If you have been in a car accident and want to file a claim against the at-fault party for compensation, you will need to get a car accident report. You should also engage the services of a South Carolina car accident attorney from Shelly Leeke Law Firm. You will likely have to submit the report to your and the at-fault party’s insurance companies.
Your lawyer will use that report as evidence to build your case. Thankfully, South Carolina makes it relatively easy to get a copy of this important document.
The Four Ways to Access Your Car Accident Report
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has your report. You can get a copy via US mail, online, or in person at the DMV. A car accident attorney is the fourth way to get your report.
When you put your case in an experienced lawyer’s hands, you do not have to worry about tracking down the accident report or other related information. Your lawyer will take care of it all.
First, you will need to go to the DMV website and fill out Form FR-50, which is a request for your report. Send two copies of the report plus a check or money order to cover the $6 fee to this address:
Titles Mail-in Unit FR-50
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0050
Request a report online by visiting the South Carolina DMV transaction list and clicking the link to “Request a Collison Report.”
The DMV requires identity verification from those using the online service. You will need to provide either your driver’s license number, your vehicle license plate number, or your identification card number.
You will also have to pay a fee using a Mastercard, Visa, Discover, or American Express Card. The payment is processed by South Carolina’s official state web portal SC.GOV and used to “develop, maintain, enhance, and expand” the portal’s service offerings.
You can go to a South Carolina DMV location with two copies of your completed form FR-50. You can submit the copies and pay the $6 in person, with cash, check, credit or debit card, or money order.
How Car Accident Reports Are Filed
South Carolina Code 56-5-1210 requires every driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or fatality to stop their vehicle and remain at the accident scene. Drivers must exchange information with each other and pedestrians, cyclists, or others involved, and aid victims. A driver can leave the scene temporarily to report the crash to authorities.
Usually, one of the involved parties or a witness will call local or state authorities, depending on where the accident occurs. Local officers or state troopers will arrive at the scene and complete a form FR-10. Responding officers will file this document with the South Carolina DMV, typically within 24 hours.
It is important to note that neither the state nor the police will send you a copy of the form FR-10 police report automatically. You must request it.
Information Included in the Report
Responding officers will include facts, observations, and evidence from the accident scene. Information includes:
- Identifying information for vehicle occupants and pedestrians, if applicable: names, addresses, driver’s license numbers
- Location description: where the accident happened and relevant information about the environment
- Accident information: descriptions of the vehicles, a rough accident diagram, witness statements, observable property damage, and other relevant information
- Injury reports: victims’ observable injuries, where vehicle occupants sat, whether they used seat belts, if air bags deployed, and whether injured parties were transported to the hospital
- Insurance information for all involved drivers
- Contributing factors: whether a driver ignored traffic signals, was distracted or speeding, driving under the influence, fatigued, or other factors that may have caused the accident
- Vehicle defects: details noting any broken or defective vehicle parts, such as broken brake or indicator lights
- Officer information: name, rank, and badge number
A Police Report Does Not Determine Fault
Responding officers can issue tickets at the accident scene, but do not definitively determine fault. Their reports include what they observed, not what they believe or think happened.
What determines fault is evidence. A skilled car accident lawyer will investigate your situation thoroughly, gathering evidence to hold at-fault parties accountable and support your innocence. If you are pursuing damages, collecting substantial evidence is essential.
Your lawyer will use this evidence to negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the insurance company interprets the evidence differently, your case may need to go before a judge and jury, and your lawyer will present the evidence to them. Evidence can include:
- The police report and officers’ testimony
- Witness testimony
- Traffic or security camera footage
- Photos or video of the accident and accident scene
Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney
After an accident, you will likely be stressed by injuries, property damage, and subsequent financial upheaval. Insurance companies, both yours and the other driver, will seek statements from you. Unfortunately, these companies want to avoid payouts and may try to coerce you into accepting fault, or at least partial fault, so they can raise your rates or avoid paying compensation.
Further, you have to collect and keep track of police reports, witness statements, and medical reports. While a lawyer cannot take away your physical injuries, they will greatly reduce your stress by:
- Taking on all communication with insurance companies, protecting you from the companies’ unfair tactics
- Handling requests for the accident report and all other necessary documentation
- Conducting a full investigation and collecting important evidence
A Shelly Leeke Car Accident Lawyer Is Ready to Help You
The car accident attorneys at Shelly Leeke Law Firm are experienced, knowledgeable, and client-centered. Your lawyer will give you and your car accident case careful, individual attention. Do not use any of your energy to track down car accident reports, speak to insurance companies, or contact witnesses.
Your lawyer will handle those tasks and all other legalities so you can concentrate on healing. Call or message Shelly Leeke Law Firm to arrange your free consultation today.