After a car crash in South Carolina, most people go through a period of great physical pain and emotional turmoil. They may face doctors’ visits, vehicle damage appraisals and issues involving towing and storage bills. They may also face lost time from work. These issues can build until they become overwhelming. One item that victims may overlook during this difficult period is whether they need to file a police report or any other report. Here’s what you should know:
What Should You Do If You Are Involved in a Minor Accident?
South Carolina law does not require all accidents to be reported. If there is no real damage to property, and no one is injured in the crash, then you and the other driver can certainly go about your day. This is what people typically call a “minor accident” or “fender bender.”
However, even in this situation, you should think twice before you let the other driver leave the scene without calling the police first. The decision could come back to haunt you.
For instance, what happens if the other driver changes his or her mind and decides to file an insurance claim against you? Without a police report, it will be difficult for you to challenge the driver’s version of events. Or, what happens if you develop symptoms of a serious injury in the hours or days after the accident? Without documentation of the accident, an insurance company may deny your claim for payment of medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
So, as a general rule, you should report even a minor accident to the police. You will protect your rights and interests by doing so.
When Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to Police in Rock Hill?
Under South Carolina law, you must immediately report to law enforcement any accident that results in injury or death to a person. If the accident occurs within a municipality, then you must report it to a local police department. If it occurs outside of a municipality, then you must report it to the country sheriff or the nearest S.C. Highway Patrol office.
For instance, if your crash occurred in Rock Hill, you would report it to the Rock Hill Police Department. If it occurred just outside of the city limits, you could report it to the York County Sheriff’s Office or S.C. Highway Patrol, Troop Four, Post B, which would be the nearest highway patrol office.
Do You Need to File Any Other Report After a Rock Hill Car Accident?
If your car accident resulted in injury or death or property damage in excess of $1,000, then you will need to report the accident to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and verify that you have liability auto insurance. You can meet this requirement in one of two ways:
If you called the police to the accident scene, then the investigating officer will give you a FR-10 form. You will need to give this form to your insurance company. The insurer will then need to complete the form and send it to the DMV within 15 days after your accident.
If you did not call the police, and a law enforcement officer did not investigate your accident, then you will need to complete and submit an FR-309 form to the DMV. Again, this form must be submitted within 15 days after the accident.
If you fail to make the report within the above time period mentioned, you may waive certain rights. For instance:
- You could lose your right to uninsured motorist benefits
- You could lose your right to medical payment coverage from your own insurance
- You may limit your ability to pursue a claim against the other driver
- Your insurance company may have contractual requirements that allow them to drop coverage for not reporting an accident.
Additionally, you could face the loss of your driver’s license and other penalties. For all these reasons, you should take the reporting requirement seriously.
How Do You Obtain a Copy of Your Police Accident Report in Rock Hill?
Once the officer who responded to your crash completes his or her investigation, the officer will submit a TR-310 form, or Traffic Collision Report, to the DMV. South Carolina law requires the officer to submit this form within 24 hours after the officer completes the investigation.
The police officer’s report will contain helpful information about your accident, including when the accident happened, where it happened and the names and addresses of every driver involved. It will also include the officer’s description of the sequence of events leading to the crash and the officer’s assessment of the factors that likely contributed to it.
To get a copy of the report, you can submit the Request for Officer’s Report (Form FR-50) to the DMV. You should try to include the following on the form:
- Request date
- Your name and mailing address
- Date when your accident happened
- County where the crash occurred
- Names and driver’s license numbers of all drivers involved.
You will need to mail two copies of the form and a check or money order for $6 to:
P.O. Box 1498
Blythewood, S.C. 29016-0040.
You can also go in person to the local DMV branch to fill out and submit the FR-50 form, or you can ask for a copy of the crash report from the law enforcement agency that prepared it.
Our Rock Hill Car Accident Law Firm Can Help You
If you have never been involved in a car accident before, then the aftermath of the crash can be a confusing time. If you have any questions about your legal rights and options or about the steps you should take, including reporting the accident, you should contact McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, as soon as possible. We have been helping car accident victims and their families in Rock Hill and surrounding areas for many decades. We can provide a timely and free consultation about your case.
After he graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1987, Jim Tucker joined the law firm of McKinney, Givens & Millar in Rock Hill. He has remained with successor firms at the same location ever since while focusing his practice in the areas of family law and personal injury law. Jim is licensed in South Carolina and North Carolina, and he represents clients in both states at the trial and appellate levels. Jim is also a certified mediator and a highly active member of several state and local legal organizations who once served as President of the York County Bar Association.