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Should You Report a Minor Car Accident?

July 15, 2016 | Posted In Personal Injury/Negligence |

According to the New Jersey State Police there were 522 fatal car accidents, resulting in 562 deaths, on New Jersey roads in 2015. Unfortunately, so far there have already been over 280 fatalities for 2016.

Driving on New Jersey roadways can be dangerous and if you are involved in an accident, remember that under New Jersey law you are required to report the accident if it involves injury, death or damage to vehicles or property.

What Should You Do After an Accident?

There are steps you should take after being in an accident. It is important that you never leave the scene of an accident. After the accident:

  • Remain as close to the accident scene as safely possible, without obstructing traffic or inhibiting safety personnel.
  • Assess the situation for any further dangers, such as fire, and do not panic.
  • Remain aware of the traffic situation, and any other potential dangers, such as fire.
  • If there has been property damage or injury call 911 and seek medical help immediately.

Cell phones have become “the norm” in our society and nearly all cell phones have photo and video capabilities. It is important that you take pictures, not only of the damaged vehicles, but also of the surrounding area. If there has been property damage, take pictures of that as well.

Also, make sure to note all of the following:

  • The time and place of accident
  • Weather conditions, including slippery roads or visibility issues due to rain or snow
  • Any issues with signage or road conditions

You will also want to exchange information with others involved in the accident. Make sure to get the following information from those involved:

  • Name, address and contact details
  • Driver license numbers
  • License plate numbers of the vehicles involved
  • Auto insurance information for any of the motorists involved

You will also want to get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

Remember to never become aggressive towards other drivers. Remain as calm as possible and do not make verbal threats or assault others involved in the accident.

Why is it Important to Report an Accident and Gather Details?

Accidents are often chaotic and stressful situations. Having an official report of the accident, pictures and/or video, detailed notes and witness statements are imperative in making sure that the accident is presented as clearly as possible after the fact.

Failing to report an accident can lead to claims that you have hit-and-run, which is a serious traffic offense that, if convicted, requires a mandatory loss of license. A hit-and-run can become a criminal offense if an individual sustains serious injuries from the accident.

People seeking to “work the system” may tell you that no harm has been done and that an accident does not need to be reported only to call the police as soon as you have left the scene and complain of serious injury or harm. Do not allow someone else to manipulate you -- report the accident and gather facts.  

What is the Role of an Attorney After My Accident?

An attorney can assist you after an accident in a number of ways. The New Jersey personal injury law firm of Helmer, Conley and Kasselman, P.A. can help make a determination of who is responsible for the accident and make sure that insurance companies act properly by making full and timely payments as required by your insurance policy and the law.

Remember that no accident is too “minor” not to be reported. After reporting an accident to the proper authorities and seeking all necessary medical help, contact us so we can review your case right away.

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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