For any car accident victim who plans to recover compensation, reporting a car accident in New Jersey is an absolute necessity. In the state of New Jersey, car accident reporting is relatively straightforward, but in the heat of the moment after an accident, it’s sometimes difficult to know what to do. I’ll receive the process below and discuss when connecting with a Northern New Jersey car accident attorney at Buttafuoco & Associates may be a good idea.
Do I Have to Report a New Jersey Car Accident?
In New Jersey, even after a minor accident, you are required to file a police report. If accident damages are $500 or more, filing a report is mandatory under the law. It is important to note that the $500 threshold includes both property damage and injuries.
As anyone who has been in a minor car accident knows, even a small crack to a bumper can result in incredibly expensive car repair bills. And since some injuries may not be immediately apparent after an accident, you could face medical bills you were not anticipating.
If you hope to be compensated for injuries after a crash through your auto insurance coverage, it’s best to err on the side of caution and report the accident.
How Do I File an Accident Report in New Jersey?
Your first step after an accident (if you are physically able to do so) is to call the police. Once the police arrive at the scene, they will handle the accident report. The report will include details they are able to gather at the scene: reports from drivers of both vehicles, witness statements, and descriptions of physical evidence (including damage to vehicles or other property) as well as evidence of vehicle speed and direction at the time of the accident.
One thing to keep in mind when talking with police is to avoid admitting fault for the accident during this conversation. Likewise, do not admit fault to your insurance company when you speak to them.
If you are falsely accused by your insurer of being partially or fully at fault for the accident, get in touch with a New Jersey car accident attorney as soon as possible. They can help you understand your rights and negotiate with your insurer.
Can I File an Accident Report if I Don’t Call the Police?
It is highly preferable to contact the police after an accident so they can write up a report. If for some reason the police are not called or do not arrive, you can use New Jersey’s self-reporting crash form known as SR-1. You can complete the form online or print and mail it in. If you do not contact the police after an accident, make sure that at minimum, you gather the other driver’s information (name, license number, insurance policy information), as you will need these details to complete the form.
Also worth noting: after an accident, you have 10 days to file a report with the New Jersey Department of Transportation. If you fail to file a report within that time frame, it could result in revocation of your registration or driver’s license. Additionally, it’s likely that you will not be able to file an insurance claim without a report.
If you have experienced a hit-and-run or other situation where you do not have the other driver’s information, make sure to discuss this with the police. A Northern New Jersey car accident attorney may also be able to help.
Will I Get a Copy of the Accident Report?
It is a good idea to get a copy of any accident report after a crash–but you will have to take the initiative, as you won’t receive a report without specifically requesting it. You can make this request through the New Jersey State Police & New Jersey Turnpike Authority Crash Report Requests System. If you work with a lawyer after a serious crash, they can also request a copy.
One thing you’ll notice is that the accident report does not state who was at fault for the crash, but instead records the details, statements, and evidence the police found at the accident scene. Your insurance company will interpret these details to determine who was at fault. If any details in the police report are missing or inaccurate after a serious accident, it may be in your best interests to work with a Northern New Jersey car accident attorney.
Working with Your Auto Insurance Company
Because New Jersey is a no-fault state, under most insurance policies unless you suffer what is legally considered a serious accident you will deal only with your own insurance company after a crash. They will compensate you for damages resulting from the accident.
Keep in mind, however, that insurance companies are businesses and it is very likely that they will first make an offer that is far less than what you need to recover from injuries or make vehicle repairs. If you believe your insurance company is lowballing you, first try to negotiate with them yourself. If this fails, a car accident lawyer serving Northern New Jersey can help you negotiate.
Need a Car Accident Attorney?
At Buttafuoco & Associates, our car accident attorneys have helped many accident victims receive the compensation they are entitled to after an accident. Our team is skilled in negotiating with insurers, and bringing experts to investigate crashes if you were wrongly determined at fault for a serious accident.
Get in touch today for a free consultation at 1-800-NOW-HURT.