If the officer finds that either driver has violated the law, that driver could be cited or arrested at the scene. Even if your accident is minor, with no bodily injury or death, it’s still a good idea to call the police and get an official report, which will help you prove your insurance claim for the damage to your vehicle. If you’re interviewed by the police, you should:

  • Give only factual details of the crash
  • Sign only the documents required by the police
  • Not admit any fault to anyone
  • Notify your insurance company
  • Consult a car accident attorney

The form FR-10 must be submitted to your insurance company immediately after your accident, but it is not the official police report of your crash. For a small fee, you can request and obtain a form FR-50, which is the official accident report, from the DMV or from the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident and completed the FR-10. Your attorney can also help you to get a copy of the official report and go over it with you to verify the information is all correct.

While the police report is not actually admissible evidence in a personal injury case, it is an important tool in proving your claim against the liable motorist. Your lawyer will be able to identify and address any discrepancies, omissions, or misinformation in the report.

The report also gives the insurance company an idea of how strong your claim against its policyholder is and affects the settlement you’re offered. The company’s adjusters and attorneys know, if your case goes to court and the responding officer testifies, the details from the report can be cited as part of the testimony to prove the liability of the at-fault driver. If the report states that the at-fault driver was cited or arrested for a violation of traffic laws, that information:

  • Strengthens your claim
  • Motivates the insurance company to deal with you fairly
  • Significantly increases your chances of getting a fair settlement to compensate you for your damages

Self-Reporting Rules for Minor Accidents

If your accident results in neither physical injury nor death, you’re not required to call the police. You are, however, required to complete form FR-309 and self-report the crash to the DMV within 15 days if the wreck caused property damage of $1,000 or more. 

Creating Your Own Report Following A Charleston Car Accident

Even when there is an official police report, it’s still a good idea to make your own detailed report of the accident while it’s fresh in your mind. If there’s an important discrepancy between your report and the official report, your attorney can investigate to correct misinformation, which sometimes does find its way into police reports. Your self-report should include all the information listed above, as well as details about your injuries, pain and suffering, diagnosis, prognosis, and medical treatment (with documentation). 


Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.