Leaving the scene of an accident is an all too common occurrence in New Jersey. Being involved in a car accident is overwhelming and frustrating enough. When the other driver flees the scene and does not stop to ensure other’s safety and well-being is downright shocking. If you’ve been in an accident and the other driver fails to take responsibility by leaving the scene, read this blog post to understand your options for reporting the accident and recovering compensation for your losses.
When Are Drivers Allowed to Leave the Scene in NJ?
In an answer – never. New Jersey law requires that drivers stop and exchange personal and insurance information after a car accident. Furthermore, if the accident resulted in injury, the other driver is obligated to attempt to render aid to the victim, such as calling for an ambulance. In fact, you must call police to any accident scene in which more than $500 of damage is expected -- a small figure for even a minor crash. A driver who fails to stop and exchange information and/or offer reasonable assistance and instead flees the scene can be charged with traffic violations and a criminal charge.
What to Do if You’ve Been in an NJ Hit and Run
Don’t Chase After the Car
While it may be tempting to chase after the car as it flees, do not leave the scene. For one, you don’t want to be charged with leaving the scene of the accident. Secondly, there is a risk that the other driver could become aggressive towards you. Don’t engage the other driver in any way. Simply record as much information as you can about the person and their vehicle and let the police handle the situation.
Contact the Police
If you’ve been in a hit and run or any accident, you or someone else involved or witness to the accident should call 911 and report the accident as well as any injuries. The police will record the accident scene, take statements from you and any other victims or witnesses, and anyone needing medical attention will be treated or taken to a hospital. When speaking to the police officer, try to relate as many details of the hit-and-run driver and vehicle as you can to help the officers in locating the other driver. It is not uncommon for police to spot the damaged vehicle of the hit-and-run driver and stop them within minutes of the accident.
Contact an Attorney, then Insurance
Whenever most people get into a car accident, their first thought is to contact the insurance company to report the accident. While you do have a legal responsibility to inform your insurance company any time you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is in your best interest to contact a car accident and injury law firm to discuss your case.
Insurance companies are primarily concerned with avoiding paying high value claims, when possible. They may give the appearance that they are concerned about your health and well-being, however, their key interest is in getting you to settle for the lowest amount possible. In some instances that may mean pressuring you into quickly giving a recorded statement or insisting you accept a settlement far below what your plan actually covers.
When you contact an experienced law firm such as Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we will thoroughly review your case and determine the legal options you can pursue to recover damages. We will guide you through your statement as well as handle insurance negotiations and communications.
Who Pays for Damages in a Hit and Run in NJ?
New Jersey law requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. In other words, your own insurance coverage will be the primary insurer for your claim. However, that is not the only option available to the victims of hit and run accidents. In certain circumstances, and in coordination with the efforts of local law enforcement, our firm may be able to help locate the hit and run driver who caused the accident. In either instance, our firm will work with you closely to file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf to seek the damages you are rightfully owed.
Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, for Help
The top-rated car accident lawyers of Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, have a long track record of success with auto accident claims, including circumstances where the other driver left the scene of the accident. With our compassionate approach to client care coupled with aggressive litigation, the attorneys of our firm protect your rights as they seek maximum compensation for your claim.
We offer free consultations and don’t collect a fee unless your claim is successful. Get started on your journey towards justice. Contact us today.