Friday, January 14, 2011

Something to be wary of if you have a motor vehicle accident in NJ

In New Jersey, one has to be very cautious if one is involved in an automobile accident. If you are involved in an accident in New Jersey, there is an obligation to report it to the police. Under NJSA 39:4-129(b), in any circumstance where there is an accident involving any form of damage to property, even if a one-party accident, it must be reported to the police either at the scene, or at the nearest police station if it is not possible to stop at the accident site. A person who violates this provision can be fined from $200 to $400 and face possible imprisonment and may lose his rights to operate a motor vehicle for a period of six months from conviction.

Naturally, these penalties are far more severe if there is an injury or death, with fines from $2,500 to $5,000 and up to 180 days imprisonment if a person is injured or killed.

This statute covers even accidents to one's own vehicles, curbs, utility poles, or other structures. State v. Patterson, 47 NJ 450 (1966)

So the moral of the story is, even if you are in a minor fender bender and wish to resolve the matter directly with the driver of the other car, you would be wise to make sure that a police report is filed regardless, otherwise, you may face serious penalties.

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