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Do I Have to Report a Car Accident in South Carolina?

Do I Have to Report a Car Accident in South Carolina?

Car accidents are extremely common in South Carolina and throughout the nation, which is why each state requires drivers to purchase auto insurance before they can legally drive on the public roadways. Even though the chances of you being in a car accident at least once in your lifetime are extremely high, when that time comes, you may not know exactly what to do. You may not know what’s expected of you under the law.

One of the most common questions that South Carolina drivers have after an accident is, “Am I legally required to report the accident to the police?” This is a perfectly valid question indeed, and it’s one that enters the minds of most drivers after a crash. In this article, we discuss South Carolina’s laws regarding reporting a car accident and what exactly is expected of drivers after a collision.

South Carolina’s Reporting Laws

The laws that specifically address car accident reporting requirements are covered under Sections 56-5-1260 and 56-5-1270 of the South Carolina Code of Laws Unannotated. Under Sec. 56-5-1260, it states that drivers are expected to immediately report an accident to the police if the crash involves any personal injury or death. So, even if the crash involved only whiplash, by law, it has to be reported to the authorities. The best way to do this is call 911.

“But what about the rest? What if the accident did not involve personal injuries, or death, but property damage only? Do I have to report those?” Under Sec. 56-5-1270, it states:

  • If the accident involved property damage of $1,000 or more that was not investigated by the police, the driver must report the accident within 15 days to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Reporting All Car Accidents to the Police

Even though not all minor fender benders must be reported to the police, we highly recommend calling the police regardless. Why? Even though South Carolina law does not require drivers to report every accident, many insurance companies do.

When the police arrive at the scene, they write up a police report, which comes in handy when it’s time to file a claim. Furthermore, your insurance company may require that you report all of your accidents to the police in order for them to process your claim.

Next: After a Car Accident

To file a car accident claim, we invite you to contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC.


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