Leaving the Scene of an Injury Accident (NJSA 39:4-129)

Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in an injury or death is one of the most serious of all New Jersey traffic-related offenses. A first offense is punishable by up to 180 days’ imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, and a one-year suspension of your license.

What the Law Says About Leaving an Accident Resulting in Injury or Death: NJSA 39:4-129(a)

Section 39:4-129(a) of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated says that “the driver of any vehicle, knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person shall immediately stop the vehicle” and “shall give his name and address and exhibit his operator’s license and registration certificate of his vehicle to the person injured or whose vehicle or property was damaged and to any police officer or witness of the accident.” If no one is in a condition to receive this information, the driver shall report the accident to the nearest local, county, or state police department.

In this respect, a driver’s duty after an injury accident is similar to his duty after a non-injury accident, but there are also additional steps he must take. NJSA 39:4-129(c) says that a driver must “render to a person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying of that person to a hospital or a physician for medical or surgical treatment, if it is apparent that the treatment is necessary or is requested by the injured person.”

Ignorance Is Not a Defense

It is not a defense to NJSA 39:4-129(a) that a driver didn’t know that an injury was caused as long as he was aware of the accident. Additionally, it will be inferred that a driver who gets in an accident resulting in injury or death or more than $250 in damage to any vehicle or property is aware of the accident.

Fines and Penalties

A person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to leaving an injury accident will be fined between $2,500 and $5,000, imprisoned for 180 days, or both. A driver will not be imprisoned if he was the only one injured in the accident.

A person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death will also lose his license for one year for a first offense. If found guilty of a second offense, you will permanently lose your right to drive in New Jersey!

MVC and Insurance Points

A driver who pleads guilty to or is convicted of leaving the scene of an injury accident will get eight points added to his New Jersey driving record. This is the greatest number of points that can be added for any one offense. Accumulating 12 or more points on your driving record will result in your license being suspended, and getting six or more points in a three-year period will result in a fine of $150, plus $25 for each point above six. You will also be assessed eight “insurance eligibility points,” which will result in a much higher premium, and may make most insurance companies unwilling to cover you.

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