Getting North Carolina Auto Accident Reports: A Conundrum

You would think, what with this being ‘Murica, land of transparent government and freedom and all of that, getting your accident report would be pretty easy.

It ain’t.

If you’re in an accident, you would think all you have to do is call the law enforcement agency that investigated it and ask them nicely and badda bing badda boom, you get it. But that doesn’t always happen. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it does. But there’s a spectrum of difficulty you’ll face. Some agencies require you to come in person, with ID. Some require you to go to a website and find it. Some require you to call this person, who may or may not respond to your voice mail. It’s all over the place.

As an attorney, I have only a slightly better chance of getting that report, oddly enough. I do have access to this antiquated database run by the DMV called “crashweb” (which is hilarious when you think about it) and most of the time I can get the reports I need to better represent my clients. But that’s a) totally dependent on the investigating agency doing the report AND getting it sent to DMV (neither of which are guaranteed) AND b) totally dependent on that site working, too (which is definitely not guaranteed).

The great irony of this is that right after your accident, I bet you got about 20 copies of your accident report in the mail. And they were sent to you by attorneys that don’t represent you or anyone else in the accident, but they want to! Those are direct mail solicitations which are (currently) legal in NC. The wacky bit about this is those law offices buy this data from companies that send little moles into the law enforcement agencies that give YOU, the victim, SO MUCH grief when you try to get your own report, and these little rabbits are given access to scan ALL of these reports, which are then sold to law offices that do direct mail solicitations.

Why is this frustrating? On the one hand, you, the victim, and me, the attorney representing the victim, have a harder time getting accident reports than the people who don’t have ANYTHING to do with the accident AT ALL, but are just sending advertisements! Should it be that way? I wouldn’t think so. Will it continue to be that way? I don’t know for sure. I don’t have a problem in general with direct mail advertisements, but I do have a problem with capitalism giving big firms better access to MY CLIENT’S information than I have.

Like with many aspects of auto accidents, it gets complicated. All the more reason you should call an attorney. Call me at 919-929-2992.

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Jeffrey Allen Howard, Attorney at Law, PLLC
1829 E. Franklin St. - Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(P) 919-929-2992
(F) 919-636-4779

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