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“Do I Have to Report a Car Accident in North Carolina?”

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  August 19, 2020   |  

Do you have to report a car accident in North Carolina?

As North Carolina car accident lawyers, we often get asked, “Do I have to report my car accident?”

Good question.

Here’s the scenario:

You just had a wreck with another vehicle, and it was a small fender bender. Do you need to report this minor crash to authorities? North Carolina law does not require you file a police report for accidents without bodily injury or significant property damage.


It can be difficult to estimate all damages after a crash. An accident report can be important even if damages after an accident are settled without involving insurance companies.

When should an accident be reported in North Carolina?

Do You Have to Report an Accident in North Carolina - Riddle & Brantley (1)North Carolina law requires the driver of a vehicle involved in a serious accident to notify local law enforcement. You are required to report an accident in North Carolina 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. If you have an accident in the city 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 the police, highway patrol or sheriff’s office 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 must be 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:

  1. The cause of the accident
  2. Conditions at the time of the accident
  3. All people and vehicles involved in the crash
  4. Insurance information of the person at fault
  5. Whether the vehicle was seized or subject to forfeiture under North Carolina law

It is important to note that sometimes it is impossible for law enforcement to come to an accident because of bad weather or other circumstances. If law enforcement is not available and cannot file an accident report (for whatever reason), 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:

  1. A description of the accident, including all people and cars involved
  2. Insurance information for all involved
  3. Witness information including their detailed accounts of what happened
  4. Details of any injuries or damages to vehicles or property
  5. A diagram of the accident scene
  6. Photos of any damage and video statements

How long do I have to report a car accident in North Carolina?

When to Report an Accident in North Carolina - Riddle & BrantleyIt is 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.

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 be filed for any crash resulting in personal injury or death, or property damage totaling $1,000 or more.

In most cases, the responding law enforcement officer will complete the accident report. In certain situations, you may need to submit your own report.

An experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer can help you obtain an official accident report and navigate the post-crash process. We know the law in North Carolina and are experienced holding insurance companies and at-fault parties accountable.

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.