While most people think that auto accidents generally involve serious damage to individuals or property, most incidents involve minor accidents, such as “fender benders” that do not involve physical injuries. Regardless of the severity, an auto accident can create a number of problems for individuals. One issue that arises, however, is whether an individual should report a minor accident. While there are no current statutes under South Carolina law, it is still advantageous for individuals to report an accident regardless of the severity.
South Carolina Reporting
Generally, the South Carolina Code of laws, section 56-5-1270 requires reports to be made by the operator or owner of an automobile involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of a person, or, resulting in at least $1,000 in damages.
Notably, even though the laws in South Carolina do not state an explicit requirement to file a report when there are only minor injuries in an automobile accident, the laws do require individuals involved in an automobile accident to take certain steps. For example, under the South Carolina Code of laws, section 56-5-1220, drivers involved in accidents resulting in damage to vehicles, regardless of the amount of damage caused, are required to stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall provide the following to the other driver:
- Address; and
- Vehicle registration number.
In addition, the driver shall render individuals involved in the accident reasonable assistance. This can include the transportation, or arrangement for transportation, of the injured person.
Benefits of Reporting
It might seem as though reporting even small accidents can do you more harm than good, but the benefits far outweigh the detriments. Most people might refuse to report minor accidents with their insurance out of concerns that their insurance rates will increase. In addition, an individual’s belief that the incident can be worked out between the drivers without the intervention of the insurance companies can prevent an individual from reporting the incident. Reporting, however, has its own benefits, both short term and long term.
One of the primary benefits to reporting an accident is that, even though reporting an incident isn’t required under South Carolina law, filing a report with police can help prevent the opposing party from denying that the accident ever occurred. This can be especially helpful if you sustain any injuries from the accident that develop days after the accident. In addition, if you chose not to report an accident with either the police or your insurance provider, there is no guarantee that the opposing driver would choose to do the same. Needless to say, if the opposing driver files first, then you could be severely disadvantaged in any subsequent investigation due to your unwillingness to notify your insurance provider.
Contact an Attorney
Getting involved in an automobile accident, regardless of the damage caused, can be a stressful situation. You do not have to go through it alone, however. The assistance of an experienced attorney can go a long way in helping you decide what steps must be taken next. If you need help obtaining compensation for your injuries, contact the David Aylor Law Offices in North Charleston for a free case evaluation.