Our David W. Martin Accident & Injury Lawyers in South Carolina know that minor vehicle collisions — known as “fender benders” — are often dismissed by drivers as “no big deal” if there is little to no damage, or if no one is hurt.
In some cases that may be true. However, it is better to err on the side of caution, so your legal rights and options are protected from the moment the collision occurs.
The reality is, a seemingly minor collision may turn out to be something much more severe.
Do I Have to Report a Fender Bender to Law Enforcement in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, and most states, if there is only minor damage — less than $1,000, by law — to the vehicles, and no one was hurt, neither party must call the police to respond to the scene of the crash.
Here is why you should anyway.
Why You Should Call the Police to Respond to ANY Car Accident in South Carolina
Calling the police after what seems to be an insignificant collision, or fender bender, in South Carolina is one of the smartest things you can do after a crash.
First, unless you are a seasoned vehicle collision repair person, there is no way to tell whether the damage to your vehicle is going to cost less than $1,000. Not only should you not assume the damage is minimal, but without a crash report, you may also end up paying for the repair costs out of your pocket.
Even if the at-fault driver gives you all their information, if you do not have a police report to back up your claim, he or she can simply deny the collision ever happened. While it seems like something no one would do, it happens more often than you think.
Next, the police report will outline what happened, which could stop an impaired driver, or someone who is operating on a suspended license, from getting back on the road and crashing into someone else. The police will investigate the circumstances and the drivers who caused the crash, and issue any necessary citations or make an arrest, when required.
Finally, much like most people’s inability to evaluate the costs of their vehicle repairs, there is also no way for you to know if you are hurt without seeking medical care. Even slow, fender bender-style accidents can lead to significant soft tissue and head injuries that cannot be diagnosed on your own.
The rush of adrenaline you experience will preclude you from knowing whether you are hurt right away. Seek medical care to ensure you are okay, and if you are not, a police report documenting the crash may allow you to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.
Protect yourself, and your physical, emotional, and financial well-being and call the police after a vehicle collision in South Carolina to ensure you get a complete crash report to back up your version of events.
Who Else Should I Report My South Carolina Fender Bender To?
If you have been involved in a fender bender in South Carolina, you must also report your crash to:
- Your insurance company.
- South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
If the police responded to your crash, you must complete and return an FR-10 form to the SCDMV within 15 days of the crash, or your license and registration may be suspended.
If you have been involved in a crash that resulted in an injury, contact our Personal Injury Lawyers in South Carolina today by calling (803) 258-6199 to learn more about your legal rights and options to hold the negligent driver liable for your complete recovery needs.
We provide consultations for all personal injury cases in South Carolina, and never charge any legal fees unless we deliver a positive outcome for your unique case.