According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s traffic collision fact book, car accidents resulted in injuries every 13.6 minutes and death every 9.4 hours in 2019. If you suffered injuries or wrongful death due to a car accident, you can hold the negligent party responsible.
Fighting for compensation involves filing a claim and proving fault. This can be complicated if you don’t have the right materials. Obtaining a car accident report in Charleston is required, and it can be done by either going to your local DMV or the responding police agency to the accident scene.
How to Get Your Charleston Car Accident Report
Knowing where to find your car accident report in Charleston can be tricky if you aren’t sure where to look. But you can easily get your car accident report in one of two ways.
Through Your Local DMV
When the police file a report, they will submit it to the DMV for their records. After 24 hours, you should be able to request to receive an official copy. Remember to always make that distinction. It’s not standard practice to give people official copies at the DMV, so you need to specify that when you obtain it.
You will need to fill out Form FR-50 either online or with a physical copy printed out. You can submit your form and processing fees online, through the mail, or at any local DMV office. Going to a DMV location or filing online is typically much faster than doing it by mail.
Through the Police
You can also obtain a copy of your car accident report in Charleston through the police agency that responded to your call. Each agency or office will have its own steps on how they provide you with your report. However, they will typically just refer you to your local DMV.
Reporting a Car Accident Is the Law
In Charleston, it’s mandatory that car accidents get reported to the local authorities. The police need to be there to document the accident and have it on record. When the police arrive, they’ll conduct interviews, a small investigation, and take down information. Everything they document will end up on the report.
Why Is Obtaining a Car Accident Report Important for My Claim?
Your Charleston car accident report can strengthen your claim in numerous ways. It’s an official record that details the accident’s occurrence with critical details you can use to fight insurance companies.
It’s Proof That Your Accident Happened
When you file a claim against the at-fault driver of your car accident, you need to establish that they caused your accident. Unfortunately, if you don’t have an official record of your accident and who was involved, it becomes difficult to prove that the at-fault driver was responsible.
When you have a report made by the police and processed by the DMV, you have an authoritative source confirming that your accident took place. Thus, the evidence you bring up during trial or negotiation gets backed through this report.
It Provides Critical Details About Your Accident
Other people, such as the jury or the insurance companies, didn’t go through what you did in your accident. As a result, it’s easy for them to downplay or underestimate just how severe your damages are. A car accident report can detail exactly what happened, the extent of the damages caused, and other vital details to paint an accurate picture of what happened.
Without a car accident report, it becomes your word versus the at-fault parties. A good car accident lawyer will use the report as an invaluable piece of evidence. It’ll help prove during negotiations or a trial that your damages are serious and that the accident directly contributed to your pain and suffering.
It Prevents Insurance Companies From Intimidating You
Insurance companies have zero incentive to be fair with you after your accident. They will do anything to avoid paying you a fair amount for your settlement. More often than not, they’ll offer you a quick sum of cash just to get you to concede your ability to file a claim and use other sneaky ways to stop you from pursuing compensation.
They may claim that you’re exaggerating your injuries during negotiations and that the car accident was your fault. Establishing fault is a critical part of winning a car accident case in Charleston. With your report documenting the facts of the accident, your attorney can prevent the insurance companies from claiming you’re lying about your damages.
What Is in a Car Accident Report?
The contents of your car accident report could make or break your personal injury claim. A car accident report typically contains:
- Information about all parties involved in the accident
- Witness statements and information
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Diagram of the accident
- A summary of what transpired during and after the accident
- Officer’s opinions on the accident
- Description of the weather, brightness, and time of day when the accident occurred
As you can see, all these facts on the report are crucial for you and your attorney to understand prior to filing your claim.
When Can I Get My Car Accident Report?
You can get your car accident report as soon as the DMV processes it, which usually takes around 24 hours. It’s best to get your car accident report well ahead of the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for car accidents in South Carolina is three years, according to the Official Code of South Carolina Annotated (OCSA) § 15-3-530.
Get Help From an Attorney Today
To get the most money out of your car accident, you should consult with a car accident lawyer as soon as you obtain your Charleston car accident report. Get in touch with a reputable law firm that has experience filing claims for car accidents and personal injury incidents.
The faster you get started working on your claim, the better chance you have of obtaining financial compensation that reflects your damages.