How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in New Jersey?

Published: Oct 09, 2017 in Criminal Defense, Traffic Offenses
New Jersey Car Accident Attorneys

If you are involved in a vehicular accident in the state of New Jersey, what are your legal obligations to report the accident? How soon do you need to report, if at all? Are there any consequences for failing to report a car accident in which you were involved? These and other related issues we discuss below.

If you have recently been injured in a car crash, it’s important to have strong and intelligent legal counsel on your side. At Bhatt Law Group, we’re able to use our decades of collective experience and substantial resources to help ensure you obtain the insurance settlement to which you are entitled.

Set up a free consultation with one of our Jersey City car accident lawyers today by calling (201) 798-8000.

When You Must Report a Car Accident in New Jersey

A driver New Jersey involved in a car accident is obligated to report the accident if it:

  • Resulted in more than $500 worth of damage to the property of another person
  • Resulted in the injury or death of another person

Under the law, the driver involved in the accident must report it to one of the following entities:

  • Local Police Department
  • Nearest Office of the County Police
  • New Jersey State Police

How Soon Must You (The Driver) Report the Accident?

Using the “quickest means of communication,” a driver must report a car accident in which they were involved. From this phrase taken from the New Jersey statute, it can be safely assumed that the driver must report the accident by cell phone immediately if available or by accessing a nearby pay phone.

If no phone is available, the driver should travel to the nearest local Police Department, County Police Station, or State Police Office to report the accident. If none of those options are available because the driver’s vehicle is not operable, the driver should call to report the accident after arriving home. The fastest way to report an accident by phone is to call 911 or the local Police Department.

Written Report
In addition to the requirement to call and report the accident shortly after its occurrence, you are also required to fill out a written report to the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission (MVS) on an official state form regarding the accident within 10 days. If a police report has been filed, you are not required to do so.

Inability to Report Timely
If, as the driver, you are physically unable to provide the required oral notice of the collision, or if you are unable to provide the written accident report, another occupant of the vehicle at the time of the accident (someone who is capable of performing these actions) must do so, or have another person do so. As the driver of the vehicle, if you are physically unable to make the written report and you do not own the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle becomes responsible for making the report.

Failure to Report the Accident

As a consequence of failing to report a car accident in which you knowingly had involvement, you may be charged with Failure to Report an Accident in accordance with New Jersey Traffic Law, Title 39:4-130. You may also face a fine of $30 to $100, as well as a possible suspension or loss of your driver’s license.

As long as you have knowledge of your involvement in the car accident, any failure on your part to report the accident may not be ascribed to your lack of knowledge about the presence or scope of any personal injury or property damage resulting from the accident. Even if you immediately reported the accident orally (by phone or in person) but failed to provide the required written report of the accident, you may be found guilty of failing to report an accident in New Jersey. However, as long as you did not leave the scene of the accident, you may have the opportunity to save your license from suspension as long as you are properly represented by an experienced attorney.

Contact Experienced New Jersey Car Accident Attorneys

Our skilled and experienced traffic violation attorneys at Bhatt Law Group are able to help you reduce, and when possible eliminate the penalties you are facing for failing to report a car accident in New Jersey.

Take action to avoid unnecessary losses, including financial penalties and the loss of your license. Contact us today at (201) 798-8000 to schedule a free case evaluation.