A minor accident might not seem like a big deal, but it should be treated as such. People generally exchange information after a crash but do not always contact the police. Not calling the police can be a mistake, especially when injuries show up later.
Does New Jersey Require Me to Report a Minor Accident?
If there are no injuries or major property damage, New Jersey does not require drivers to report accidents. However, if there is an injury and/or property damage totaling more than $500, it must be reported. Failing to do this may result in a fine and a possible license and registration suspension.
When the other driver offers to pay you on the spot for your damages or suggests another alternative instead of contacting the police, decline their offer. Only a medical professional can diagnose your injuries, and the vehicle should be taken to a body shop. Accepting $1,000 in cash at the scene might seem like a good idea until the medical bills and repair invoices come in and are much higher.
Another reason to get a police report is for insurance. If you have to make a claim, the adjuster will likely request a copy for their records. Getting compensation without this documentation can be more difficult.
What Is in an Accident Police Report?
When law enforcement officers arrive at the accident scene, they generally ask those involved if medical services are necessary. You can say “no,” but it is in your best interest to see your physician as soon as possible after the crash, even if it is minor. Then, the officer will speak with the people involved and inspect the scene while taking notes. This will be the basis of the report, but you will not be given a copy at this time. The officer should provide you with contact information for the reporting police station, and they can be contacted. It can take a few days or weeks to get the copy, but in most cases, it is completed within 10 days. When ready, the report can be picked up in person or emailed.
A police report usually contains details about:
- Date and time of the crash.
- Damage sustained to the vehicles.
- Exact location of the accident.
- Injuries to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and anyone else involved.
- Physical evidence at the scene, like skid marks and weather conditions.
- Witnesses who may have seen what happened.
When the officer asks you questions at the scene, provide clear, concise answers without elaborating. Saying the wrong things could be later interpreted as an admission of guilt. Also, stick to the facts when speaking with the insurance company.
Mount Holly Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Can Help You After Any Type of Accident
You should report a car accident, even if you are unsure if it is minor or serious. To learn more, contact our knowledgeable Mount Holly car accident lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman. Call us at 856-751-2345 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Burlington County and the surrounding areas.