If you are in a motor vehicle accident in the state of North Carolina, the law does not require you to automatically call the police to the scene. If there is no bodily injury to either party and no significant damage to either vehicle, such as may be the case in a “fender bender”, you do not have to make a call to the authorities. However, when injury or death or at least $1,000 worth of property damage, the police must be called. If the accident is on private property, a call to the authorities may not be required. When in doubt, call the police department or state highway patrol to discuss what is needed.
The officer who comes to the scene will take statements and photos and fill out an accident report. In every single instance of a vehicular accident, both parties must contact their insurance companies. Insurance companies will typically utilize the crash report as a main tool in their investigation to determine liability.
What Information Is Collected?
The police officer investigating at the scene must file a report within 24 hours of the accident, according to North Carolina law. Things that will be included are:
- The date and time of the accident
- Make, model, license plate number of all vehicles involved
- Weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
- The city and county, as well as the nearest intersection
- Contact information of the parties involved in the accident including passengers
- The drivers’ insurance information
- An estimate of property damage
- Any citations issued as a result of the accident
- Statements from any witnesses
Who Was At Fault?
There is an entire section of the crash report for the officer to give a professional opinion as to how the accident occurred. Observations and conclusions are made. Was one party speeding? Was a traffic signal or law missed? There will be space on the report form to draw a diagram of the scene. The officer is a neutral party and will collect all evidence from the scene and witnesses to come to a conclusion of fault.
How Can I See My Report?
Drivers who have an accident in North Carolina can request a copy of the report. All crash reports must be filed with the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, and you can obtain a request form either online or in person. Simply follow the steps at the DMV’s website listed under Records and Reports. Once you have obtained a copy of the report, carefully check all the details. The details of this report may be vital to your insurance claim. If you see anything that you believe is an error, contact the Wayne Hardee Law office. We would be happy to discuss your concerns with you.