New Jersey Car Accident Reports
Posted on: April 24, 2023
Car accident reports are created and filed with the state by law enforcement officers or by the drivers when officers are not called. They detail the circumstances of the accident, injuries sustained, property damage, and more. Reports are also crucial when filing a claim for compensation.
Are You Required to File a Car Accident Report in New Jersey?
New Jersey law requires drivers to report car accidents resulting in injuries, fatalities, or over $500 in property damage to law enforcement at the time of the accident. Many people mistakenly assume that reporting minor accidents with little damage to police is not necessary. However, if the damage is more extensive than initially perceived or injuries develop at a later time, not having a police report may negatively impact your eligibility to collect compensation.
What Information Does a Police Report Contain?
Police report offer unbiased, accurate, and impartial third-party documentation. The police report may include:
- The precise location, date, and time of the accident.
- Vehicle and other property damage.
- Injuries sustained.
- Driver statements regarding the accident.
- Witness identification and statements.
- Environmental factors.
- Any other relevant information.
Insurance companies may also require a police report if you plan to file a personal injury claim. Furthermore, a police report can be crucial if you are determined to be at fault for the accident. It serves as protection for you should the other driver make false claims regarding the extent of their injuries or property damage.
How to File a Car Accident Report in New Jersey
Car accident reports must be filed with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) within 10 days following an accident. Reports can be filed online, or forms can be downloaded, completed, and mailed to the NJDOT. Failure to report the accident could result in loss of driving or registration privileges and prevent you from filing an insurance claim.
Accidents resulting in only property damage, and without law enforcement officers being called to the scene, must be reported in writing to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission within 10 days of the accident, and must contain:
- Cause of the accident.
- Conditions at the time of the accident.
- People and vehicles involved.
- Insurance information of everyone involved.
There are two exceptions to drivers filing a written report:
- A law enforcement officer already performed and submitted a written police report.
- The driver is unable to make a written report due to injuries or other circumstances, and a passenger in the vehicle at the time of accident can file on their behalf.
Requesting a Copy of Your Car Accident Report
Reports may be requested online through the New Jersey State Police & New Jersey Turnpike Authority Crash Report Requests system, which contains reports for accidents occurring on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, or state roads.
Whether you or a law enforcement officer filed the report, it is wise to request a copy to review for inaccuracies or missing information that can be corrected. It can take a few weeks to receive the report, so requesting it sooner rather than later is advantageous. Your attorney may also request the report and scene photos, particularly if the accident resulted in serious injuries or fatalities.
Does a Car Accident Report Show Who Is At Fault for the Crash?
Police reports provide details and statements, however, they may or may not be used as evidence in court because the observations and conclusions of an officer are generally considered hearsay. In some cases, the police report might not include any information of who is at fault. The insurance companies will also come to their own conclusions.
New Jersey is a no-fault state, meaning each driver’s own insurance company will likely cover certain medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, if your own insurance does not cover the full costs, and the other driver’s percentage of fault is higher, you may be able to pursue a claim against the driver in certain circumstances, like if you have a catastrophic injury.
Consulting an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after the accident is your best course of action.
New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Help Clients Gather Evidence
A car accident report documents the circumstances of an accident. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, our New Jersey car accident lawyers at Ellis Law can fight to obtain all evidence in your case to help you collect damages. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online today 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.