How Long Do You Have to Report a Hit and Run Accident in New Jersey?
The state of New Jersey keeps traffic accident statistics, and to further that end the state requires that you report most car accidents. If you were involved in a hit and run, you also must report the accident. Failure to do so can result in fines and a suspension of your driver’s license.
When You Must Report Accidents
Technically, you don’t have to report an accident unless:
- Someone was injured or killed in the crash
- The crash caused more than $500 in damage to one person
Most accidents will fall under one of these two categories. Almost any damage to a vehicle can cost at least $500 to fix, so you should be on the safe side and report the accident.
New Jersey Requires Immediate Reporting
The driver of any vehicle involved should report the crash to one of the following:
- Local police department
- The nearest office of the county police
- New Jersey State Police
According to NJSA 39:4-130, you must provide “immediate notice” of the accident using the “quickest means of communication.” Typically, this means using your cell phone to call the police and report that you have been involved in an accident. If you don’t have a phone, then you should ask to use someone else’s or go to a nearby business and ask to use their phone.
Note that this reporting requirement applies to “any driver”—not simply the driver at fault for the wreck. If you were hit and the driver fled, you still need to provide immediate notice to the police.
You Might Also Need to File a Written Report
The statute says you normally must file a written report within 10 days of the accident. The form to use is the “Self-Reporting Crash” fill-in-the-blank form created by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Remember to fill out the form completely, provide all requested information, and keep a copy of the report for your records.
However, the statute also says you do not need to file a written report if the officer investigating the accident files the report. Make sure to check with the officer at the scene to see if he or she does that.
Penalties for Failing to Report an Accident
If you fail to report an accident, you can be fined between $30 and $100. The state may also revoke or suspend your driver’s license and car registration.
Those who destroy or conceal evidence of an accident face worse penalties—a fine between $250 and $1,000. They can also have their license and registration suspended/revoked.
What Happens if You Are Too Injured to Report?
You might have been badly hurt in the wreck, and the state recognizes that possibility. The law states that if you can’t immediately notify the police or file the written report, then any occupant in your vehicle should do so.
Also, if someone else owns the vehicle, they should provide immediate notice to the police and/or file a written report if the driver physically can’t.
Contact Us Today
Fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime. But problems can also arise for the failure to report the accident to the police. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can assist anyone who has a question regarding reporting requirements.