There are more than 15,000 vehicle crashes in North Dakota each year resulting in fatalities, injuries, and property damage. According to the North Dakota Department of health, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injuries in the state. As the population continues to grow, so does the risk of being in a crash. If you're in an accident, stay calm, make sure no one is injured, and follow the basic rules for North Dakota car accident reporting.
How to File a Car Crash Report in North Dakota
This chart provides a summary of North Dakota laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
When to Report a Car Accident to Police
When you're in a minor car accident, you don't have to call the police. However, it's a good idea to have the police come out and make a report. Even in a no-fault insurance state, people can still file lawsuits after an accident and a police report serves as an impartial record of fact.
There are some situations where North Dakota law requires you to immediately call the police following an accident. Failure to properly report an accident can cause your license to be suspended and may even result in a criminal conviction. Dial 9-1-1 after a crash that results in:
- Someone is killed
- Someone is injured
- Property damage of $1,000 of more
After an Accident, Call the Police Before the Tow Truck
After a minor fender bender, it may be tempting to not involve the police. However, if your car needs to be towed from the scene, it's a good idea to call the police first. North Dakota law requires tow truck companies to report any vehicle it transports that shows evidence of being involved in a reportable accident. You don't want to risk criminal charges for failing to report an accident, so call the police before you call for a tow.
Repair Shop Must Report Cars with Accident Damage
A few dishonest drivers have tried to avoid liability for an accident by having the damage to their cars repaired before anyone noticed. Not only is this illegal, but the State of South Dakota has a law designed to catch people who try to hide their involvement in a crash. Repair shops and garages must call the police within 24 hours of receiving a vehicle that show evidence of being involved in a reportable accident. The shop manager must give the police the registration number, and the name and address of the vehicle's owner.
Your Personal Accident Record
It's a good idea to create your own accident report even if the police are on the scene. The report will be useful to your car insurance company and creates a record of the incident while it is fresh in your mind. Include the following information in your accident report:
- Description of the crash, including how many people were in both cars
- Name and insurance information of everyone involved
- Names of witnesses and their detailed accounts of the crash
- Details about damages and injuries
- Diagram of the accident scene
- Photos of damage and video statements
Purchase a North Dakota Crash Report
When law enforcement responds to an accident, they typically create a report based on their investigation. Even if officers don't respond to the scene, a report may be made based on post-accident interviews with drivers and witnesses. Police reports are considered public records and you can purchase a copy from the local police station or state highway patrol office. Accident reports can also be ordered online or through the mail:
Get an Attorney's Help with Your Auto Accident Claim
Just because North Dakota is a no-fault insurance state doesn't mean that getting fully compensated after an accident is an easy process. Plus, when accidents are more serious, you have the option to step outside of the no-fault system and pursue a liability claim against the other driver. Learn more about how to navigate the claim process and how to file a lawsuit, if one is necessary, by reaching out to a local car accident attorney.