Do I Have to Report My Car Accident to the Police in North Carolina?

Charlotte Injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “Should I give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company?”


If you have been involved in a motor vehicle crash in North Carolina, you might wonder, “Do I have to report my accident to the police?” It is true that North Carolina law does not require drivers to report all car accidents to law enforcement.

car-accident-police-report-Charlotte-Mooresville-Monroe-Car-Accident-attorney-300x225In other words, you may not need to report a minor accident such as a fender-bender that involves insignificant property damage when no one is hurt. However, it can be difficult to estimate the property damage at the scene of your car crash.

Moreover, it is nearly impossible to know for sure if you were injured. The symptoms of your injury may not be immediately apparent after the collision.

For this reason, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable car accident attorney in North Carolina to know if you are required to report your accident to the police or not.


When am I Required to Report a Car Accident in North Carolina?

Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 20-166.1, you are legally required to report a car crash to the appropriate law enforcement agency when the accident involves any of the following:


● Bodily injury

● Death

● At least $1,000 in property damage


The only exception to the reporting requirement is when a car crash occurs on private property such as a parking lot. If your car accident took place in Charlotte or any other city, you should contact the local police department. If your crash occurred outside the city limits, you must notify the highway patrol. However, when you call 911, your report will be redirected to the appropriate agency, so you do not have to worry about it.


Do I Need an Accident Report?

Absolutely. An accident report can be an important piece of evidence when seeking compensation following a North Carolina car crash. After you report your accident to law enforcement, the appropriate police department must investigate your crash and prepare a written accident report within 24 hours.

Once the police officer writes an accident report, it will be submitted to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Accident reports contain the following information:


● The names of the people involved in the accident;

● The model, make, and license plates of the vehicles involved;

● The conditions at the time of the collision;

● The cause of the crash;

● The at-fault party’s insurance information; and

● Information regarding the seizure or forfeiture of any vehicles at the accident scene, if applicable.


If you notified a local police department of your accident, the police might not show up due to bad weather conditions, traffic congestion, or simply because no officers are available to come to the scene of your crash.

If the police do not arrive at the scene of your accident, you will have to file an accident report yourself. In that situation, it is highly advised to contact a knowledgeable attorney to help you prepare and file a report correctly.

Your attorney will also help you with reporting your car accident to your insurance company and getting the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact our car accident attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, if you have been involved in a vehicle crash in Charlotte, Mooresville, Monroe or the surrounding area. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video, phone or in-person consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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