How to Get a Police Report After a Car Accident in Columbia, SC

You might have a lot on your plate after a car accident. Between insurance claims, talking to the police, and dealing with angry drivers, you might overlook one very important detail: the police report.

If you are not sure where or how to get a copy of the police report for your car accident, contact an attorney for help. Various police departments might be involved. Knowing which police department handled your accident might help us determine where to get a copy of the report. Many police reports can be requested online. However, this option might not be available in every case. Our legal team can help you make a request in person or by mail. You might need a copy of the report for a number of reasons. Insurance companies often want to see a formal report before they process a claim. The report might also guide us to evidence we can use in a lawsuit.

To get a confidential assessment of your case for no cost, call (803) 219-4906 and speak to our Columbia, SC car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.

Who Has Your Police Report for a Columbia, SC Car Accident?

Before we can get our hands on a copy of the police report from your cart accident, we need to know which police department handled the accident. There might be multiple police departments in the area where your crash occurred. If you are unsure which police department had jurisdiction over your accident, contact our legal team for help.

Columbia Police Department

Perhaps the local police department responded to your crash. If you do not know which police department handled the case, the Columbia Police Department might be a good place to begin. If your accident occurred within the city limits of Columbia, SC, there is a good chance the local police investigated and wrote the report.

According to S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-1270, law enforcement officials investigating vehicle accidents involving death, injury, or property damage worth at least $1,000 must forward a report to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). As such, we can check with the DMV to see if they have the report.

Richland County Sheriff’s Department

You might be from Columbia, SC, but maybe the accident happened somewhere else in Richland County. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office might have handled your accident in that case. Again, if you are unsure, the authorities might have forwarded the report to the DMV. If so, we can request a copy from there. If not, our car accident lawyers can help you contact the sheriff’s office to determine where the accident report is located.

South Carolina Highway Patrol

Depending on where your accident occurred, the South Carolina Highway Patrol might have handled the accident and made the report. Generally, accidents on state highways running through or around Columbia, SC likely fall under the jurisdiction of the Highway Patrol. Again, reports from the Highway Patrol are forwarded to the DMV. You can request a copy of the report by completing a formal request form and taking it to a DMV branch.

Where to Request a Copy of a Police Report for a Car Accident in Columbia, SC

How and where you submit a request for a copy of the accident report might depend on the nature of your accident and where your driver’s license is from. While many reports are available through the DMV and may be requested online, some drivers might need to make a request in person or through the mail. Our legal team can assist you.

As discussed earlier, accident reports from the police at the local, county, and state levels are usually forwarded to the DMV. Generally, you may request a copy by filling out the proper forms and submitting them online. However, not all drivers may send their requests online. According to the South Carolina DMV, if you have a driver’s license from another state or do not know your customer number, you must call the DMV for further assistance. It is possible that your request cannot be completed online, but we can help you send the request through the mail or make the request in person at a DMV branch.

Check the availability of your report with the help of a lawyer. If your accident was somewhat typical, the police investigation might not need to be very extensive, and the report might be ready sooner. If your accident is connected with possible criminal charges, involves severe injuries, or involves a fatality, the investigation will likely take longer, and we might need to wait for a report.

Why You Should Get a Copy of the Police Report After a Columbia, SC Car Accident

Why is the accident report so important anyway? The report is a formal, official documentation of your accident. The report often helps move legal claims forward so injured drivers can get fair compensation for their injuries.

If you decide to file an insurance claim, the accident report might be an important part of your claim submission. Many insurance companies demand to see a copy of the report. This helps the insurance company get an idea of how bad the accident was and proof that your claim is not fraudulent. Claims without police reports might have a harder time being processed.

We might also use the police report as a guide to find evidence for a lawsuit. The report itself is often considered inadmissible hearsay. However, the details in the report might lead us to evidence that is not hearsay and is admissible. For example, we cannot use witness statements in the report as evidence. However, we might use the report to find the witnesses who made the statements and ask them to testify in court.

Get Assistance From Our Columbia, SC Car Accident Attorneys

To get a confidential assessment of your case for no cost, call (803) 219-4906 and speak to our Columbia, SC personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.