What Is North Carolina’s Fender Bender Law?
A fender bender is a minor collision between two vehicles, usually occurring at low speeds. In North Carolina, fender benders are considered “minor incidents” and are typically handled by insurance companies without the need for intense police involvement or legal action.
While fender benders may not seem like a big deal, they can still cause damage to your vehicle and your wallet. They can also disrupt the flow of traffic on major highways. Therefore, North Carolina passed the Fender Bender Law to help keep drivers safe on the road and traffic moving.
Under the Fender Bender Law, you are required to:
- Move your vehicle immediately out of the flow of traffic, if possible. This will often be to the shoulder of the road where you can exchange insurance information with the other driver and safely wait for any law enforcement that may be on the way. Anyone who fails to do this will face a $110 fine with additional court costs.
- Any drivers who are not involved in the accident are not allowed to slow down or stop to gawk at the scene. This has often been found to cause even more accidents. If you are not involved in the accident and there is no obvious sign that anyone is yelling for help from you, then you must keep moving and not interfere with police or medical personnel who are on the scene.
- The only legal obligation in terms of reporting the accident is if someone has died, is facing injuries, or if the assessed damage is more than $1,000. If the damage is less than this amount, then you are only legally required to exchange information with the other driver and may choose whether to report the accident to your insurance company.
While fender benders may not seem important, they can still cause damage and be a hassle. Be sure to follow the Fender Bender Law to help keep yourself and others safe on the road.
What Common Instances Result in a Fender Bender?
There are many instances that can result in a fender bender. Here are some of the most common:
- Distracted driving: This has become one of the most common and concerning causes of accidents on the road and can easily lead to a fender bender. Distracted driving includes anything that takes your direct attention away from the road, such as speaking with someone on the phone, texting, eating, drinking, changing a song, or even talking to passengers. This is especially common when sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, as drivers often become impatient and are not paying attention to their surroundings for a split second and end up rear-ending the car in front of them.
- Reckless driving: This is another major cause of accidents and often results in more serious accidents than a fender bender. Reckless driving includes speeding, tailgating, weaving between lanes, ignoring red lights or stop signs, and any other dangerous or aggressive driving behavior.
- Driving under the influence: Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous. This can easily lead to a fender bender due to the impaired driver’s decreased ability to pay attention to the road and make split-second decisions.
- Weather conditions: Poor weather conditions, such as rain, sleet, or snow, can make the roads slick and decrease visibility. This can lead to a fender bender if drivers are not driving cautiously or paying attention to the road. This is especially true in North Carolina during the rare snowfall in the winter months.
- Road conditions: Poorly maintained roads can also lead to accidents. This includes potholes, cracked or broken pavement, debris in the road, and bad lighting. If you hit a pothole, for example, you may swerve into another lane and cause a fender bender. Being overly alert and aware of your surroundings can help you avoid these accidents.
Q: Do You Have to Call the Police After a Fender Bender in North Carolina?
A: No, you are not required to call the police for a fender bender unless someone is injured, killed, or there is significant damage to either vehicle. At a minimum, you should exchange insurance information with the other driver and file a report with your insurance company. If one or both parties feel more comfortable involving authorities, it is recommended that you do so to avoid any potential legal issues down the road.
Q: Is North Carolina a No-Fault Accident State?
A: No, North Carolina is a “fault” state when it comes to car accidents. This means that the driver found to be at fault for the accident will be responsible for any damages that result from it. This can include vehicle damage, medical bills for any injuries sustained, and lost wages if you were unable to work as a result of the accident.
Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in North Carolina?
A: The official statute of limitations for filing any car accident claim in North Carolina is three years from the exact date of the accident. Any claims made after this time period will likely be barred. Speak with an attorney right after your accident to avoid missing this deadline and ensure that your rights are protected.
Q: How Much Does a Fender Bender Usually Cost?
A: The cost of a fender bender will vary depending on the extent of the damage and whether there are any injuries. Fender benders tend to be relatively minor and cost a few hundred dollars to fix. However, if there are any injuries or significant damage to either vehicle, the cost can increase significantly.
Contact Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler Today
If you have been involved in a fender bender or a more serious car accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler today. We have a strong grip on North Carolina fender bender law and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve if it meets the threshold for a personal injury claim. Even if it does not, we can still validate your property damage claim and get your vehicle repaired. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.