Accidents involving minor injuries, such as fender benders or a slow-speed rear-end collision, are more common than those involving serious injuries. Minor accidents that result in no injuries or minimal property damage may appear to be so trivial that you don’t need to report them to the police or your insurance provider. However, depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may be required to report it to the police.
When to Report a Car Crash to the Police in NC
According to North Carolina law, you must call the police after a car wreck if:
- A person was injured or killed
- A person suffered more than $1,000 in property damage
If you’re not sure if your accident meets the above criteria, it is always better to err on the side of caution and file a report. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you may be feeling a rush of adrenaline, which could mask any pain resulting from the crash. Having a report filed can help you get the medical attention you need at a later date.
Once you receive the report, you may need help understanding it. Watch our video “Understanding The Crash Report Form” or view our DMV-349 Key for more information. This PDF will help explain the codes on your report.
Reporting an Accident to Your Insurance Company
People involved in minor collisions frequently try to avoid reporting them to their insurance companies for a variety of reasons. One common reason is that drivers believe that their insurance rates will significantly increase due to the incident. So, instead of involving the insurance companies, they try to work it out with the other driver.
However, insurance companies require that policyholders report all incidents, no matter how minor. Therefore, if you don’t report the accident to your insurance company right away, they may deny you coverage, which may cost you a lot more than a slight increase in your premium.
Does the Police File an Accident Report If They Come to the Scene of an Accident?
Law enforcement officers in North Carolina must investigate any reportable accident and file a written report within 24 hours of the crash. On the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website, you may learn how to receive your accident report. However, if law enforcement is unavailable or unable to file an accident report due to inclement weather or other reasons, you may need to file yourself.
If you must file an accident report on your own, make sure to include the following information:
- A description of the accident, including the location, people, and cars involved.
- Insurance information of all involved.
- Witness information, including their accounts of what happened and contact information.
- Details of any injuries or damages to vehicles or property.
- A diagram of the accident scene.
- Photos of any damage or video footage of the accident.
Need an Experienced Attorney to Assist in Your Claim?
Negotiations following a minor crash can quickly spiral out of control. Although the damage may appear minimal at first, the full extent of the damage may be discovered later on. Injuries can manifest themselves days or weeks after an accident. In these situations, we recommend consulting with a car accident lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident in North Carolina, the car wreck attorneys at Henson Fuerst are ready to assist you. Call us today at 919-781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form.