If you have been in a car accident in South Carolina, you have up to 15 days from the date of the accident to file an incident report. After a car accident, your immediate reaction may be to call 9-1-1, seek medical attention, or call your insurance company. While you should always call the police after an accident, you may forget to file a report in the commotion. Specific laws govern how long you have to file a report after a car accident based on the estimated property damage and whether anyone was injured or killed.
Car Accident Report Laws in South Carolina
South Carolina Code of Laws Title 56 Chapter 5 provides information on laws related to how long you have to file a car accident report and who should file it. Here are some of the relevant laws on filing a report after a car accident.
According to Section 56-5-1260, if anyone is injured or killed in a car accident, a driver must immediately report the accident to the local police department, county sheriff, or South Carolina Highway Patrol. Any driver, not just the at-fault driver, is obligated to report the accident. If the driver is physically unable to report the accident, another occupant should do so.
According to Section 56-5-1270, if the accident was not investigated by law enforcement and anyone was injured or killed, or property damage appears to be more than $1,000, the involved drivers must file a report for a car accident to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days. You can use the Traffic Collision Report FR-309 to report the accident to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
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Determining the Value of Your Damages After a Car Accident
To pursue appropriate compensation after a car accident, it is critical to determine the true value of your damages. A lawyer can help you figure out what your damages are worth. We can look at factors such as the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, your medical costs, lost earnings during your recovery, and estimated lost earnings in the future if you cannot continue to work in your profession. A lawyer can fight for you to get compensation after a car accident.
How a Lawyer Can Help After an Accident
A lawyer can help you build a case against the other driver after a car accident. Our team will start by collecting evidence about the accident, your vehicle’s damage, and your injuries and medical treatment. This evidence may include:
- Accident reports
- Photographs from the scene of the accident
- Written statements
- Eyewitness testimony
- Medical records
We will use this evidence to demonstrate that the other party is liable for your injuries and property damage or wrongful death of another passenger. We can help you pursue a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Our lawyers can collect evidence to determine the value of your damages, submit documents and evidence to the insurance company, and file a claim for you.
Many insurance companies will pressure victims to quickly settle after a car accident. A lawyer can handle all communication with the other insurance company for you, including negotiating a settlement on your behalf. If we cannot come to a settlement that you accept, we can assist you in filing a lawsuit against the other driver.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in South Carolina
After a car accident, it is important to pursue damages promptly before the statute of limitations runs out. In South Carolina, the Code of Laws sets the statute of limitations for damages from a car accident.
According to the South Carolina Code of Laws §15-3-530, the statute of limitations for personal injury, wrongful death, or vehicle damage is three years. The three-year period begins from the date of the accident for personal injury and vehicle damage, and from the date the person dies, which may be after the accident, for wrongful death.
If you were injured in a car accident or sustained property damage to your vehicle, or someone you love died in a car accident, you must file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver within three years, or you will lose your right to sue. A lawyer can help you navigate the difficult process of filing a lawsuit. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner we can get to work for you.
A lawyer at the Hammack Law Firm may be able to help if you were injured, lost a loved one, or suffered property damage in a car accident in South Carolina. Call (864) 326-3333 to speak with a member of our team today.