How to Read a NC Crash Report (DMV-349)
You've been in a car accident, and you called the police to respond to the scene. In turn, the responding officer filled out an accident report that describes the incident known as North Carolina Crash Report Form DMV-349. As you read the report, you find abbreviations that don't seem to make sense. These abbreviations are a form of shorthand that come with a key, or explanation, of each one. The key itself is a little confusing as it's laid out differently from the actual crash report form. Here's how to understand the form and what you need to look for.
Check the Identifying Information
Go over the entries for driver names and vehicles to make sure the police officer correctly noted who was driving each vehicle if there are two or more cars involved in the collision. Also, check personal information for inaccuracies such as incorrect vehicle color, license plate number, or make and model.
Determining Who's at Fault
Go to the bottom of the second page to determine if the officer wrote a citation to you or the other driver. It's important to know who received a citation for the incident for the purpose of reporting to the insurance companies. However, citations are not given in all wrecks. If no citations are given, you can also learn who may be at fault by looking at the abbreviations in boxes 12 through 19. These are known as the contributing circumstances that led to the accident. Boxes 12 and 13 are for accidents where road conditions played a role in the incident while 14 through 16 are for driver one and 17 to 19 are for the second driver. Read the number in each box and check it against the key to determine what the officer pointed to as causing the crash.
How to Determine if Someone was Intoxicated
Go back to the box with the identifying information in the upper portion of the form. Look at the bottom of the box for the number 37 titled "Alcohol/Drugs Suspected." If the police officer checked the box, look to line 38 to see if there was a test performed and if so, look at line 39 to learn the results of the test.
Understanding Section 20
This section deals with commercial vehicles of all types in the event one is involved in the accident. Information collected in this section includes the US DOT#, the ICC#, how many axles the vehicle had, state licensing, and the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Any other relevant information is entered into this section as well.
This section starts at box 49 towards the bottom of the page. Each line creates the narrative as to how the accident happened. The officer enters information into the report that includes who initiated the accident, how they reacted, if there was a non-motorist involved and where they were located, and the most harmful event that happened during the accident. Also entered into this section is a diagram of the accident and the narrative as the officer received it from witnesses.
North Carolina Form DMV-349 is a comprehensive document that can be of invaluable assistance when making a claim for damages. It's worth learning how to read the form in the event an amendment is necessary or to understand what happened during the accident.
Greenville, NC Auto Accident Attorneys
I’m Brian Ricci, a Car Accident Lawyer serving Greenville, NC and the surrounding areas. If you have suffered a personal injury due to a car accident, please call me anytime at (252) 752-7785 or (888) 484-6881 for free, advice.
I am a North Carolina member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. The forum includes top trial lawyers in the United States who have obtained verdicts and settlements in excess of 1 Million Dollars.
Founder of the leading personal injury website: www.riccilawnc.com/Personal-Injury-Lawyer.