If you get into a car accident in New Hampshire, do you know what your legal obligations are when it comes to reporting the crash? Although the rules aren't as stringent as those in other states, New Hampshire does require that car accidents be reported under certain circumstances, and drivers in the state will face penalties for failing to properly report an accident. Read on for the details.
New Hampshire has a fairly limited rule on reporting accidents. The driver of a vehicle that is involved in an accident does not need to report the crash of it was investigated by a police officer. So, only when a police officer did not come to the scene and did not investigate the accident does the driver need to report the incident. In that situation, the driver has a legal obligation to report the accident to the New Hampshire Department of Safety's Division of Motor Vehicles on an official state form.
The driver must report the accident in writing within 15 days, along with a statement of the circumstances if any person is injured or killed, or if damage to property is in excess of $1,000.
In general, there is no such requirement in New Hampshire. However, a driver must report a car accident immediately, to a police officer at the nearest police station, if:
Failure to report a reportable accident in New Hampshire is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,200.
What's more, a driver who fails to report a reportable accident in which death or personal injury occurred, or who gives information that he or she knew or had reason to believe is false, will have committed a class B felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in jail and a $4,000 fine.
If the driver is physically or mentally incapable of reporting a reportable accident within 15 days, and was not the owner of the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle -- or the owner's representative -- must "forthwith" report the accident after learning about it.
The law does not explain what will happen if the operator is physically incapable of making the report and was the owner of the vehicle. If you are the driver of a vehicle that was in an accident in New Hampshire and you were physically incapable of filing a written accident report within 15 days, it may be a good idea to speak with a New Hampshire lawyer.
For more information on the rules for reporting a car accident in New Hampshire, you can refer to New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated section 264:25. And to learn more about state laws that could affect a car accident case, check out our articles Car Accident Laws in New Hampshire and Car Insurance Requirements in New Hampshire.
No state requires its drivers to report a car accident to their car insurance company, but all standard automobile insurance contracts in every state require an insured driver to report any accident within a reasonable period of time (meaning, within a day or two). If you fail to comply with this contractual obligation, the insurer may deny coverage for the accident.
So, even if your car accident was minor and did not rise to the level of a “reportable accident” under New Hampshire law, you still want to let the insurance company know about the accident so you have coverage in case you need it.
Reporting a car accident may be just the first step for drivers. If you have been seriously injured, you should contact a qualified New Hampshire car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Learn more about Steps to Take After a Car Accident.