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Understanding Your Accident Report

Robert Louis Armstrong Personal Injury Attorney July 21, 2017

If you’ve ever been in an accident, you might have had to read your accident report that follows. It can seem like a daunting document, especially if you’re not versed in the lingo of traffic reports.

You might have some questions about accident reports, and hopefully, we have some answers for you right here.

First, you must understand that the report really contains two documents. It is all contained in the NC DMV-349. It contains a code form which explains all of the numbers in each little box along with another form listing parties, description of wreck and diagram of the occurrence.

Who Is At-Fault? Is Anyone At-Fault?

In most cases, you’ll see on the accident report a listing of which driver was at fault, even if no one received a citation. Sometimes, though rarely, the officer cannot determine who caused the accident, so he or she will place the blame on both drivers – or none of the drivers.

If an officer does not determine fault, it can be bad news for both drivers. If you only have liability coverage on your vehicle, then your insurance company won’t cover the costs of the property damage.

Contributing factors

This part of the accident report will list which factors caused the crash. It can either be listed in the form of a number or a written explanation:

  • In many instances, if you have a “0”or nothing in the box that lists the contributing factors, then you didn’t do anything that caused the accident.

  • If there’s anything other than a “0” or nothing at all, then you likely played some part, if not all parts, in causing the crash.

  • Contributing factors help to determine liability if citations aren’t issued at the scene.

Where Are Citations Found in The Report?

The citations section of the accident report will list and describe any tickets — or citations — that were given in connection with the crash. This can be done with a citation code or a written explanation – or sometimes both. If you were given a citation but don’t believe you were at fault, you can fight the ticket in traffic court or consult with an experienced attorney to handle your case.

Is your name listed on the accident report?

The drivers of the vehicles involved in the crash will be listed high up on the accident report, but if you are a passenger, your name might not show up until much later in the report – or sometimes not at all.

This is one of many reasons why it’s so important to get a copy of the accident report as soon as it is available. Make sure all passengers in the vehicle are listed on the accident report. If anything on the report is incorrect, or if there are names missing, you’ll need to talk with the police department to try to get your accident report amended.

Accident reports are critical documents that insurance companies and personal injury attorneys use to build their cases. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident, contact the law office of Robert Armstrong today.