When we picture a car accident, most of the time it involves a disastrous collision and emergency medical attention. The reality is that most car accidents tend to be small scrapes and fender benders that do not actually involve any injuries. Usually these kinds of accidents happen in tight parking lots or intersections, resulting in minor property damage. In these kinds of situations, you might find yourself asking if it is even worth reporting.
The attorneys at Peter Davis Law encounter these kinds of issues all the time, and we have provided below a short guide for what to do if you are involved in a minor car accident.
What is New Jersey Law?
New Jersey is pretty clear on the question. If you are involved in a car accident, you are legally obligated to file a police report if the accident caused injury or death or if it resulted in property damage in excess of $500.
You must also make this report by the “quickest means of communication,” meaning as soon as possible. More often than not, this means making a call on your cell phone. If you are unable to do this, then you will need to physically go into the nearest police department and file a report in person. Failure to do this within ten days of the accident could mean the suspension of your license and a hefty fine.
What About the Insurance Companies?
You are not required by state law to report a car accident to your insurance company, but many insurance policies make it obligatory nonetheless. This usually means reporting your accident as soon afterwards as possible, typically within a day or two. Otherwise, insurance companies will deny you benefits. So, even if you believe the accident is minor, you should still seek to cover your bases by reporting it to your insurance provider.
You should also keep in mind that many accidents, especially minor ones, do not necessarily show physical damage right away. These are more lingering kinds of pain that can worsen over time, but if you drag your feet with the insurance company, you could just be out of luck. As with most things, it is very important that you are diligent in this regard.
What’s Next After a Car Accident?
You were involved in a minor car accident in New Jersey, and you reported it both to the police and your insurance company. Now what’s next? At this point, the only thing to do is to get on with your life and try not to let the accident shake you.
It is also crucial that you monitor your potential damages in the days following a car crash. For example, if you start to notice some pain in your body, see a doctor and take your medical results to your insurance company. The same goes for expensive car repairs. Furthermore, if the damages start to grow pretty big, you may want to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you out.
For any questions you may have on the legal process involved, contact a representative at Peter Davis Law today to see how we can help.