A police report is a vital piece of evidence about a car crash. If you suffer a crash in Charlotte, North Carolina, you are required to report the crash in most cases. Once you report the crash, law enforcement officers arrive on the scene and file a report. Your Charlotte car accident lawyer will later need this report as part of the evidence to support your claim.
The above scenario applies to most car accidents. However, there are crashes where the injuries and property damage are not notable enough. When that is the case, police officers may decline to come to the scene.
For instance, if a North Carolina accident involves property damage of less than $1,000, and no injury or death is involved, you are not required to report the accident. Even if you do report the crash, police officers may counter by saying that there is nothing notable to investigate. In such a case, it is natural to wonder whether or not you can file a claim to cover the vehicle-related damages?
Filing a Claim Without a Police Report
The good news is that you can actually file a claim for crash-related damages whether or not a police report for the crash has been filed. As noted above, you will typically be faced with such a scenario when you suffer a crash involving property damage of less than $1,000. So the claim you file will essentially be related to the property damage.
In the absence of a police report, you can rely on other types of evidence such as witness statements, vehicle damage assessments, and photos and videos from the crash scene. A police report is not admissible as evidence in a court of law.
So whether or not a police report for your crash exists, you will need to gather other relevant evidence to support your claim. Insurance companies also do not usually look for a police report when a crash doesn’t involve injury or death. So if your crash involves only vehicular damage, you should be able to negotiate a suitable amount with the insurer without the report.
Other pieces of evidence that may be used to support your claim include:
- Photos and videos showing the location of the crash, the visible damage to the vehicles, any skid marks on the road or damage to poles and other nearby objects.
- Vehicle repair or replacement estimates. You can take your vehicle to a mechanic approved by your insurer or an independent mechanic. The mechanic can then provide a detailed assessment of the extent of damage and an estimated dollar amount for the repair or replacement costs.
- Eyewitness statements. Statements from witnesses who saw the crash firsthand are incredibly useful in supporting a car crash claim. However, the witnesses you use to support your claim must be credible, honest, and trustworthy.
Filing a Police Report on Your Own
You also have the option of filing a police report on your own if the law enforcement officers do not arrive on the scene of the crash. Again, this is a requirement only when the crash involves property damage of at least $1,000, or injury/death, or both. If any of these conditions are met, you can file the report by simply visiting the nearest police station.
At the station, you will be required to provide the date, time, location and other details of the crash. Whether a police report is filed on the crash scene, or you file one by visiting the police station, you will be able to apply for copies online. For Charlotte, NC crashes, you can use this Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) accident report page to know how to obtain copies of police crash reports.
Why Hire a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a car crash in Charlotte, NC, you can seek damages from the at-fault driver. However, you will need to back up your claim with evidence in order to make sure your claim is successful.
Here at the Crockett Law Group, our lawyers work with you to negotiate with the insurance companies and strive to secure a fair amount of damages for your crash-related losses. Whether or not a police report exists, our lawyers will do their best to seek the maximum settlement. If an insurer acts in bad faith, we can also help you in filing a lawsuit and recovering damages through a court of law. Reach out to us now to discuss your Charlotte crash claim with our lawyers.