If you have been injured in a car accident in South Carolina, the basis of any insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit you file will be the police report from the accident. You need to obtain a copy of the police report from your car accident as soon as possible if you have been injured.

In some cases, a responding police officer will provide written instructions for obtaining a copy of his or her accident report. Generally, you can obtain a copy through the local law enforcement agency (city police or county sheriff’s office) or from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV). There may be a nominal fee.

Reporting a Car Accident in South Carolina

Any car accident in South Carolina that results in a person being injured or killed should be immediately reported to the police (S.C. Code Section 56-5-1260).

If an auto accident results in injury or death or $1,000 worth of property damage and is not investigated by law enforcement, then the car owner is required to report the accident to the SCDMV within 15 days after the accident, along with proof of liability insurance coverage.

If the owner or driver of a crashed vehicle is unable to report the accident, another occupant of the vehicle should make the report. If the vehicle owner was not in the accident, he or she has five days after learning of the accident to make an accident report if the driver did not.

Here is the SCDMV’s Traffic Collision Report form that individuals should complete and submit for car crashes not investigated by law enforcement.

In most cases in South Carolina, police, sheriff’s deputies or the S.C. Highway Patrol will respond to a 911 call after an auto accident and investigate the crash. They will forward a written report of the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 24 hours, including the names of those involved in the accident and witnesses (S.C. Code Section 56-5-1270). This is the report you need to obtain.

Get Your South Carolina Auto Accident Report

To buy a collision report from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, you can request a copy online or by completing the Request for Collision Report (SCDMV Form FR-50) and mailing it to the address on the form or take it to any local branch office of the DMV. This report is more detailed than the one you received from police at the scene of the collision.

It is a two-page form for which the second page automatically duplicates the first as you complete it electronically. This provides the SCDMV with two copies of the request.

When buying a collision report online, if the collision report has not yet been added to your official driving record, the one you buy will be stamped “unofficial.” If it has been added to your record, there will be no stamp. However, you will need an official copy of the report and will be required to pay an additional fee to buy an “official” copy when it’s added to your driving record.

SCDMV does not automatically send out the “official” copy once it is added to your driving record.

Once you complete the SCDMV Form FR-50, mail two copies of it and a check or money order for $6 made out to the SCDMV to:

SCDMV
Titles Mail-In Unit FR-50
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0050

You can also buy a copy of a collision report at any local SCDMV branch office.

You may contact the local law enforcement agency that investigated the accident for their instructions for obtaining the report. They may refer you to the SCDMV.

What Information Does a SCDMV Car Crash Report Have?

A car accident report completed by a law enforcement officer in South Carolina provides a basic description of the accident, including any contributing factors apparent at the scene. It may contain:

  • Date and approximate time and location of the accident
  • Names of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident
  • Contact and liability insurance information for each driver
  • Names and contact information for accident witnesses the officer interviewed at the scene
  • Statements by drivers, passengers, and witnesses describing what happened
  • A diagram of the accident
  • A brief summary of damage to the vehicles
  • The officer’s description of the accident scene, including weather, lighting, and road conditions
  • Driver actions that may have contributed to the crash, such as speedingdistracted driving, or other observations
  • In some cases, an opinion about which driver was at fault or how blame should be shared.

The accident report can serve as the starting point of an investigation into your accident by a personal injury lawyer working on your behalf. Insurance adjusters also rely on police accident reports when reviewing claims. As your car accident attorneys, Joye Law Firm would seek to establish that the facts in the police report show that the other driver was responsible for the accident and that you should be compensated through their insurance.

With information about your injuries, medical costs, and income losses, we can send a demand letter to the obligated insurer and negotiate a proper settlement on your behalf. If an insurer will not settle, we can proceed to file a formal personal injury lawsuit, during which we can gather additional information about the accident and the defendant while continuing to negotiate aggressively for a settlement for you.

Contact a S.C. Car Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a car accident in South Carolina that someone else caused, our car crash lawyers at Joye Law Firm are here to help you. You should report the accident and obtain a copy of the police report as soon as possible. We can assist you if you have been unable to obtain a copy of the report.

As your attorneys, we can ensure that your legal rights and financial interests are fully protected throughout the accident claims process. If you have been unjustly harmed, you deserve to be compensated. We can hold negligent drivers and their insurers accountable. Contact Joye Law Firm for a free legal consultation about your car accident injuries today.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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