After a car accident in South Carolina, it is prudent to call a law enforcement officer to the scene to secure an official police report that can be used in insurance, civil and criminal lawsuits. You must call the police if the accident resulted in an injury or death. South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles requires all drivers to submit a completed and accurate traffic collision report (form FR-309) for any damage above $1,000. Submit the form within 15 days of the accident by mail to the address on the form.
1. Check on the condition of the people involved in the car accident if you are able;
2. Call the police or emergency responders if needed;
3. Get a written accident report;
4. Remain at the accident scene;
5. Exchange driver and insurance information;
6. Get witness contact information;
7. Call your insurance company to set up a claim;
8. Seek out medical treatment if necessary;
9. Take pictures of the scene, and the vehicle damages.
If you do not report an accident to the South Carolina DMV, you may have your license suspended. In the event that another driver offers to pay for damages and asks you not to report an accident, you are still required to file the report in any situation. If you did not have liability insurance at the time of the accident occurred, you may end up having your driving privileges and vehicle registration suspended by the State and be required to file proof of future financial responsibility (SR-22) in order to have your driving privileges reinstated.
Personal injury claims.
If you plan on pursuing a personal injury claim for damages over what the insurance company pays, an in-depth analysis of all reports and data related to an accident should be undertaken to determine the value attached to injuries, damages and residual pain and suffering. Determining fault is a matter for those who have reviewed police reports, witness reports, car damages, roadway marks and other accident factors.
Car insurance is mandatory in South Carolina and any claims made are subject to reduction based on who is found to be at fault in the accident. Fault is determined when an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of someone in a similar situation resulting in injury, also known as “negligence.” South Carolina is a “modified comparative negligence” state. This means you can still recover damages in a car-accident-related lawsuit, but your award will be reduced according to your share of negligence, as long as that share was not greater than that of other parties.
Statute of Limitations.
South Carolina has a three (3) year statute of limitations for property damage and personal injury claims starting on the date of the accident. In South Carolina, a person who suffers any kind of injury or damage due to an auto accident usually can proceed in one of three ways: 1) by filing a claim with his or her own insurance company, assuming that the loss is covered under the policy; 2) by filing a third-party claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, or 3) filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Columbia, contact an experienced attorney at the Louthian Law Firm to determine next actions. It may save you time and aggravation regarding a review for a potential civil or criminal claim and settlement.
Louthian Law Firm, P.A.
1116 Blanding St # 3A
Columbia, SC 29201
Local: (803) 454-1200
Toll free: (888) 303-1209