If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision in New Jersey, the law requires that you stop and exchange information with the other driver. If there are serious injuries or significant property damage, drivers must also remain at the scene until the police arrive. The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are steep. What’s more, leaving the scene of a crash could also hurt a personal injury claim. If you have questions about a car accident claim, contact us at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
The cost of a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident varies depending on whether or not there were bodily injuries, or serious property damage. For accidents without injuries, leaving the scene could lead to a fine of between $400 and $600. A conviction could also lead to a jail term of as much as 30 days. What’s more, the financial cost could be more significant if the conviction resulted in six or more points on your license. You could face a surcharge of at least $450 in addition to the fine.
The penalties for leaving the scene of a serious accident are steeper. In these cases, you could face a fine of up to $5,000. If you are charged with a criminal offense for leaving the scene of an accident, that fine could increase to $15,000. A traffic violation conviction could lead to 180 days in jail, while a hit-and-run criminal offense brings as much as 5 years in prison.
How Leaving the Scene Hurts Your Injury Claim
If you leave the scene of a serious accident without speaking to the police, you could face more consequences than just the penalties of a traffic violation. You could also be putting your personal injury claim in jeopardy. If it appears you fled the scene of a crash, a jury could infer that you believed you were at fault and trying to escape justice. This could tip the scales against you—even if you were not responsible.
Remaining at the scene of the crash is crucial for another reason. When the police arrive, they take statements from everyone involved. If you are not there, the police will only get the other driver’s story. This might result in a report that incorrectly suggests you caused the crash. Leaving the scene of an accident could make the job of your New Jersey car accident attorney more difficult.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been involved in a car accident, remaining at the scene of the crash is only one of the important steps you should take to protect your rights. Once you have spoken with the police, you should seek out the guidance of a New Jersey car accident attorney to pursue your injury claim.
At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C., we have a long track record of success pursuing these cases and could help you recover the compensation you need. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more.