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The Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr.

How to Read a New York City Accident Report Section by Section

Frank J. Dito, Jr.
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Car accident, personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney serving Staten Island and Brooklyn New York.

When you are involved in a car accident and the police come to the scene they will write up a report describing the situation surrounding the accident. This document is called a Police Accident Report. If you were involved in an accident in New York City you may request a copy of the accident report which can be obtained from the police station. Once you have the New York City Police Accident Report you will be able to determine different information listed regarding the accident, yourself and any other drivers or pedestrians involved in the accident. 

Police Accident Reports contain a vast amount of information regarding the accident, the condition of the vehicles, the weather, injuries and many other information surrounding the accident. 

If you have been involved in a car accident in New York City you may be wondering how to read an accident report. The form consists of quite a few different areas. There are numbered boxed to the left and to the right of the body of the report, which we will discuss in a little bit, and there is the actual body of the accident report. The body of the accident report contains information on Driver 1, Driver 2, the impact on the vehicles, the type of situation that occurred, other parties involved and the information for the police officer(s) who responded to the accident. 

In addition to all of the information mentioned above are pieces of information that show other information in connection with the accident scene. The key for the additional information is below: 

Left side of accident report
Box 1: Pedestrian/Bicyclist/Other Pedestrian Location
 - 1. Pedestrian/Bicyclist/Other Pedestrian at Intersection; 2. Pedestrian/Bicyclist/Other Pedestrian Not at Intersection

Box 2: Pedestrian/Bicyclist/Other Pedestrian Action - 1. Crossing, With Signal; 2. Crossing, Against Signal; 3. Crossing, No Signal, Marked Crosswalk; 4. Crossing, No Signal or Crosswalk; 5. Riding, Walking, Skating Along Highway with Traffic; 6. Riding, Walking, Skating Along Highway Against Traffic; 7. Emerging from in Front of/Behind Parked Vehicle; 8. Going to/from School Bus; 9. Getting On/Off Vehicle Other than School Bus; 11. Working in Roadway; 12. Playing in Roadway; 13. Other Actions in Roadway; Not in Roadway (indicate)

Box 3: Traffic Control - 1. None; 2. Traffic Signal; 3. Stop Sign; 4. Flashing Light; 5. Yield Sign; 6. Offer/Guard; 7. No Passing Zone; 8. RR Crossing Sign; 9. RR Crossing Flashing Light; 10. RR Crossing Gates; 11. Stopped School Bus - Red Lights Flashing; 12. Construction Work Area; 13. Maintenance Work Area; 14. Utility Work Area; 15. Police/Fire Emergency; 16. School Zone; 20. Other

Box 4: Light Conditions - 1. Daylight; 2. Dawn; 3. Dusk; 4. Dark Road Lighted; 5. Dark Road Unlighted

Box 5: Roadway Character - 1. Straight and Level; 2. Straight and Grade; 3. Straight and Hillcrest; 4. Curve and Level; 5. Curve and Grade; 6. Curve and Hillcrest

Box 6: Roadway Surface Condition - 1. Wet; 2. Dry; 3. Muddy; 4. Snow/Ice; 5. Slush; 6. Flooded; 0. Other

Box 7: Weather - 1. Clear; 2. Cloudy; 3. Rain; 4. Snow; 5. Sleet/Hail/Freezing Rain; 6. Fog/Smog/Smoke; 0. Other

Box 8: Which Vehicle Occupied - 1. Vehicle No. 1; 2. Vehicle No. 2; A. All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV); B. Bicyclist; I. In-line Skater; O. Other; P. Pedestrian; S. Snowmobiler

Box 9: Position In/On Vehicle - 1. Driver; 2 - 7. Passenger; 8. Hiding/Riding on Outside

Box 10: Safety Equipment Used - 1. None; 2. Lap Belt; 3. Harness; 4. Lap Belt/Harness; 5. Child Restraint Only; 6. Helmet (Motorcycle Only); 7. Airbag Deployed; 8. Airbag Deployed/Lap Belt; 9. Airbag Deployed/Harness; A. Airbag Deployed/Lap Belt/Harness; B. Airbag Deployed/Child Restraint

Box 11: Ejection from Vehicle - 1. Not Ejected; 2. Partially Ejected; 3. Ejected

Box 12: Age

Box 13: Male/Female

Box 14: Location of Most Severe Physical Complaint -
1. Head; 2. Face; 3. Eye; 4. Neck; 5. Chest; 6. Back; 7. Shoulder/Upper-Arm; 8. Elbow/Lower Arm/Hand; 9. Abdomen/Pelvis; 10. Hip/Upper Leg; 11. Knee/Lower Leg/Foot; 12. Entire Body

