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Am I required to report a bike accident to the police?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2024 | Personal Injury

Taking a refreshing bike ride through North Carolina’s scenic parks or commuting to work on two wheels can be a fantastic way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately, even as a very cautious cyclist, you can find yourself in an accident. If that happens, one of the first questions you might ask yourself is: Do I need to call the police?

Every legal case is unique, so the answer will depend on your specific circumstances. Cyclists are legally considered “vehicles” in Tar Heel State, and accidents involving them fall under the state’s accident reporting requirements.

If there are injuries or fatalities

Are there injuries or fatalities resulting from the accident? If so, you are mandated to engage the police. A police report in your situation can be a legal stepping stone for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings.

The $1,000 threshold

Similarly, if the property damage from the accident exceeds $1,000, you’re legally obligated to report it. This might seem like a high threshold for a bike accident, but consider the potential costs: a damaged bicycle, broken safety equipment or harm to nearby property can quickly escalate the value. Even if the damage isn’t immediately apparent, underlying issues could push the cost over the threshold.

Hit-and-run

Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents happen. If a vehicle strikes you and the driver flees the scene, it’s worth to involve the police. Every detail you can provide about the vehicle, driver or the incident itself becomes vital in aiding the police investigation. They have the resources to track down the responsible party and can provide an official record of the incident, an invaluable legal tool for insurance claims or legal action.

Unclear fault

If determining who caused the accident is difficult, e.g., unclear traffic signals or multiple parties involved, a police report can provide a neutral account of the scene and witness statements. This can be crucial evidence later.

For a successful compensation claim, there must be a direct cause of the damage, which can (likely) only be proven if you report the bike accident promptly. Even when the law doesn’t strictly require you to report a bike accident, doing so can offer significant advantages. A police report can serve as an official, unbiased account of the incident, providing a solid foundation for future legal proceedings or insurance claims.