New drivers learn that if they are ever in a car accident, they will need to share their name, driver’s license, insurance details, and vehicle registration information with the other drivers involved in the collision. After most car accidents, the police will compile the information about how a crash occurred and who was involved into an accident report.
While the insurance adjuster reviewing a car accident claim is not bound by the police report, they will usually give substantial weight to the police report when deciding whether to accept the claim.
If you are able after being in a car accident, you should:
- Report the car accident by calling 911
- Cooperate with responding law enforcement officers
- Ask the police how and when you can get a copy of their accident report
- Get a copy of the report as soon as possible.
If you have been injured in a serious car accident and someone else was at fault, you should seek guidance from an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer. You may have a right to recover compensation. When you speak to a personal injury lawyer at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks about your injury claim, we can obtain the police report and discuss the options available to you.
Call the Police to Report a Car Accident
North Carolina law requires drivers to summon local police or the Highway Patrol to the scene of a car accident when they are involved in any reportable crash. A reportable crash is a motor vehicle accident that causes:
- A person’s injury or death
- $1,000 or more in property damage
- Any damage to a vehicle the police have seized.
It is best to report to police any collision with another vehicle that causes damage.
A law enforcement officer who responds to an accident scene will complete and file Crash Report Form DMV-349. This report is forwarded to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days.
What Information Is In a North Carolina Police Report, and Who Can Use It?
When completed, a car accident report provides a wealth of information that may be used to settle insurance claims involving car accident cases. A North Carolina car accident report contains information that police have gathered about:
- Drivers involved in the crash (names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, injury status)
- Passengers, pedestrians, cyclists involved in the crash (names, addresses, injury status)
- Whether alcohol or drug use was suspected
- Whether a ticket was issued or charges were filed
- The officer’s opinion about who was at fault
- Vehicles involved in the accident
- Accident location
- Road conditions
- Weather conditions and visibility
- Vehicles and their damage
- Whether emergency vehicles responded to the accident
- Estimates of vehicle speed at the time of the accident
- The sequence of events involved in the crash
- Sketched diagram of the accident and accident scene
- Narrative description of the car accident and the officer’s opinion as to its cause.
Once an auto accident report has been filed, it is made available to individuals impacted by the accident and their lawyers.
Drivers involved in the accident should review the police report so they can dispute any inaccuracies.
If Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks handles your car accident case, we will use the police report and information we gather from speaking with you and others involved to develop your injury claim. Our North Carolina car accident lawyers can also help you seek to have an inaccurate report amended. Any insurance company that has received a claim pertaining to an auto accident will obtain the police report, as well.
If a personal injury attorney takes a car accident to court, the attorney may call the police officer or trooper who completed the police accident report to testify about his investigation findings. However, the police report itself is not usually admissible into evidence without substantial redactions.
Under federal and state law, certain personal information in an accident report is not made public, including Social Security numbers, photos, and medical information. However, 14 exceptions to the law make the information on accident reports available to insurance companies, lawyers, judges, private investigators, and others. These exceptions are listed on the form required to obtain an accident report from the DMV.
How To Get a Police Report After an Accident in North Carolina
State law specifies that crash reports made by law enforcement officers after motor vehicle accidents are public records and are open to inspection by the general public at all reasonable times.
You may obtain a North Carolina police report from the DMV in person, by mail, or on the North Carolina DMV website. You must complete a Crash Report Request Form (TR-67A) and pay $5.50 if you need a certified copy.
To get a crash report in person, present the request form, a valid ID, and the fee to:
- Raleigh Central Services/License Plate Agency, 4121 New Bern Ave., Raleigh
- Huntersville License Plate Agency, 12101 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road, Huntersville, NC.
You can get up to five copies in person. Requests for more must be completed by mail.
To get a crash report by mail, send your completed TR-67A form and fee to:
Traffic Records Branch
Crash Reports Unit
3106 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697-3106
Allow ten business days from when DMV receives a mailed request for it to be processed.
You may also contact your local police if the police department responded to your accident.
The Raleigh Police Department has a specific website for obtaining crash reports after motor vehicle accidents. In Cary, the second-largest city in Wake County, the police department’s website re-directs to the DMV web page with the information we have provided above.
Chapel Hill Police have a website where crash reports can be obtained.
The N.C. Highway Patrol refers citizens to the DMV.
Contact Our North Carolina Car Accident Attorneys for Help
You should get a copy of the police crash report as soon as it is available. Serious injuries can produce significant medical bills, including future medical costs. You should speak to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney if you were injured in a car accident that someone else caused. You may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, future medical expenses, pain and emotional suffering, and more.
If you have severe injuries, the car accident attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks can pursue a personal injury claim on your behalf while you focus on healing. Contact a friendly and compassionate car accident attorney today at 919-661-9000 to discuss your car accident claim during a free consultation. Our offices are in Raleigh, which is in the geographical center of the state, making it easier for us to handle cases all over North Carolina. Raleigh is also where the main DMV office is located.