Millions of car accidents occur each year. According to national road safety facts and statistics, over four million people get injured in the U.S. annually due to car accidents. If you were injured in a car accident at no fault of your own, you can file a claim to pursue compensation.
To prove negligence in your car accident, you’ll need evidence that your accident occurred. Aside from medical records and photographs, you’ll need an official copy of your car accident report. You can easily get your car accident report in South Carolina through your local DMV.
Why Is a Car Accident Report Important?
South Carolina is an at-fault state with comparative negligence laws. This means that you need to prove that you were less than 50% responsible for your car accident in order to receive compensation from the at-fault party. Failure to do so means that you won’t be able to get a settlement that covers your damages.
Car accident reports don’t necessarily prove anything, but they do prove that your car accident happened and that the at-fault party was indeed the driver involved. Without an official report that documents your accident, it can be extremely difficult to prove that the at-fault driver was the driver that caused your damages.
Thus, we recommend that you get your car accident report as quickly as possible. Don’t wait too long or until the last minute to get all your evidence organized. It’s critical that you begin building a strong case so that you can fight back against the insurance company.
It’s the Law to Report a Car Accident
After an accident, you need to report it to the local police or highway patrol under the Official Code of South Carolina Annotated (OCSA) § 56-5-1260. Once the police come to the scene of the accident, they’ll take down statements, information, and various other details. Afterwards, they assist with the clean up and submit their report to the DMV within 24 hours.
Getting Your Car Accident Report
You don’t get your car accident report from the police. Since the police submitted their report to the DMV, that is where you need to go to obtain a copy. You will need to fill out Form FR-50 and pay the processing fee. You can mail the form or take it to any local DMV branch. There is also an online filing option available.
Remember, you’ll need an official copy of your car accident report in South Carolina when filing a claim. The DMV won’t automatically provide you with an official copy. You must request it, so double check and make sure that you aren’t receiving an unofficial copy.
What Kind of Information Is in a Car Accident Report?
In conjunction with your medical reports, car accident reports are able to provide solid proof of your damages and how much compensation you deserve. Your car accident report contains all sorts of information, including:
- The approximate date and time of when your accident occurred
- The full names of everyone involved in the accident
- Contact, liability, and insurance information for all drivers involved
- Names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident interviewed by the police
- Any witness statements
- A basic diagram of the accident and what happened
- A summary of damages sustained to the vehicles involved
- The officer’s description of the scene of the accident such as lighting, weather, time of day, etc.
- Documentation of any driver actions that may have potentially caused the accident such as intoxication, texting, speeding, etc.
In addition, sometimes officers will provide their own remarks or opinions on the accident if applicable. They’ll usually write about who they personally think was at fault for the collision.
What Is the Next Step After Obtaining My Car Accident Report?
After obtaining your South Carolina car accident report, you should get all the evidence you have organized. You should collect:
- Witness testimonies
- Medical records
- All images related to your car accident
Once you’ve got as much evidence as possible, you should take them all to a seasoned car accident lawyer. Your car accident report is also very useful at painting a general overview of your accident to someone who didn’t go through it. A lawyer will look over your car accident report, your medical records, and all your other evidence to help you win a settlement.
Talk To a Lawyer As Soon As Possible
Knowing the steps to take after a car accident is critical. You should consult with an attorney as soon as you can. Time is against you, and you’ll want to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires.
Many people let time pass them by, which ultimately leads to them paying out of pocket for their damages. Don’t wait until the last minute to get help. A reputable attorney can provide you with a free consultation and help you understand all the legal options available to you.