to submit an MV-104.
The MV-104 requires you to provide details about the accident, including:
- Number of people injured
- Types of injuries involved
- Cause of the accident
Because insurance companies scrutinize these forms, looking for reasons to deny or underpay your claim, it is always a good idea to consult with a Long Island car accident attorney before filling out the MV-104. They can advise you of your legal options and assist you with completing the form in a way that protects your rights as an injury victim.
When You Need an MV-104 Report and How to Get One
MV-104 reports must be filed after almost any motor vehicle accident. Technically, all drivers involved in a crash must file an MV-104 report after any accident involving bodily injury, death, and/or property damage in excess of $1,000. As a practical matter, this means that MV-104 reports are required for most car accidents.
Any time that you are involved in a motor vehicle accident where you suffered injuries or property damage, it is a good idea to obtain a copy of the MV-104 reports about the crash. These reports are often critical to establishing fault, which can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your losses.
These reports must be filed with the DMV within 10 days of a wreck. Once filed, they are available on the DMV site for a period of 4 years. You can request a copy of the crash reports for your case through the DMV website.
To order an MV-104 report, first, conduct a free limited search to make sure that the DMV has your report(s). This search is performed by reviewing a list of accidents by file date, county, and date of the accident.
Once you have confirmed that the report(s) that you want are available, you will need to pay a $7.00 search fee. You will then be able to search by plate number, license number, or DMV accident case number. The DMV charges the $7.00 search fee even if you enter the wrong information or if the reports are not found, so be sure to check for the report using the free search first and to enter the information carefully.
You can then download a certified MV-104 report for $15 per report. To order a report, you will need either the plate number of a vehicle involved in the accident, the driver’s license number of a person involved, and/or the 8-digit DMV case number. All of this information can be found in the report itself. The report can then be downloaded in PDF format within 7 days of the date that you purchased it.
If you can’t download a certified copy of an MV-104 report using the online function, you can still request a report from the DMV. The search fee is $10 for this option, plus a $15 report fee for each report that you order.
Importantly, MV-104 reports are typically not available immediately after an accident. As a general rule, it takes anywhere from 14 to 60 days for an accident report to become available in the DMV system. The length of time that it takes for an MV-104 report to become available is based on where it was filed, and whether the report was filed electronically or by paper.
How Can an MV-104 Accident Report Help My Case?
While filling out an MV-104 report carelessly can hurt your case, these reports can also boost your personal injury claim. Remember: all motorists involved in a motor vehicle crash must submit an MV-104 report. As a result, your attorney can use the report(s) submitted by another driver(s) to build your case.
The MV-104 form requires motorists to provide contact and insurance information for each driver involved in the accident. In the event of a pedestrian collision or bike accident, the driver must list contact information for the pedestrian or bicyclist. Your attorney can use this information to start the claims process.
Perhaps more importantly, each driver must describe how the accident occurred. There is a space for drawing an accident diagram, explaining what damage each vehicle sustained, and writing a narrative about how the accident happened. Just as an insurance company may use what you write on the MV-104 to minimize your claim, your own attorney can use the MV-104 form to demonstrate that the other driver caused the wreck.
If the at-fault driver writes on the MV-104 form that they were speeding when the accident happened, that fact can be used to show negligence – a key component of any personal injury claim. But even if they don’t admit fault, their description of the accident can be used to prove your case. For example, if the other driver describes traveling westbound down a highway and turning left across traffic, this could be used to show that they were at fault for the collision.
MV-104 reports are available through the DMV website for a period of 4 years after an accident occurs. Your attorney can obtain this report and any police accident reports and use them to help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
Injured in a Car Accident? Give Us a Call!
After an accident, you may be overwhelmed with doctor’s appointments, missed work, and calls from insurance adjusters. Having to fill out an MV-104 report and figure out how to file a claim for your losses can be challenging in these circumstances. Our law firm is here to help.
Based in Melville, the Odierno Law Firm represents clients throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. With more than 150 years of combined experience, we have the skill and legal knowledge to help injury victims achieve the best possible outcome for their cases. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Long Island car accident attorney, give us a call at 631-752-8580 or fill out our online contact form.