What to do after a car accident in New Jersey
Would you know what you must do, or what you don't have to do, if you got into an automobile accident on a New Jersey roadway?
In each year from 2014 to 2016, the Garden State was home to more 230,000 crashes, according to the latest statistics from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
So we figured it was time for a refresher course.
No matter the damage or situation, it is state law to remain on the scene of an accident. Failure to do so could result in hundreds to thousands of dollars in penalties, as well as imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crash.
The state law indicates a driver must remain on the scene until the proper information is exchanged with the involved parties, or police.
Get the cops involved?
You're not required to call for law enforcement in every case.
However, state law says police must be notified if an accident results in injury, death or damage in excess of $500 (that's your judgement call).
State Police Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Flynn recommends motorists call the police "whenever they're involved in an accident."
"It's a protection should you maybe discover an injury a day or two later — you'll have an accident report," he said.
Get the insurance company involved?
Auto insurance is mandatory among drivers in New Jersey. Notifying your insurance company of a crash, though, is not required.
Christine O'Brien, president of the Insurance Council of New Jersey, said a police report will come in handy should you choose to file a claim related to the accident. The police report determines who was at fault.
"You should take photos of your car, and all of the cars involved, and their respective damage," O'Brien added. "Your insurer will want to see photos if possible."
No matter who's at fault, O'Brien noted, auto-insurance companies cover policyholders' medical expenses.