Obtaining a crash report after an accident is crucial as it provides an official record of the incident. This document can play a pivotal role in insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits related to the accident. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is tasked with recording such accidents on state highways and maintaining these reports. They ensure this valuable information is accessible to involved parties, insurance companies, and legal professionals, forming the backbone of any ensuing investigation or legal action.
Understanding Crash Reports
A crash report, also known as an accident report or police report, is a document prepared by the responding law enforcement officer at the scene of a vehicle accident. This report offers a comprehensive account of the incident, including details such as the date, time, and location of the accident, descriptions of the vehicles involved, personal information of the involved parties, and any witnessed accounts. Additionally, it contains an initial assessment of the damage, injuries sustained, and often, the investigating officer’s opinion on the cause and fault in the accident.
The importance of a crash report in personal injury cases cannot be overstated. It serves as a crucial piece of evidence, particularly when determining liability for the accident. Insurance companies rely heavily on these reports to assess claims and decide compensation. Additionally, in legal proceedings, the crash report can provide valuable information that supports a victim’s case or defends against liability claims. Understanding this document, its contents, and its implications is essential for anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Step-by-Step Process of Obtaining a North Carolina State Highway Patrol Crash Report
- Identifying the correct agency: It is important to identify the specific law enforcement agency involved in investigating and producing the crash report for your accident. Different agencies handle and document accidents within their jurisdiction, each agency maintains its own records, procedures, and protocols for producing crash reports. By correctly identifying the responsible agency, you ensure that you are contacting the right entity to request the crash report. If your accident occurred on a state highway, the report will likely be maintained by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. This guide pertains exclusively to obtaining crash reports from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
- Information needed to request a report: To request a North Carolina State Highway Patrol Crash Report, you will need some specific information about the accident. The information you need depends on the method of your request.
- Information needed for online requests: You may search online for North Carolina State Highway Patrol Crash Report by the following means:
- Report Number: A search by this method requires the specific crash report number assigned to the accident along with the last name of someone listed on the crash report.
- Name: A search by this method requires the last name of someone listed on the crash report along with the month and year of the accident.
- Driver’s License Number: A search by this method requires the driver’s license number of someone listed on the crash report along with the month and year of the accident.
- Vehicle Plate Number: A search by this method requires the license plate number of a vehicle listed on the crash report along with the month and year of the accident.
- Information needed for in person and mail requests: You will need all of the following information to obtain a North Carolina State Highway Patrol Crash Report through in person or mail: The full name of a driver listed on the crash report, the driver’s license number, the date of the accident, the county in which the accident occurred.
- Crash report fee: There is typically a fee associated with obtaining a crash report. However, online requests are fee-free and are not certified crash reports. As of August 2023, the fee for obtaining a certified crash report through in person and mail is $5.50. It is advisable to verify the current fees on the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles website or by contacting them directly.
- Ways to request: You may obtain North Carolina State Highway Patrol crash reports through various methods.
- Online: Crash reports can be obtained online at the N.C. Department of Public Safety’s Collision Report website. Generally, these Reports become available 5-7 business days following the accident. Crash reports obtained online are not certified.
- In Person: Crash reports can be obtained in person by completing the Crash Report Request Form (TR-67A) and present the form along with payment in person at any of the following designated locations:
Raleigh Central Services/License Plate Agency
(Go to the door that reads “Vehicle Registration”, Not “Driver License”)
4121 New Bern Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27616
Huntersville License Plate Agency
12101 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
Huntersville, NC 28078
Crash reports obtained in person are certified.
- Mail: Crash reports can be obtained by mail by completing the Crash Report Request Form (TR-67A) and mail the form along with payment (Please note cash is not accepted. Make checks payable to NCDMV) to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles at the following address:
Traffic Records Branch
Crash Reports Unit
3106 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697-3106
Generally, these Reports are processed 10 business days from the time of receipt of the request. Crash reports obtained by mail are certified.
Common Issues and How to Resolve Them
Navigating the process of obtaining a crash report often comes with challenges. One common issue involves identifying the appropriate law enforcement agency responsible for the report. As noted above, if your accident took place on a state highway, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol would be the custodian of the report. However, if it occurred within city limits, the local police department would typically hold the report.
Another frequently encountered hurdle is not having sufficient information to lodge a report request. The State Highway Patrol requires specific details about the accident to provide the correct report. If you’re missing any required information, you can attempt to contact the responding officer at your accident, as they may be able to supply the necessary data. Additionally, the waiting period for receiving the report can be frustrating, especially when handling insurance matters or preparing for a lawsuit. Proactively following up with the agency periodically can help ensure your request isn’t overlooked or unduly delayed.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
A personal injury attorney can be an invaluable asset when navigating the aftermath of an accident. These legal professionals have a deep understanding of the process and requirements to obtain a crash report and can assist in collecting this important document efficiently. Furthermore, they can accurately interpret the information contained within the report, helping to establish liability, and build a compelling case for compensation.
Let Bradford Law Assist You in the Aftermath of a Crash
Navigating the aftermath of an accident can be daunting. However, you don’t have to handle it alone. At Bradford Law our team is ready to assist you every step of the way, from acquiring the crash report to advocating for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let’s discuss how we can best support your needs during this challenging time.