When you’re involved in a car accident, do you report it to the police or not? Do you call 911 to report the accident so a cop can be dispatched to the scene? Or, do you exchange information with the other driver and handle the repairs and everything else all by yourself? Most drivers ask these questions at some point in their lives, and if you have too, you have plenty of company.
Under the Division of Motor Vehicles law, if a driver is involved in a car accident in New Jersey, he or she is required to report it to law enforcement if the crash involved more than $500 of property damage. What does this mean?
It means that if you’re ever in a car accident and it looks like the property damage is at least $500 (which is very easy to do since car repairs are so costly), you must immediately report the crash to the police. Since you probably have a cellphone on you at all times, this is easy to do. If for some reason you don’t, you should be able to get the other driver or a witness to place a call into 911 for you.
Other Reporting Requirements
Are there any other circumstances where you should call the police and report something negative that happened to your vehicle? Absolutely. You are also expected to report any other loss to the police if your vehicle is damaged in a hit-and-run accident, stolen, or even vandalized by a gang, a band of rowdy teenagers, or anyone else who may intentionally damage your vehicle.
You may not be aware of this but police reports are essential in New Jersey. If something happens to your vehicle; for example, if you’re in a crash or if your car is stolen and you don’t report it to the police and obtain a police report, the insurance company could deny your claim altogether.
In addition to the above, insurance companies insist on inspecting damaged vehicles before they are repaired by owners. So, the takeaway here is: always file a police report and make sure the vehicle is inspected by the insurance company before you have it repaired by an auto repair shop. But, don’t call an insurance company without protecting your legal rights and contacting our law firm first.
If you were involved in an accident, contact our firm to meet with New Jersey Car Accident Attorney, Brandon J. Broderick.