Reporting an Accident
Why is it so important to report an accident? It is so important that the failure to report an accident can result in high fines and even the suspension of your license for up to one year. An accident is not only between vehicles driving on the road, but also includes a collision between a moving vehicle and a parked vehicle. No matter how gentle the collision or how slow the vehicles were moving, the involved parties should never leave the scene.
Even the most minor accident which may be deemed “just a tap” can result in the issuance of a summons. No matter how minor the accident, it is best for all parties to exchange information, and, if necessary, contact the police for assistance. First, all vehicles involved should pull off the road to a safe area in order to protect you and other drivers on the road. Next, exchange insurance information. If an insurance claim has to be made, it is important to have the necessary insurance information, so the damaged vehicle can be repaired and the insurance companies can make the appropriate payments. Of course, in many cases the parties agree that the damage is minor and no repairs are necessary and, therefore, no claims have to be made. Further, it may be determined that the police do not need to be called in to make an accident report. However, all the parties involved should make that decision.
In the unlucky event of an accident where the vehicle that caused the accident leaves the scene, the process is quite serious. If the driver of the damaged vehicle or an eyewitness is able to take down the license plate number and/or a description of the vehicle, the person leaving the scene can assume that he/she will receive a summons in the mail or even a visit from the local police department. If that occurs, it is more than likely that two summonses will be issued. The first summons will be for failure to report an accident, and the second summons will be for leaving the scene of an accident. The latter summons is more serious and carries a mandatory loss of license for one year. The former carries a fine which can vary in amount, but will more than likely cost you over $150.00.
Moreover, this summons requires a mandatory court appearance. It is important to remember that the victim in the accident will also be noticed of the court date, and that person will probably be looking for restitution and/or payment for the damages to the vehicle and any other costs incurred.
So, if you are the cause of a motor vehicle accident don’t leave the scene! Sometimes people get nervous and think that if they leave the scene they don’t have to pay for any damages, but in reality, leaving the scene can be even more expensive. You could be risking court fines and the need of a taxi service for the upcoming year that your driving privileges are suspended.