What is considered to be a reportable crash in North Carolina?
The DMV Accident Report Form or DMV-349 is used by all North Carolina law enforcement officers to report car-related collisions to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.
A reportable crash is defined by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-4.01(33b) and states that a reportable crash is any crash involving a motor vehicle that results in one or more of the following:
a. Death or injury of a human being.
b. Total property damage of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more, or property damage of any amount to a vehicle seized pursuant to N.C.G.S. 20-28.3.
Once an accident has been reported, the appropriate law enforcement agency as defined by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-166.1(e) must investigate it, whether at the scene of the accident or by subsequent investigation and interviews. The person who investigates must then make a written report of the accident within 24 hours of the accident. This report must contain information regarding financial responsibility of the vehicles involved in the accident, most notably the person who the officer identifies as the at-fault party. Additionally, this Accident Report must contain information regarding the (1) the cause of the crash; (2) the conditions existing at the time of the crash; (3) the persons and vehicles involved (except for the name and address of a minor child involved in school bus crashes); and (4) whether the vehicle has been seized and is subject to forfeiture under G.S. 20-28.2.
If the responding officer who creates the Accident Report is a North Carolina State Trooper, the officer is obligated to transmit the report to the North Carolina DMV. It is not uncommon for this process to be delayed a few days. However, if the responding officer is not a member of the State Highway Patrol, the officer is obligated to transmit the DMV-349 to the local law enforcement agency for the jurisdiction where the accident took place. From there, the local law enforcement agency will gather the reports and transmit them directly to the North Carolina DMV within ten days.