How To File A Car Accident Report After a Crash
People are required to report motor vehicle accidents in South Carolina only when the crashes result in death, injury, or at least $1,000 in property damage. Generally, it’s in your best interest to make sure a police report is completed after any accident.
When a driver is involved in a minor “fender bender” with no injuries and only very minor property damage, hurried motorists convince themselves that there is no need to file a police report and no harm in not doing so. These drivers may be convinced that they can spare themselves increased insurance rates because of a small collision.
Failure to report an accident can lead to some harmful consequences later. If symptoms of an injury appear in the hours, days or weeks after a crash, and a person needs compensation for medical bills or lost wages, the insurance company may deny the claim if the accident was not reported.
Regardless of what the other driver said at the scene of the crash, that person could still file a claim with your insurer later. Without a police report, it could be more difficult for you to counter any claims by another party that your negligence caused an accident.
When Must You File a Car Accident Report in Rock Hill?
Under South Carolina Code § 56-5-1260, any driver involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person is required to immediately give notice of the accident to the local police department when an accident occurs within a municipality. Outside a municipality, notice must be given to the county sheriff or the nearest office of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
South Carolina Code of Laws § 56-5-1270 establishes that the operator or owner of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or property damage of $1,000 or more not investigated by a law enforcement officer must forward a written report and verification of liability insurance coverage of the accident (known as an FR-309) to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
When Accidents Must Be Reported / Is There a Time Limit?
Under South Carolina Code of Laws § 56-5-1270, the FR-309 needs to be forwarded to the DMV within 15 days of the accident. Failure to provide proper evidence of liability coverage constitutes prima facie evidence that the vehicle was uninsured.
The same statute provides that a law enforcement officer who investigates a motor vehicle accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or total property damage of $1,000 or more (either at the time of and at the scene of the accident or after the accident by interviewing participants or witnesses), is required to forward a written report to the SCDMV. The report must include the names of interviewed participants and witnesses within 24 hours of completing the investigation.
Who Must File a Car Accident Report?
All drivers should file reports, regardless of whether they meet the above-listed requirements. One of the primary reasons for doing so is that it helps law enforcement collect and preserve relevant evidence in these cases.
Police officers get statements from both drivers, and they also speak to other people who saw the crash. These individuals could be potential witnesses.
This documentation will identify several essential facts relating to the accident, including the time, location, and a possible cause. In some cases, the investigation may lead to a citation to a negligent driver.
Penalties for Failure to Report Car Accidents
Drivers who fail to report accidents or file FR-309s as required face possible suspension of their driver’s license. While criminal charges may be technically possible in such cases, they are quite rare.
A major consequence of a failure to report an accident is the possibility that your insurance company will cancel your coverage. Some insurers may deem the failure to report crashes, even minor ones, as a violation of agreements.
Can I File a Car Accident Report Online?
The SCDMV website provides an online Request for Officer’s Report (SCDMV Form FR-50) that you can print and complete to request a copy of the police officer’s report. Mail two copies of the form and a check or money order (along with the completed FR-309 form) to the SCDMV.
The Rock Hill Police Department has a Silent Witness Form that allows you to file a police report anonymously. The RHPD Citizen mobile app also provides for tips to be reported.
How Our Law Firm Can Help After a Car Accident in Rock Hill
Stewart Law Offices understands that the immediate aftermath of any car crash is a time of extraordinary confusion and stress for the people involved. The problems are often further complicated when a victim has suffered severe injuries in an accident.
Our firm is ready to act quickly to investigate the crash and determine its true cause while collecting the evidence needed to prove a responsible party’s negligence. We can also work with your doctors to understand the extent of your injuries and your probable recovery time to calculate the expenses you are likely to accurately gauge all your losses.
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence in the Rock Hill area, it is critical that you get help from an attorney as soon as you can. An experienced Rock Hill personal injury lawyer will be able to help you comply with all reporting requirements and fight to seek all the compensation you are entitled to.