What Happens After a Car Accident With No Police Report in New Jersey

As a general rule, all car accidents that take place in New Jersey should be reported to law enforcement. Certain types of collisions legally must be reported; however, even if a crash does not involve injuries or significant property damage, obtaining a police report can be advantageous for the parties involved. If the police are not notified of a crash, this could have negative consequences for the claims process.

Penalties for Not Reporting 

In various scenarios, not having a police report for an auto accident could result in penalties against the drivers involved. New Jersey law requires the reporting of auto accidents that result in injury, death or at least $500 in property damage. If one or both drivers failed to report a wreck that was legally reportable in New Jersey, they could face a fine of $30 to $100 in addition to having their drivers’ licenses suspended.

Risks of Nonreporting in the Future

Even if it initially appears that a car accident does not cause any injuries, there is always a risk of hidden or delayed symptoms appearing later. Many injuries – including serious to catastrophic injuries – do not immediately show symptoms. A victim’s adrenaline may mask the pain of an injury, for instance, or the type of injury may not exhibit noticeable symptoms until it reaches a specific level of severity.  

Since New Jersey law requires a crash victim to notify police of any injuries, failing to report the accident could cause an insurance company to refute the existence or alleged severity of an injury being claimed.

Liability Dispute

It is recommended that drivers report even minor car accidents to the police. A police report can record important details about the crash, such as the time, date, location, speeds and directions of both vehicles, and the names of witnesses and involved parties. This information can be used to help establish liability or fault during a New Jersey car accident claim.

Without a police report preserving facts and evidence, liability for a car accident can be difficult to determine. An insurance company may reject a claim or deny its policyholder’s liability for a wreck based on a lack of evidence. In this scenario, the injured victim would have to prove that the other driver was at fault for the crash to qualify for compensation. 

Establishing liability can be more difficult without a police accident report; it may require hiring experts and reconstructing the collision, which costs money and time. A car accident victim can improve the claims process by gathering evidence – such as pictures of the scene and eyewitness statements – even if the crash is not reported to the police.

Denied Claim 

Most car insurance companies reject car accident claims that are not supported by police reports. Insurance claims adjusters require proof that the car accident occurred the way it is described in the claim – or that it took place at all. The inability to provide a police report as evidence could lead to an insurer denying the claim or even alleging insurance fraud.

Protect Yourself by Reporting Your Car Accident in New Jersey Right Away

Staying silent, deciding to handle things “under the table” with the other driver and failing to notify the police of a car accident in New Jersey can have many negative effects on the insurance claims process. The best way to protect yourself is by calling 911 to report any automobile accident, major or minor. 

If you are involved in a car accident injury claim that does not have a police report, contact a New Jersey personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. for legal assistance. You may need an attorney to help you prove your claim. Contact us now.