Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in New Hampshire?

Learn what kinds of car accidents need to be reported in New Hampshire, and what happens if you don't report the crash.

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.

When Must a Car Accident Be Reported in New Hampshire?

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.

Does the Driver Have to Make an Oral Accident Report?

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:

  • the driver knows or should know that he/she has just been involved in an accident that resulted in death, personal injury or damage to property
  • the driver was for any reason unable to give his/her personal information to the injured person or to the owner of the damaged property, and
  • a police officer did not come to the accident scene.

What If You Don’t Report a Reportable Accident in New Hampshire?

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.

What If I Am Unable to Report the Accident Immediately?

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

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.

Should I Report The Accident To My Automobile Insurance Company?

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.

After Reporting the Accident, What's Next?

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.

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