Immediately following the aftermath of a car accident, you may experience a blur of emotions. In the days after your collision, it’s difficult to process what even happened, let alone consider what documents to obtain should you later choose to pursue legal action.
However, it’s crucial to note that the most important document you’ll eventually need to collect is your accident report—a document completed by the law enforcement officer responding to your accident. This document includes information about the details of the accident and any witnesses or parties involved in the event itself.
Additionally, both your and the at-fault insurance companies use this to process your claim. It is also vital to your attorney’s ability to build a case supporting your version of events.
What Information Does My Car Accident Report Contain?
Car accident reports are a valuable source of information related to your collision. They can provide details of your crash which may determine the amount of compensation you’re entitled to, including things like:
- Witness statements
- Charts and diagrams of how the accident occurred
- Contact information of witnesses interviewed by the authorities
- Data regarding when and where the collision happened
- A list of damages sustained by all involved vehicles
- The officer’s description of what may have caused the incident, such as weather, lighting, driver actions (like texting or drinking), etc.
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How Is a Car Accident Report Helpful?
In the state of South Carolina, a driver must prove that they were less than 50% responsible for a car collision to receive payment from the responsible party. While car accident reports are not the only meaningful evidence for a case, they establish specific facts for your claim. This evidence includes details surrounding the accident and statements regarding which party was likely responsible for the collision.
It is imperative to obtain a copy of your car accident report as soon as possible, as substantiating your claim can prove next to impossible without an accident report to verify the event’s details. Ensuring your lawyer receives a copy of the case report strengthens your claim by guaranteeing they can build your case as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Where Do I Request My Car Accident Report?
There are a few different ways to receive your car accident report, including:
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In South Carolina, you will not receive an accident report from the responding officer. Instead, you will receive your report once the responding officer submits their report to the DMV. This process usually takes ten days to two weeks following the accident, so it’s best to wait this amount of time before requesting a report.
The DMV website is the best way to obtain a copy of the report, and you can request one by filling out your personal details and paying a small transaction fee.
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In-Person or By Mail
If you wish to submit a request by mail, then complete a Copy Collision Report (SCDMV Form FR-50) form and submit two copies of it, along with a check or money order for $6, to the following address:
Titles Mail-in Unit FR-50
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0050
Highway Patrol Reports
If your accident involved a fatality, you might need to acquire a copy of the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) response form, which is a form that the South Carolina Highway Patrol conducts. While the accident report will likely be similar to the DMV report, it may contain extra photographs, media, and evidence regarding the fatalities.
The MAIT report is available by filling out a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) through your state government and typically costs around $100.
Have You Been the Victim of a Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured as the result of another driver’s fault, understanding what steps come next can be exceptionally confusing. An experienced car accident attorney will ensure you collect and submit all necessary documentation, evidence, and reports, so you don’t have to worry about missing any critical deadlines or paperwork.
If you’re struggling to understand the next steps in your legal case, the team here at Hammack Law Firm can help. Our skilled attorneys will collect the evidence and fill all necessary forms, such as the accident report, FOIA, and High Patrol report forms. We will also make sure they are filed promptly to prevent any delays in your claim.
Ready to receive the help you deserve for your claim? Call us at (864) 740-8653 or contact us to receive your free case evaluation today!