Ask the Attorney: Can I Still File an Accident Claim if a Police Report Wasn’t Filed at the Scene?

By Greg Kohn
Partner

Does this sound familiar? You’ve been hit by a distracted driver in New Jersey. You were not outwardly hurt, and your car was not significantly damaged. Because of this, you and the other driver decide against filing a police report. After the adrenaline fades, you feel pain and decide to go in for further examination. At this point, you might regret your decision not to file a police report. 

If you’re unsure of how to proceed, it is best to consult with a New Jersey personal injury attorney

The Importance of Police Reports in Accident Claims in New Jersey

A police report is essential for evidence reporting after an accident in New Jersey. It provides a permanent record of what happened and serves as an asset, should the matter be taken to court. Although minor accidents may not seem to qualify for a report, it is always best to report. While it may be daunting to go through the steps of reporting, New Jersey laws obligate you to report an accident to the police under the following conditions:

  • The accident resulted in the injury or death of any person
  • The damage to property of any party is in excess of $500.00

Furthermore, the statute for reporting an accident if these conditions are present is within 10 days. Failure to report makes you liable for paying a fee of up to $100.00. Remember, having a police report can help you streamline the claims process while ensuring that all parties involved have access to an official account of the incident.

Can I Still File an Accident Claim Without a Police Report?

Because of the stressful nature of accidents, you may forego reporting the incident, resulting in the absence of a police report. Does that mean you’re not liable for filing an accident claim? No, it doesn’t. Although it is preferable to have the police report, you are still able to proceed with your claim based on the following steps you should take after the accident:

  • Document everything: Collect as much evidence as you can from the scene. This includes taking photos of the vehicles, damages sustained, and any injuries from the accident. Be sure to gather real names, especially of the at-fault party and any witnesses and their contact information.
  • Seek medical attention: Minor injuries are still injuries and you must see a healthcare provider immediately. Having a medical record is an important piece of evidence to help with your claim.

The sooner you file a claim, the better it is for you as the longer you wait the slimmer your chances are of legitimately getting compensation from the accident. New Jersey statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the accident. So, be sure to keep your evidence on hand should you wish to proceed with a claim.

Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

You do not have to navigate the legalities of filing an accident claim without a police report alone. Talking to our skilled New Jersey personal injury attorney is beneficial as your case is reviewed and you get answers to the questions you may have. Contact us today for a consultation.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.