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What Happens if You Do Not Call the Police After a Car Accident?

Posted on: October 23, 2023

A common concern for New Jersey motorists is whether it is always necessary to call the police after a car accident. Even if the accident is minor or you believe you can handle it alone, there can be severe legal consequences and financial implications if you do not call the police. In some instances, you may also be subject to fines and suspension of your license and registration if you fail to call the police after a crash.

What Are the Benefits of Filing a Police Report?

Being involved in a car accident can leave you feeling overwhelmed about all the details you need to take care of, such as treating your injuries, getting your vehicle repaired, and paying your bills if you miss time from work. However, one of the most important things to do after a car accident is to call the police and get a police report.

The benefits of filing a police report include:

  • The report describes how the accident happened and who was involved.
  • The report includes details about the accident, official witness statements, drivers’ insurance information, and a record of visible damage and injuries.
  • It is easier to argue liability with insurance companies when you have a police report.

Should You Call the Police After a Car Accident in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the law states that every driver involved in a car accident must report the accident to law enforcement if it caused more than $500 in vehicle or property damage, injuries, or death.

Even a minor fender-bender can have more than $500 worth of property damage, so you should always call the police to the accident scene. It is also crucial to call 911 to get medical treatment for yourself or anyone else as soon as possible after the accident, even if there are no apparent injuries. This is important for your health and safety and to document the medical treatment you received.

What Happens if the Police Don’t Show Up at the Scene?

If the police do not come to the scene or investigate the accident, you can file an accident report independently or with the guidance of an experienced lawyer.

Ensure to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. Collect as much evidence as possible by taking pictures of any vehicle damage, road markings, street signs, and physical injuries. This kind of documentation can be helpful for future claims and legal proceedings.

How Do I File a Car Accident Report in New Jersey?         

If there are no injuries and no one calls or involves the police, you are expected to file a written report with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) within 10 days of the accident. New Jersey Form SR-1 is the driver’s self-report form that you can use to report the accident to the MVC.

You can also find instructions on properly filing your written report on the MVC’s website. A driver’s self-report can be filed online or downloaded and mailed in. Failure to file a report within 10 days of the accident may result in losing your driving or registration privileges in New Jersey.

Can I File an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report?

While a police report is not required to file a claim, insurance adjusters expect evidence of the car accident and the details surrounding it. If you do not have a police or accident report, the insurance company will likely deny your claim. You should always file a police report and make sure the insurance company inspects the vehicle before you have it repaired by an auto repair shop.

New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Protect the Rights and Best Interests of Car Accident Victims

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, our New Jersey car accident lawyers at Ellis Law can help. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Asbury Park, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Long Branch, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York City.

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