Should I Call the Police After My Auto Accident?

Police car arriving at the scene of an auto accident

You should always call law enforcement if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident. The agency or department you should call will depend on the accident location. If the accident occurred in a city or town, you would contact the local police department. For an accident in a rural area, you should contact the North Carolina Highway Patrol or county sheriff’s department.

What Will Police Do After a Car Accident?

Contacting law enforcement is one of the best things you can do after an auto accident because they can help you by:

  • Calling for emergency medical services, such as ambulances, air medical transport flights, and fire and rescue vehicles
  • Preparing a North Carolina accident report
  • Providing driver exchange information required by North Carolina law
  • Calling for tow trucks and accident clean-up services
  • Directing traffic safely around the accident scene
  • Arranging to move your vehicle, if needed, to protect it against further damage and prevent it from blocking traffic

Do You Have to Call Police After a Minor Car Accident in NC?

If you are involved in a minor car accident in North Carolina, the law does not require you to call the police. State law only requires law enforcement to be called for a reportable accident, which involves:

  • Injury
  • Death
  • Property damage of at least $1,000
  • Property damage to a vehicle seized from someone charged with an impaired driving offense

How Long Do You Have to Report an Accident in NC?

North Carolina does not require you to report a minor accident. But if you were involved in a reportable accident, you must “immediately, by the quickest means of communication, notify the appropriate authority.”       

What Happens If You Don’t Call the Police After an Accident?

If you don’t call the police after a reportable accident in North Carolina, you may have to pay a fine. More importantly, the police can only prepare a crash report if they are called to the accident scene. The lack of a police report will make it harder to get the insurance money to repair or replace your vehicle.

If you were injured in the accident, you might need to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your physical and mental pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. A personal injury claim requires evidence, and a police report is an excellent place to start.

What Is Included in a Police Report?

The accident report will contain the following information, which can help if you file an insurance claim or lawsuit:

  • Name, address, phone number, and driver’s license number for vehicle drivers and owners
  • Year, make, model, and registration number for vehicles
  • Name and policy number of insurance carriers
  • A description of each driver’s version of the accident
  • The name, address, phone number, and statements from any witnesses

Where Can You Get a Copy of Your Police Report?

All North Carolina law enforcement agencies forward copies of their crash reports to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). You can get a copy by:

  • Calling (919) 861-3098
  • Visiting the DMV Headquarters
  • Mailing a TR-67A form

Contact the Experienced Car Accident Attorneys at Kreger Brodish LLP

If you were hurt in an auto accident that was someone else’s fault, contact Kreger Brodish LLP today for a free consultation to discuss your claim. Our Durham personal injury lawyers will explain what to do after a car accident and the steps we can take to handle your lawsuit. We are ready to do whatever we can to pursue a successful outcome that exceeds your expectations.