We hear many stories about fatal accidents that involve debilitating injuries. These nightmare stories, however, are the exception to the rule. Most car accidents are minor “fender bender” type collisions with no serious injuries. Whether you get bumped in a parking lot or someone makes a mistake false start at a red light, these happen all the time. Many people wonder if they are obligated to report such accidents. The answer, in general, is that you should. However, the specifics are a bit more complex. Learn when, why and how you need to report a car accident in South Carolina based on the seriousness of the incident and the details of the law.
Car Accidents and the Law
Each state has its own laws regarding whether you should report a car accident. In South Carolina, if the damage is minor, nobody has been injured, and everyone has insurance, there may not be a need to report the accident to the police. The state requires that accidents resulting in damage valued at more than $1,000, so if the damage looks like it will be expensive to fix, you should call the police. If you are uncertain, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Calling the Police
Even if you are not obligated to report the accident, calling the police can be a very helpful thing to do. They will come to the scene, make sure everyone’s paperwork is in order, help to gather information and most importantly, they will evaluate the scene and file a police report. This report can be essential to any injury or other claim for damages that you need to file, if the other party or their insurance company chooses to fight the claim. So the basic answer is, if nobody is hurt and damages are minor, you do not have to call the police, but you might want to anyway.
Reporting to Your Insurance Company
Reporting the incident to your insurance company is another matter entirely. It does not matter how serious your accident is or when it happened, you should always report it to the insurance company as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours. Every insurance company in the nation has a requirement for drivers to report any incident that occurs to them.
Many people try to avoid reporting minor accidents out of fear of being dropped or having their premium go up, but consider: if you fail to report and your insurance company finds out, you likely will be dropped or suffer a much higher premium. At very least your carrier might deny you needed protections against claims from the other driver due to failure to report.
In the end, it is always a good idea to report any accident in which you are involved, both to the police and your insurance company. It is also a good idea to reach out to a solid personal injury and car accident attorney to be sure that if you need to seek compensation for damages, you have someone to fight for your rights. If you have been in an accident recently and are in need of representation, check out our car accident page, and give us a call to discuss your case today.