All auto accidents in North Carolina will generate an accident report from the local jurisdictional law enforcement agency in which the mishap occurred. The report is typically completed within 24-48 hours of the investigation after accident reconstruction specialists evaluate the scene and interview witnesses. These reports are not mailed out to those involved. The final compilation is then sent to the state Department of Public Safety for distribution to those who specifically request a copy. There is a nominal fee for obtaining the document, also known as a Crash Report, and it can serve as proof to support any subsequent accident injury claim.
Accident Report Contents
An official accident report often contains a diagram of the intersection and the location of each vehicle at the time all involved vehicles come to rest. The accident reconstruction officer is charged with determining how all involved vehicles arrived at the point where they stopped and what instigated movement off of the highway or into another vehicle. Sometimes this information will typically indicate driver errors or how contact forced each vehicle into its eventual spot. The report will also contain a narrative explanation that discusses the findings of the accident reconstruction officer after assessing statements from witnesses and other pertinent factors. This is vital information in court when a respondent party is denying liability, but it is not always proof of liability. That issue is determined in court ultimately.
How to Obtain the Report
Everyone who is involved in an auto accident needs a copy of the official report. The easiest method is to call the Department of Public Safety and request an official copy. Law enforcement agencies conduct the investigation and the state distributes the official results. Others may want to send the purchase fee in the mail to the same office. Those who live near the state office can actually go directly and purchase their copy. The report then becomes the official support document to establish an injury claim, and it can be presented to both the respondent insurance company or given to a car accident attorney to evaluate your potential for a successful claim.
Inspecting the Crash Report for Errors
It is very important to read the crash report thoroughly and comprehend what it is saying. While it is not the final determining factor in establishing liability for injuries, it does set the basics for what will transpire in adjudication. There are also situations where the investigating police officer fails to include passengers when they are not seriously injured. Any evidence that is inaccurate should be addressed. This issue may also be a good reason to discuss the case with an experienced car accident attorney who could possibly persuade the police to clarify the report. Law enforcement agencies are typically resistant to changing crash reports after the fact unless requested by a legal representative.
Passengers Need a Report
All drivers who were involved in a car accident understand that they need a copy of their crash report. However, passengers involved in the car accident need a copy as well, especially if they are seriously injured. There is usually no claim denial for personal negligence for passengers in an auto accident, which means they will be eligible for whole damages in their case. Details of the injury matter significantly when claims are being settled, and the report establishes certain facts such as the need for an ambulance and why.
Contact Our Law Firm
Anyone who needs assistance with obtaining an auto accident report should contact our office. We understand that injured victims often need help in getting their claims established. A professional car accident attorney can direct you through the process and even evaluate your case if necessary.