“Do I Have to Report a Car Accident in North Carolina?”
Do You Have to Report a Car Accident?
In North Carolina, the answer is it depends. If the accident does not cause any bodily injury or significant property damage, then North Carolina Law does not require you to report the accident. However, the law does mandate that if there is significant property damage or any form of bodily injury the appropriate authorities must be called.
Although it is not always a requirement to contact law enforcement, the auto accident attorneys at Riddle and Brantley recommend you always call the police after an accident to strengthen your potential auto accident claim.
“When Am I Required to Report a Car Accident in North Carolina?”
Under North Carolina law, the driver of a vehicle involved in a serious accident must notify local law enforcement. Specifically, the law in North Carolina requires you to report an accident if a crash causes injury or death to any person or property damage of at least $1,000.
If the accident occurs on private property, the accident does not necessarily have to be reported. On the other hand, if you were in an accident within city limits you should call the city’s police department. Crashes outside the city limits should be handled by the highway patrol or sheriff’s department.
Remember, if you dial 911, your emergency will be sent to the proper authorities.
“Will Law Enforcement File an Accident Report if I Call Them?”
In North Carolina, the law requires all law enforcement to investigate any reportable accident and submit a written report within 24 hours of the accident.
All accident reports are filed with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. You can find out how to obtain your accident report on the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website.
The accident report should include:
- The cause of the accident
- A description of how the accident occurred
- Conditions at the time of the accident
- All people, vehicles, and parties involved in the crash
- Insurance information of the at-fault party
- An estimate of the property damage
- All relevant parties including drivers or the vehicles and guest passengers
- Any tickets issued stemming from the accident.
Even though it is a requirement to call the police after an accident, in some circumstances the authorities may not be able to come. Unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather may prevent law enforcement from coming to the scene. Recently, the 2021 gas shortage prevented officers from getting out to accidents. If law enforcement is not available, you may need to file an accident report yourself. In these cases, an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer can help you file a report to the proper authorities.
If you have to file an accident report yourself, be sure to include:
- A description of the accident, including all people and cars involved
- Insurance information for all involved
- Witness information including their detailed accounts of what happened
- Details of any injuries or damages to vehicles or property
- A diagram of the accident scene
- Photos of any damage and video statements
It is important to note that even if the accident was not reported the day it happened, you may still be able to file a report later. Furthermore, if the police are not called right away make sure you get all identifying information about the driver that cause the accident.
Information to obtain about the other driver includes:
- The driver’s full name and address
- Pictures of the property damage
- The license plate number of the defendant’s vehicle
- Any witness information
- The defendant driver’s insurance information.
“How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Report in North Carolina?”
It’s important to report an accident as soon as possible. Many insurance companies have a 24-hour accident claim hotline and mobile apps available. Most insurance companies require policyholders to make claims within a certain time after the accident occurs. These limits are specific to each policy. We recommend to avoid any issues with your insurance company that you call law enforcement immediately after an accident.
If you were recently involved in an accident with no report, please contact one of our experienced attorneys today. We can help you get the accident reported to the proper authorities.
The Short Version: “Do I Have to Report a Car Accident in North Carolina?”
If you’ve been involved in a car, truck or other motor vehicle accident in North Carolina, the law requires an accident report to be filed for any crash resulting in personal injury or death, or property damage totaling $1,000 or more.
The accident report is where most insurance companies start their investigation of an accident. If no report is done it could slow down the property damage and bodily injury portions of your claim. In some instances, no report can lead to the insurance company denying your claim.
For a FREE consultation with an NC car accident lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the short form below.
We will evaluate your claim, advise you on your best legal options, and if you decide to hire us, fight aggressively for your right to justice and compensation under the law.
“I would recommend them to anyone. They fought hard for me.”
–Christine W., Riddle & Brantley client
Call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your car accident claim.
You deserve justice and you may be entitled to compensation.
Justice Counts for ALL North Carolinians and we would love to help however we can.