If you’re involved in a car accident, you should usually call 911 and report it. The law might not absolutely require reporting in every case, which may lead you to question whether your accident is “bad enough” or happened in the right way to justify reporting the crash.
In general, you should report all vehicle accidents to the police. This includes accidents involving vehicles other than cars, such as trucks, motorcycles, or even ATVs and dirt bikes. You should also report any car accident that involves injuries and most car accidents that involve only property damage.
For help with a car accident case, call the South Carolina car accident lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today at (803) 451-4000.
Car Accident Reporting Laws in South Carolina
Following reporting laws is vital to avoiding potential criminal or civil penalties after an accident. If you have any doubts about whether you are reporting your accident correctly, our Columbia car accident lawyers can help.
Under South Carolina law, you need to report any car accident that involves injury or death. Under S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-1260, you have to report these accidents immediately.
Additionally, under § 56-5-1270, if the police did not investigate your crash, you have to file a written report with the DMV within 15 days of the accident. This applies more broadly to cases involving injury or death but also to cases with an apparent property damage value of at least $1,000. Because vehicle repairs often cost quite a bit of money, even for minor cosmetic damage, most accidents with visible damage will reach this $1,000 threshold and should be reported to avoid any problems.
Lastly, under § 56-5-1230, you have to “render aid” to any injured parties who need it – which usually means calling 911 and requesting an ambulance. While calling, you might as well report the accident and get the police to arrive as well. Police usually arrive alongside ambulances whether you specifically ask for them or not, but it is best to make the report if you can.
Taken together, this means that you are required by law to report most crashes, whether you do so by calling 911 immediately or filing a written report in the following weeks.
What Vehicle Accidents Should You Report in South Carolina?
These laws quite obviously apply to car accidents, but it should be noted that they apply to accidents involving trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and other vehicles on the road as well. While it might not be obvious under the terms of these statutes, you should also report accidents involving other non-traditional vehicles like scooters, ATVs, dirt bikes, and more.
Trucks, Buses, and Other Commercial Vehicles
You should take even more care to report accidents involving commercial vehicles like trucks and buses since there might be a transportation company responsible for the crash. Having good records of the accident will help you in your potential injury case against those parties. These companies often have strong legal teams to help them fight blame for accidents, and our South Carolina personal injury lawyers are prepared to take them on to get you the compensation you need.
ATVs, Dirt Bikes, and Recreational Vehicles
Accidents involving ATVs, dirt bikes, and other recreational vehicles on the road are often confusing and difficult. First, it is not always obvious who is at fault if you are hit by one of these vehicles since they do not always seem “road ready.” In fact, many of these vehicles are not “street legal,” and you should not be held accountable for a crash that one of these vehicles caused. If you were hurt in a crash with an ATV, dirt bike, or another vehicle that should not have been on the road, call our Sumter car accident lawyers for help right away.
Scooters, Bikes, and Small Vehicles
As for people injured on electric scooters, bicycles, or other small vehicles that were legal on the street where you were driving, you should also call the police and report your accident. Just because you were not in a car does not make this accident any less significant, and you deserve to have the accident reported and treated with the same seriousness as an accident involving two cars.
Tractors, Farm Equipment, Lawnmowers, and Other Vehicles
Accidents involving other vehicles on the road should also be reported, such as accidents involving tractors, farm equipment, lawnmowers, and construction equipment. It is often legal to move or transport these vehicles under certain circumstances, but their operators can still be held at fault for dangerous driving.
Do Accidents Without Injury Need to Be Reported in South Carolina?
Even if there is just property damage, you should still report your car accident to the police. Our South Carolina car accident attorneys typically help injury victims recover damages after car accidents, but we also understand the importance of creating a record of the damages you faced, even if they did not involve injuries.
When a crash involves vehicle damage alone, you should still report it. As discussed above, any accident with over $1,000 worth of vehicle damage will need to be reported eventually, so you might as well report it immediately. You might still need to file an insurance claim or lawsuit to get damages for the property damage you faced, so having a police report and records of the accident will help you recover that compensation.
Another very important reason to report a crash with no injuries is that it might actually involve injuries that are not yet apparent. Immediately after a crash, adrenaline can mask many injuries. Injuries like whiplash and back injuries also might not be apparent until the day after an accident.
In any case, it is best to have EMTs evaluate you and make sure you do not have hidden injuries, so you should still call 911. See your doctor and call our Lexington car accident lawyers if injuries develop in the days after a supposedly “minor” car accident.