How to Get a Police Report After a Car Accident in North Carolina
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After a vehicle collision, it is understandable to feel anxious. You might have difficulty thinking clearly due to stress, or possibly the physical effects of shock if you sustained an injury. But it is critical that you notify law enforcement. Not only is this your legal responsibility, but it can have a big impact on your ability to file a claim for repairs to your vehicle or other vehicles involved in the crash.
The Law in North Carolina
Your legal requirements for notifying the police after an accident are defined in North Carolina Motor Vehicle Statute 20-166.1. But all of that technical jargon can be boiled down into a few simple rules that are easy for any driver to understand. In North Carolina, a driver must notify law enforcement when any of the following occur: The wreck occurs in a city that requires a report Any person is injured or killed as a result of the wreck Any one person suffers more than $1,000 in property damage When a report is required by your insurance company
Why File a Report for a Minor Collision?
If you are unsure, it is always best to err on the side of caution and file the report. In many cases, you will not have the ability to do a quick visual inspection of the vehicle to determine if the crash caused more than $1,000 in property damage. With the multitude of electronics and expensive features on today’s vehicles, it is unbelievably easy to cause in excess of $1,000 of damage with just a fender bender.
In addition, you may be experiencing a rush of adrenaline, which could be masking any pain from injuries sustained in the crash. It is far better to have the incident documented in case anyone needs medical care at a later time. And in many cases, your insurance company will require a police report to process any claim for vehicle repairs or medical treatment, even if the damage or injuries are minor.
North Carolina Accident Reports
The state requires law enforcement officers to file a written report within 24 hours of the accident. These reports are available from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles for a fee of $5. Search for a free copy of your accident report via the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s website.
Each report must include the following information but can also include more detail if the officer is so inclined:
- The cause of the crash.
- The conditions existing at the time of the crash.
- The people and the vehicles involved in the crash.
- Notation of any vehicles seized under statute 20-28.2 (This involves a vehicle that was being driven by a person with a revoked driver’s license for impaired driving.)
- Insurance information of any driver whom the law enforcement officer believes to have been at fault.
At the Rhine Law Firm, P.C., we understand that being involved in a wreck is a stressful event. We are ready to assist you in understanding and complying with your legal responsibilities as well as seeking compensation for injuries that were caused by another driver.
Insurance companies are in business to make money, which can come into conflict with paying an injured victim the full compensation that he or she deserves. Our Wilmington personal injury lawyers have several decades of experience defending the rights of injury victims and assisting them on their road to recovery.