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Deadlines for Reporting Car Accidents To Insurance in Columbia

Deadlines for Reporting Car Accidents To Insurance in Columbia Image

If you’re involved in a car accident in Columbia, South Carolina, one of your immediate concerns may be how soon you should report it to your insurance company. How long do you have to report a car accident to your insurance company? You should promptly inform your insurer, but the exact timeframe may hinge on several factors.

When to Report a Car Accident to Your Insurance

Generally, you should report any accident to your insurance carrier as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours. This allows them to open a claim and start their investigation process. Most insurance policies require you to report accidents immediately or within a reasonable timeframe.

What constitutes a “reasonable timeframe” can vary depending on your insurer, your policy, and the circumstances of the crash. A few days might suffice for a minor fender bender with no injuries, but you’ll want to notify them immediately for a severe wreck resulting in injuries, fatalities, or significant property damage.

Delays in reporting could lead to issues if you need to file a claim for vehicle repairs or medical bills. The insurer might attempt to deny the claim or argue that your lack of timely notice hindered their ability to investigate. The bottom line is that when it comes to reporting collisions to insurance, the sooner you do so, the better.

Many people wonder if they need to report an accident to insurance even if they don’t plan to file a claim. The answer is usually yes, even for minor accidents. Your policy likely contains a notice provision that legally obligates you to report any accidents. Failing to abide by this contractual duty could give the insurer grounds to cancel your policy or deny future claims.

How Does Reporting the Accident to Insurance Affect Your Compensation Claim?

From an insurance standpoint, having a police report provides valuable documentation of what occurred and can support your personal injury claim. Always call 911 if anyone is hurt or damaged vehicles are blocking the roadway.

After reporting the accident to your insurance company, they will assign a claims adjuster to investigate. Please provide them with all pertinent information, including the date, time, location, parties involved, and a detailed description of what occurred. You’ll also need to furnish a copy of the police report once available.

If another driver was at fault, their liability insurance should cover your losses. But you still need to report the accident to your carrier, as they can pursue a subrogation claim against the other insurer on your behalf. Reporting also protects you if the other party’s insurance is insufficient or they later dispute liability.

Of course, if you caused the crash, you want to report it to your insurer promptly. Your collision or medical payments coverage may apply to your vehicle repairs and medical bills, and your liability insurance will defend you if the other party sues you.

When Are You Required to Report an Accident to the Police?

What are the legal requirements for accident reporting? In addition to your insurance company’s requirements to report a collision, South Carolina law imposes specific accident reporting requirements. The law mandates that every driver involved in a crash resulting in injury or death must report it to the police immediately. The police will come to the scene and create a collision report. You have no further responsibility to file a report with the authorities in these situations.

If you don’t call the police to investigate the collision, you have a legal duty to report it yourself. This applies regardless of who was at fault for the accident. South Carolina law requires drivers involved in unreported injury or fatal collisions or those involving property damage exceeding $1,000 to file a written report with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days.

You’ll submit Form 309 (Traffic Collision Report) to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which uses the provided accident details to assess potential points on the driver’s license. These police reports also enable the state to collect data on collision causes, identify unsafe intersections, and facilitate the proper allocation of emergency response resources. Insurance companies also rely on police reports when evaluating claims stemming from wrecks. Your insurance agent or your Columbia car accident attorney may submit this report on your behalf.

When filing an accident report, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Date, time, and location of the accident
  • Name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance details for all drivers involved
  • License plate numbers and descriptions of all vehicles
  • Description of damage to vehicles and any injuries sustained
  • Names and contact information of any witnesses

When Is the Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in South Carolina?

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When is the deadline for filing accident reports? These post-accident reporting requirements are separate from the legal deadline for filing an injury lawsuit or property damage claim. Under South Carolina law, you have three years to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver seeking compensation following a car accident. You may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Past, ongoing, and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Damage to your vehicle and other personal property

Three years may seem like a long time. However, you should not delay in contacting a Columbia car accident lawyer for their assistance. Some physical evidence may deteriorate or disappear very quickly following an accident, and eyewitnesses’ memories will grow unreliable as time passes. Contacting a lawyer right away will help preserve access to evidence that can substantiate your claim and make a difference in whether you can recover the compensation you deserve.

Contact a Columbia Car Accident Lawyer Today

How long do you have to report a car accident to your insurance company? In the days and weeks following a car accident in South Carolina, your skilled attorney will advocate for your rights and fight for the compensation you need. If you suffered injuries in a Columbia car accident, the experienced injury attorneys at Goings Law Firm, LLC are here to help. We help clients by managing the insurance claims process and fighting to recover maximum compensation. Call us 24/7 at (803) 350-9230 or contact us online for a free consultation to review your case. Let us handle the legal stress so you can focus on healing.

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Last Updated : June 21, 2024
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