Typically, after any North Carolina motor vehicle collision, the responding law-enforcement agency will create a write-up for the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Crash reports serve a critical function – preserving basic information regarding the accident and those involved. The Department of Motor Vehicles refers to these reports as DMV Form 349. The responding officer is obligated to investigate the physical manner in which the collision took place. They must gather basic details regarding each driver or passenger, their vehicles, and their insurance coverage.
One key piece of information provided on the accident report is the identity of the insurance company insuring each driver and the policy number. After a car accident, the injured party can use this information to place the at-fault driver’s insurance company on notice of a bodily injury claim. This is usually the first step in ultimately demanding fair compensation from the insurance company for your personal injury damages.
For more serious automobile collisions, the crash report may also provide some reconstruction data. This data might include the length of tire impressions and the estimated speed at the point of contact. The crash report may also indicate that the officer took field notes. You can request those notes informally, or, if necessary, through a subpoena.
Many crash reports are now available online within days after the wreck. For example, reports for collisions in the City of Raleigh and crashes where the North Carolina State Highway Patrol responded. However, many other law enforcement agencies will not provide accident reports and will require a formal request to the DMV.
The Raleigh personal injury attorneys of Maginnis Howard can assist you in obtaining any North Carolina crash reports and with completing a full investigation into your collision and injuries. We handle all automobile accident claims on a contingency fee basis. For a free consultation with a licensed North Carolina attorney, please visit our contact page or call (919) 526-0450.