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What do you do after a car accident in North Carolina?

Most car accidents that don't involve an injury or the loss of a rare automobile become funny stories more than anything else. But some Tar Heels may be surprised to learn their responsibilities in even minor collisions, which could become an unexpected legal hassle.

Who should be my first call after an accident?

That depends on the consequences of the accident. Emergency services, usually through 911, should be the first call in the event of any injury or death. Otherwise, the driver's insurance agent should be one of the first calls. An agent or adjuster can counsel drivers on how to collect evidence or make further calls to inform authorities or begin claims.

When do I need to report a crash to the police?

It's always best to report an incident to law enforcement just to make sure it's done in case it was required. In general, North Carolina law requires the police to be involved in car accidents that involved any injury or damage above an estimated $1,000 in value. Insurers or some municipalities may require a report for any car collision.

How fast do authorities need to be informed?

State law requires officers to make a written report within 24 hours of a "reportable accident." This may be a state agency or a municipal police department. This report must have the details of an accident and the people and vehicles involved. A copy of this report may be requested.

Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?

It may not be immediately required, but any accident involving litigation may suggest legal representation. An attorney can help forward or defend against civil actions over damages, injuries or deaths in a car accident.

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