Understand the laws so you can get compensation following a car accident injury
One fear almost every driver has is being involved in a car accident. If you live in South Carolina, you’ll be pleased to know that drivers are required to have liability insurance, which means that most damages should be covered.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you file a personal injury claim to help ensure you receive compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle.
Do I have to call the police after a car accident in South Carolina?
Not every accident has to be reported to the police. The only time you’re required to contact the police about an accident in South Carolina is if there’s a death or an injury. If anyone is injured or killed in the accident, call 911 immediately. Doing so will make sure the correct people arrive on the scene.
It’s important to know that many insurance companies require you to contact the police before they allow you to start a claim. So, even if no one appears to be injured after the accident, it’s always best to contact the police if you think you’ll need to file a claim with the insurance company to cover repairs to your vehicle or towing and rental car expenses.
Will the police file the accident report?
Another reason contacting the police is a good idea, even if you’re only involved in a minor incident, is they can take care of filing an accident report. If you’re involved in an accident, a report will need to be filed as soon as possible. In most cases, an officer will write up a basic report at the scene, which should provide most of the information you’ll need to file a claim.
If the other party decides to make false claims against you, an attorney can use the officer’s statement in court to help you win your case.
When am I required to file an accident report myself?
Any driver in South Carolina whose accident is not being investigated by the police must file a report of an accident if there is more than $1,000 worth of damage or if there is an injury or death. Forms that commonly need to be filed after an accident include form FR-309 and form FR 10.
Most documents need to be submitted to the DMV within 2 weeks of an accident so that a claim can be processed. Reports are required to be submitted to verify that the drivers were insured at the time of the accident and had the proper amount of coverage according to state laws.
What details should be included in the report?
While on the scene of the accident, a police officer will usually document information about the drivers involved and the details of what happened. However, you might also want to make your own report in case any details are left out.
In many situations, the party at fault for the accident will admit responsibility in front of a police officer. However, it’s not uncommon for that same party to try to change the details later on to avoid paying for the damages associated with the claim.
Your report should also be given to your insurance company so they will have as much information as possible, as some details could be left out of the report made by the officer. Essential facts to document include the names of the people and the number of cars involved in the accident. The names of everyone’s insurance companies should be recorded as well.
Any witnesses should be listed in the report along with their contact information and statements about what happened so that an attorney can speak with them at a later date.
Try to make a diagram of the accident scene, if possible. You can also take pictures of the scene in case the other party tries to say that the vehicles were in a different position than originally stated.
When to contact a personal injury attorney
If you’re unsure how to file a report on the incident or you have concerns with undergoing this process alone, then it’s vital to contact an attorney for help. You’ll want to make sure your attorney is skilled at personal injury claims and car accidents, as the details can be tricky to handle in court, especially if the other party tries to claim they weren’t responsible for the accident.
Often, the process of recovering from your injuries can be lengthy, which means you’ll want to obtain a settlement as quickly as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney can expedite the process, making it easier for you to support yourself and your family until you can return to work.
Your attorney will be able to answer any questions that you might have and may even be able to handle the legalities of the process without having to go to court.
At Chappell, Chappell and Newman, our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience with personal injury law in South Carolina. We can help you file the initial accident report and guide you through the claim process to ensure you don’t overlook any important steps that could prevent you from receiving fair compensation in your case. Contact us for your free, no-obligation consultation today so we can worry about the details and you can focus on getting better.