Box 15: Type of Physical Complaint - 1. Amputation; 2. Concussion; 3. Internal; 4. Minor Bleeding; 5. Severe Bleeding; 6. Minor Burn; 7. Moderate Burn; 8. Severe Burn; 9. Fracture/Dislocation; 10. Contusion - Bruise; 11. Abrasion; 12. Complaint of Pain; 13. None Visible; 14. Whiplash (Click here to read more about car accident injuries)

Box 16: Victim's Physical and Emotional Status - 1. Apparent Death; 2. Unconscious; 3. Semiconscious; 4. Incoherent; 5. Shock; 6. Conscious 

Box 17: Injured Taken By

Box 18: Injured Taken To

Right Side of Accident Report

Box 19 - 20: Apparent Contributing Factors (Vehicle 1) - Human - 2. Alcohol Involvement; 3. Backing Unsafely; Driver Inattention/Distraction*; 5. Driver Inexperience; 6. Drugs (Illegal); 7. Failure to Yield (Right of Way); 27. Failure to Keep Right; 21. Fatigued/Drowsy; 8. Fell Asleep; 9. Following Too Closely; 10. Illness; 11. Loss Consciousness; 12. Passenger Distraction; 13. Passage or Lane Usage Improper; 14. Pedestrian/Bicyclist/Other Pedestrian Error/Confusion; 15. Physical Disability; 16. Prescription Medication; 17. Traffic Control Disregarded; 18. Turning Improperly; 19. Unsafe Speed; 20. Unsafe Lane Changing; 22. Cell phone (hand-held); 23. Cell phone (hands-free); 24. Other Electronic Device*; 25. Outside Car Distraction *; 26. Reaction to Other Uninvolved Vehicle; 28. Aggressive Driving/Road Rage Vehicular - 41. Accelerator Defective; 42. Brakes Defective; 43. Headlights Defective; 44. Other Lighting Defects; 45. Oversized Vehicle; 46. Steering Failure; 47. Tire Failure/Inadequate; 48. Tow Hitch Defective; 49. Windshield Inadequate; 50. Driverless/Runaway Vehicle; 60. Other Vehicular; Environmental - 61. Animal's Action; 62. Glare; 63. Lane Marketing Improper/Inadequate; 64. Obstruction/Debris; 65. Pavement Defective; 66. Pavement Slippery; 67. Shoulders Defective/Improper; 68. Traffic Device Imporper/Non-Working; 69. View Obstructed/Limited

Box 21 - 22: Apparent Contributing Factors (Vehicle 2) - Same as above

Box 23: Direction of Vehicle (Vehicle 1) - 1. North; 2. Northeast; 3. East; 4. Southeast; 5. South; 6. Southwest; 7. West; 8. Northwest; 

Box 24: Direction of Vehicle (Vehicle 2) - Same as above

Box 25: Pre-Accident Vehicle Action (Vehicle 1) - 1. Going Straight Ahead; 2. Making Right Turn; 16. Making Right Turn on Red; 3. Making Left Turn; 17. Making Left Turn on Red; 4. Making U-Turn; 5. Starting from Parking; 6. Starting in Traffic; 7. Slowing or Stopping; 8. Stopped in traffic; 9. Entering Parked Position; 10. Parked; 11. Avoiding Object in Roadway; 12. Changing Lanes; 13. Passing; 14. Merging; 15. Backing; 18. Police Pursuit; 20. Other

Box 26: Pre-Accident Vehicle Action (Vehicle 2) - Same as above

Box 27: Location of First Event - 1. On Roadway; 2. Off Roadway

Box 28: Type of Accident - First Event - Collision with - 1. Other Motor Vehicle; 2. Pedestrian; 3. Bicyclist; 4. Animal; 5. Railroad Train; 6. In-line Skater; 7. Deer; 8. Other Pedestrian; 10. Other Object (Not Fixed); Collision with Fixed Object - 11. Light Support/Utility Pole; 12. Guide Rail (Not at end); 13. Guide Rail (end); 14. Sign Post; 15. Tree; 16. Building/Wall; 17. Curbing; 18. Fence; 19. Bridge Structure;  20. Culvert/Head Wall; 21. Median - Not at end; 26. Median - End; 27. Barrier; 22. Snow Embankment; 23. Earth Embankment/Rock Cut/Ditch; 24. Fire Hydrant; 30. Other Fixed Object*; No Collision -  31. Overturned; 32. Fire/Explosion; 33. Submersion; 34. Ran off Roadway Only; 40. Other*

Box 29: Type of Accident - Second Event - Vehicle 1 - Same as above

Box 30: Type of Accident - Second Event - Vehicle 2 -Same as above

If you were injured in a car accident continue reading more information here.