police report after car accident

Getting into a car accident is never fun, and working with the responsible driver to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle can be hard. That’s why filing a police report after a car accident can be a good idea. But do you have to file a report after every accident? Here’s what your South Carolina car accident attorney wants you to know.

Police Reports Are Only Required if There’s a Fatality

Under South Carolina law, drivers are not required to file a police report for car accidents unless the accident is fatal. If you’re involved in an accident and someone on the scene passes away, don’t wait. Contact the police immediately. Once you do, the police will be able to guide you through the next steps, collect any necessary statements, and start their investigation.

Filing a Police Report Can Still Be Beneficial

Just because you don’t legally have to file a police report after a car accident in South Carolina doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. And doing so has a few distinct benefits that could help your case if you file a claim against the other driver. Here are a few advantages of calling the police even after a minor accident:

  • They’ll collect statements: The police will typically collect statements from you, the other driver, and any witnesses who saw what happened. These statements can help if you end up having to go to court to recover damages from the other driver.
  • They’ll keep everyone calm: Tensions can be high after an accident and the last thing you need is the other driver confronting you or trying to get you to apologize for something that was their fault. Calling the police will help de-escalate the situation and, if any one becomes unruly, the police can deal with them appropriately.
  • The report will strengthen your case: The police report can provide insurance companies and your South Carolina car accident attorney with evidence that can be beneficial for your case. Even if the accident is minor, the police will document everything they find which could help if you go to court.

What You’ll Need to Do to File a Claim

Your best option is to call the police as soon as you can. Ideally, this will happen at the scene of the accident. If there are injuries, call 911 and request help. If there aren’t any injuries apparent, call the non-emergency police number. Let them know that you’ve been involved in an accident and that you’d like an officer to come to the scene to file a formal report. 

Once the officer is there, comply with their requests. Typically, you’ll need to give them your full name, contact information, driver’s license and registration, and proof of insurance to start. They may have other questions and requests as they investigate and learn more about the accident.

Speak With a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney

If you’re involved in a car accident, filing a police report can strengthen your case. But you’ll still want to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible if you’re worried about getting a fair settlement for your injuries or damage. Contact Lam Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.  

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