Can You File a Police Report Online in North Carolina After a Car Accident?

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A woman sits at her computer to file a police report online after a car accident.
North Carolina law dictates that a vehicle driver involved in an accident must notify local law enforcement if the collision causes injury to any individual or property damage of over $1,000.00. If the accident occurs on private property, the accident will not necessarily need to be reported. However, it may be beneficial to ensure the police are called or that a report is filed, no matter how minor the accident. With current technology now allowing many once in-person processes to be completed online, many drivers may wonder if they can file a police report online. We have compiled a guide detailing when you should contact the police and how to file a report in North Carolina after a car accident.

Online Police Report

Many police departments in North Carolina and across the U.S. now allow online reporting. This can be a valuable tool for many scenarios but will not be sufficient for every accident. Remember that North Carolina law requires that you call the police for any accident in which someone has been injured and/or property damage is estimated to be above $1000.00. Therefore, if someone has been injured in a car accident, you should call the police immediately so emergency responders can arrive at the scene. Sadly, law enforcement may not be available in some circumstances, such as bad weather, catastrophic events, gas shortages, etc. In such instances, you will need to file a report yourself. An experienced North Carolina accident attorney will be able to assist you with filing a report to the proper authorities.

Online police reporting may be used in North Carolina if the following conditions are met:

  •   There is no serious personal injury, property damage, or property loss;
  •   There is no possibility that the suspect is still at the scene or likely to return to the scene (for criminal cases);
  •   An immediate response is not needed.

How Long Do I Have To File a Car Accident Report in North Carolina?

It is important to report a collision as soon as possible. If you were recently involved in a car collision with no report, don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced car accident lawyers. We can help you get the collision reported to the proper authorities. Non-emergency crimes may be reported online. When it comes to car accident claims, you may use online police reporting in the following situations if your local police station supports online reporting:

  •   Damage to a vehicle(s), such as from vandalism
  •   Theft from vehicle
  •   Hit-and-runs (when damage is under $1,000)
  •   The accident occurred on private property
  •   Police did not arrive at the scene of the accident due to unforeseen circumstances

You will need to answer a short series of questions to determine if the crime can be accepted through the online reporting service. The department will review online submissions. Submissions will be able to be printed immediately after being submitted. Online reporting is beneficial for submissions where the presence of an officer is not required. This form of reporting can be convenient for individuals seeking to file an insurance claim who do not require police involvement. Online reporting is only for non-emergency situations where someone has not been injured and property damage is not significant.

North Carolina Police Report Online

When seeking to file a police report online, instead of calling the police department or 9-1-1 directly, follow the steps below:

  •   Make sure your occurrence can be reported online.
  •   File an insurance claim – a police report is not an insurance claim but a record of the accident.
  •   File within 24 hours if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Many insurers require that a police report is filed within 24 hours to have a claim paid.

How Long Should I Wait Before Making A Police Report?

When involved in a car accident, in most situations, unless the accident was minor, police should be called immediately. Police need to be called immediately to the scene of significant traffic accidents where:

  •   A party is injured or killed.
  •   A party fails to stop or exchange information.
  •   A driver appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  •   They are hazards or obstructions to the road or significant damage to surrounding structures.
  •   There is criminal or aggressive behavior between the parties.

For all other car accidents, parties should try to make a police report as soon as possible. If police reports are delayed, car insurers may reject claims.

What To Do If The Police Don’t Show?

Unfortunately, in some situations, police may not show up at the scene of the accident or may refuse to file a report, such as if no one was injured. You may go to a police station and file a report or file a report online if supported by your local police station. Remember, the more documentation you have, the more evidence you have to support your claim.

What If I Don’t Know If The Accident Has To Be Reported?

If no party has been injured and damage has been minimal, and you are unsure whether you need to file a police report, your best option may be to report the accident just in case. Though there is no penalty for filing a report unnecessarily, there may be negative repercussions with failing to file a report.

Why You Need To File a Police Report After a Car Accident

In addition to it being a legal requirement to file a report in certain situations, police reports may offer several other benefits, such as:

  •   Providing a written overview of the accident
  •   An official record of damage
  •   A method of holding at-fault drivers accountable
  •   Evidential support to other types of evidence or testimony
  •   Protections from scams, abuse, or false claims
  •   Protection from civil or criminal penalties for not filing a report

How Do I Get A Copy Of The Police Report From An Accident?

You may get a copy of a police report by calling the police station that responded to the accident, contacting your insurer to see if they have received a copy of the report and requesting a copy, or working with a car accident attorney and having your attorney obtain a copy of the report.

How Does An Auto Accident On Private Property Work?

If you crash a vehicle on your private property, such as hitting a mailbox or running into your garage or another car owned by you at your property, you will not need to file a report. However, suppose an outside party was involved, such as a delivery driver, a friend, or another family member. In that case, you may want to file a report, as you may be held liable as the property owner.

Car Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a car accident in which property damage or injuries have been sustained, you should contact a North Carolina car accident attorney immediately. The experienced attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters’, have decades of experience handling hit-and-run cases and personal injury car accident cases to ensure that victims get the just representation they deserve. Call us today at (800) 529-0804  or contact us online to discuss your case with an attorney by receiving a free and confidential case evaluation.