Oftentimes car accidents come with a lot of stress. On top of any physical pain that might result from injuries, individuals who have been in a car crash might be dealing with emotional distress, vehicle damage, doctors’ visits, lost time from work, and much more. The last thing you want to worry about after an accident is getting in trouble for failing to submit a report. So, what exactly are you required to do following an accident? We have compiled a list of questions that will guide you through where to report a car accident in South Carolina.
Under What Circumstances Are You Required to Report a Car Accident to the Police?
According to South Carolina law, any accident that results in an injury or death to a person must be reported to law enforcement immediately. If someone is killed in the crash, or experiences any bodily injury, you must call the police to the scene. Failing to report an accident where injury or death has occurred can be considered a misdemeanor offense, and could lead to 30 days in jail and a fine of $500. At the very least, failure to report an accident could result in issues with documentation that will cause problems later on. You will best protect your rights and interests by reporting even minor accidents to the proper authorities.
Do I Need to Report if There Are No Injuries or Damage to Our Vehicles?
In the state of South Carolina, the law does not require all accidents to be reported to the police. However, the choice to leave the scene without calling the police might cause other problems for you in the future. Although you may not be able to see any injuries or damage right away, after the adrenaline wears off or you wake up the next morning, you may feel pain and symptoms that were not immediately evident after the crash. Leaving the scene without an accident report could also lead to trouble filing a claim with the appropriate insurance providers, difficulty proving liability, and the inability to find important information that is recorded on the accident report form. It’s in your best interest to submit a police report even if you don’t think it’s necessary at the moment.
When Do I Need to Report a Car Accident to the DMV?
All accidents resulting in injury, death, or more than $1000 in property damage must be reported to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This is to ensure that all the vehicles involved were properly insured at the time of the accident. The police officer will either give you a form to pass along to your insurance provider or you will need to submit the form yourself to the DMV. Either way, this form must be submitted within 15 days following an accident.
Will the Accident Report Be Used at Trial to Prove My Case?
The answer to this question surprises most people – generally, no! Accident reports required by S.C. Code Ann. §§ 56-5-1260 to -1280 (1991), covering traffic accidents, are not admissible as evidence of negligence or due care in an action at law for damages. However, the report may sometimes be used by an experienced trial attorney to refresh the recollection of a witness or police officer without placing the report into evidence.
Do I Have to Tell My Insurance Company?
Most insurance companies will require policyholders to report accidents. Depending on your provider, they may require you to report the accident to them within a certain number of days. If you fail to submit a report, you may run the risk of losing your coverage or the company terminating your policy. The good news is that your insurance company might provide you with some helpful benefits such as coverage of medical payments or getting repairs done faster.
Who Else Should I Contact After a Car Accident?
Following a car accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to protect your legal rights. We have over 60+ years of personal injury experience handling auto accidents. Our attorneys at Cavanaugh & Thickens are here to guide you through this process. Call us today at (803) 888-2200 to get all your questions answered for free.