Why is it Important to File a Police Report After a Car Accident? 

After being involved in a North Carolina car accident, you might be wondering if you are supposed to file a report with the police. Even those involved in relatively minor collisions can benefit from filing a report. In fact, depending on the circumstances under which your accident occurred, you may be required to file an accident report with the police. In addition to complying with the law, a police report can help you protect your rights and make it easier to deal with the aftermath of a car accident. Call our experienced Outer Banks car accident attorneys to schedule your free consultation today.  

What Are the Benefits of Filing a Police Report?

When you file a police report, it creates a formal record of your accident. It provides an objective and unbiased account of the event and contains important details, like the location, time, dates, names of the involved parties, whether anyone was issued a traffic citation and a description of how the collision occurred. These details can be invaluable in your dealings with the insurance company, during legal proceedings, or any other disputes relating to the accident. 

What Should Be Included in the Police Report?

Police reports contain a host of useful details. In addition to the information listed above, police crash reports also include information on any injuries, medical treatment administered at the scene, the other driver’s contact information, current traffic and weather conditions, statements from everyone involved in the accident, and statements from any eyewitnesses. The police report will also include a brief narrative about what happened as well as a sketch of where the cars were when the crash happened and how they were found when the responding officer arrived on the scene.  

Can the Police Report Help Me Prove Fault?

Proving that the other driver was at fault for the car accident is an integral part of an Outer Banks car accident claim. In North Carolina, if you contribute even 1% to your own accident and injuries, you will be barred from pursuing damages. It is important to watch what you say at the scene of the accident because even a simple “I’m sorry” could be interpreted as you taking the blame for the crash, which will be documented in the report. It is equally important to look over your police accident report and ensure there are no mistakes. If you find an error, contact the officer who drafted the report as soon as possible so it can be addressed. 

When Am I Required to File an Accident Report?

It is always a good idea to request that law enforcement respond to the scene of the accident so they can conduct an investigation and make their report. In North Carolina, you are legally obligated to report any motor vehicle accident that causes death, injury, or more than $1,000 in property damage. When you file a police report in these situations, you aren’t just obeying the law, you are also complying with state mandates. Failing to do so could lead to consequences, such as fines and penalties.  

How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Police Report?

The responding officer will not give you a copy of your accident report right there at the scene. Instead, will have to visit the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles website and request a copy by filling out Crash Report Request Form TR-67A. Each certified copy costs $5.50 and requires a valid form of ID. If you are having trouble getting a copy of your police report, your Outer Banks personal injury attorney can help. 

Practicing Personal Injury Law Since 1985

If you were involved in a car accident through no fault of your own, the experienced Outer Banks car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. We have the skills and resources to investigate your accident, gather relevant evidence, oversee settlement negotiations, and defend your rights in court. Our 70 combined years of experience handling car accident cases make it possible for us to ensure that our clients receive maximum compensation for their damages, such as the $200,000 settlement we achieved for a client who was badly injured when he was hit by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. 

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your potential car accident claim, schedule a free consultation by calling (833) 997-1774. You can also fill out our online contact form. We serve clients throughout the Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Kill Devil Hills regions.