“Do I Need a Car Accident Police Report in North Carolina?”

June 12, 2019 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
“Do I Need a Car Accident Police Report in North Carolina?”

Can I File a Car Accident Injury Claim Without a Police Report?

You can file a car accident injury claim without a police report, but in most cases it will provide important evidence.

Yes, but the official accident report (often called a “police report”) can be critical in proving fault and recovering compensation for your injuries.

After a car accident in North Carolina, the first things you should do are to get emergency medical care for anyone who needs it and to call the police.

The police report often provides valuable evidence for any car insurance claim and/or lawsuit you may file. It contains important information about all parties involved in the accident as well as the officer’s findings at the scene.

However, you can still file (and win) a car accident lawsuit even if you do not get a police report.

You can also pursue a personal injury claim even if the accident report contains incorrect information.  Police are trained to obtain information and document evidence, but their determination of who is responsible for a collision is not necessarily accurate.

The attorneys at Riddle & Brantley believe that Justice Counts. That is why we investigate all car accident cases beyond the police accident report in order to discover what really happened and who is truly at fault. The police report can be helpful to your case, but it is not essential.  There can be witnesses or videos that officers were not aware of when they completed their investigation.  Or there can be physical evidence that officers did not notice or interpret correctly.

However, if an officer did not obtain this information, you may need a lawyer to help secure and document the important information.  Videos are erased, and witnesses forget thing.  An attorney can help to record and document evidence before it is spoliated or disappears.

For a FREE consultation with an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the convenient form below.

The consultation is free and there are no attorney fees unless we win your case. Call 1-800-525-7111 and let’s review your claim.

Contact us today for a FREE, no obligation case review.

What is a Car Accident Police Report?

In most situations, the North Carolina law enforcement officer who responds to a car crash must fill out a car accident report. The standard form used by state, county, municipal law enforcement agencies is known as DMV-349, which is a public record.

The police report can provide some important details that can assist with your attorney’s independent investigation of the crash.

Reports commonly include:

  • Names, driver’s license numbers and contact information for each driver
  • Suspected alcohol or drug impairment and whether any tests were conducted
  • Information about each vehicle, including the year, make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Information about each vehicle’s owner and insurance coverage
  • In truck accident cases, information about commercial vehicles, such as the carrier’s U.S. DOT and ICC numbers
  • Names and seating positions of other occupants of the vehicles
  • Details about all car accident injuries and where victims went for treatment
  • The officer’s narrative about how the accident happened
  • A diagram of the accident, according to the officer
  • The officer’s description of the road and weather conditions at the time of the crash
  • Names and contact information of potential witnesses, especially eyewitnesses
  • Measurements of skid or brake marks
  • Measurements of the resting place of vehicles
  • Evidence of paint transfer or other evidence of points of impact
The police report is a starting point - our car accident lawyers will review all available evidence in order to prove liability in your case.

In the aftermath of a car accident, you can request a police report from law enforcement or an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer can help you obtain it.

For a FREE, no-obligation consultation with an experienced car accident attorney, please call 1-800-525-7111.

There are no upfront costs and no attorney fees unless we win your case and recover compensation for you.

Call 1-800-525-7111 and let’s review your claim.

Contact us today for a FREE, no obligation case review.

“Do I Need to File a Police Report for a Car Accident?”

Although a police report is often useful, it is not a requirement for every car crash in North Carolina.

North Carolina law requires officers to complete a report if any of the following apply to the accident:

  • The accident caused a fatality
  • The accident caused a non-fatal personal injury
  • At least $1,000 in property damage resulted from the accident
  • The accident caused property damage to a vehicle that was seized
  • A vehicle was seized and subject to forfeiture

This essentially means that an officer must submit an accident report in any crash other than one that causes only minor property damage and no injuries. However, it is a good idea to get a police report even for a minor crash in case “late-onset” car accident injuries develop later.

It is unfortunately common for drivers to admit to having caused a collision immediately after an accident but then change their story later. They talk to friends or to their insurance company and then change their story. This is much harder to do if they have admitted fault to a sworn law enforcement officer.

How Does a Police Report Affect a Car Accident Claim?

Not only can a police report provide important leads for an independent investigation of a crash, but the report itself may also be used as evidence in a car accident lawsuit. The investigating officer may also give testimony about the investigation. The report can help refresh his memory later when he is deposed or testifies in court.

However, the officer does not have the final say on who has civil liability for a car accident. The police report is the responding officer’s opinion of the crash — not necessarily what actually happened. Witnesses of the accident are vital to prove fault.

At Riddle & Brantley, we have investigators on staff who can investigate a car accident, gather evidence, interview potential witnesses, and work with law enforcement to prove liability and strengthen your case.

For a FREE consultation with a North Carolina car accident lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111. There is no obligation and we don’t get paid unless you do. If we don’t recover compensation for you, you won’t pay any attorney fees.

Contact us today for a FREE, no obligation case review.

“How Do I Get a Police Report After an Accident?”

You can request a copy of the police accident report for your car crash online from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. If the State Highway Patrol wrote the report, you can request a copy from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Some North Carolina cities, towns, counties and other municipal law enforcement agencies also make reports available online, by phone or in person.

The attorneys at Riddle & Brantley can also help you obtain an accident report.

“If There is No Police Report, Can I Still File an Injury Claim?”

In certain circumstances, you might not have a police report for your car crash. For example, if the accident happened on private property or did not meet the requirement stated above, the responding offer may not file a report. Additionally, in severe weather emergencies, the police may be unable to respond to minor accidents.

However, while a police report may be useful in an insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit, it is not an absolute requirement for success.

Many other types of evidence may play a decisive role in your car accident injury claim. Examples of these kinds of evidence include:

  • Photos of the accident scene
  • The damaged vehicles
  • Statements from the drivers involved and eyewitnesses
  • Skid marks and other physical evidence from the accident scene
  • Information from the vehicle’s data recorder, if applicable
  • Cell phone records that indicate a driver was texting or talking at the time
  • Video from a nearby security camera that recorded the crash
  • A professional reconstruction of the accident
  • Testimony by experts in vehicle design or manufacture

Talk with a Car Accident Attorney Today

A car accident claim calls for immediate action. Call our North Carolina car accident and truck accident lawyers today at 1-800-525-7111 for a FREE consultation. Since 2000 alone, we've recovered more than $665 million in total compensation for our valued clients (see disclaimer below). We would love to help you however we can.

We have convenient offices across North Carolina and can even come to you if you prefer. Free consultations are also available by phone, email, text, and video conference.

“I would not have won my case without the help from my team at Riddle & Brantley.”

Jonathan S., Riddle & Brantley client

Call 1-800-525-7111 and let’s review your claim.

Justice Counts.

*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.