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How to Get a Police Report for a Car Accident in Mount Pleasant, SC

After a car accident, drivers usually call for emergency help, including the police. The police may investigate the crash and write a report about their findings, which might be very useful in an insurance claim or lawsuit. The question is, how does one get their hands on a copy of the police report?

Since the police are in charge of writing these reports, we should contact the officers in charge of your case to get a copy. However, we need to know which police department responded to your accident and wrote a report. Local, county, or state authorities might be involved, usually based on where your accident happened. Once we identify the right police department, we can request a copy of the report. These requests are often made online today, but we might also send a request by mail or in person. How long it takes to get a copy of the report depends on how long the police take to investigate the accident.

Ask our Mount Pleasant, SC car accident attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras for a free evaluation of your case by calling (803) 219-4906.

Who Wrote the Police Report for Your Car Accident in Mount Pleasant, SC?

Before we can get a copy of the police report, our Mount Pleasant, SC car accident lawyers need to know which police department handled the case and wrote the report. For some, this is not a hard question to answer. For others, it might be more difficult, especially if they were rushed to the hospital before they could talk to the authorities.

The Mount Pleasant Police Department

If your car accident occurred within the city limits of Mount Pleasant, we should contact the local police department. The Mount Pleasant Police Department generally has jurisdiction over car accidents within the city. If you could not talk to the, they should have reached out to you at some point about the accident. If they did, they might have given you the names and badge numbers of the police officers in charge of your report. If they did not, ask your attorney for help.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

Not all car accidents around Mount Pleasant occur within the city limits. Perhaps you live in Mount Pleasant, but the accident happened elsewhere in the county. If that is the case, we can contact the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, as they are often in charge of accidents and other cases in the county. Again, we should check any information that might have been provided to you by law enforcement, as it might help us determine who wrote your report.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol

If your accident happened on a state or interstate highway, the South Carolina Highway Patrol might have responded. If that is the case, the report might be in the hands of state authorities. If you are unsure which police department handled your accident, talk to your lawyer.

Where to Get a Copy of a Police Report for a Car Accident in Mount Pleasant, SC

Once we know which police department is in charge of the accident report, we can start taking steps to request a copy. It is common practice now to make requests for police reports online. Most police departments in South Carolina make car accident reports available through the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV). You can submit a formal request online using your personal information and details about the accident.

If, for whatever reason, the police report cannot be requested online through the SCDM, we can go back and contact the department in charge of writing the report. There might be an explanation as to why the report is unavailable. For example, if the case is especially complex, the police might still be investigating.

We can also inquire about other ways of obtaining the report. If the report is available but cannot be found online, we can make a request in person at any SCDMV branch. We can also send the request in the mail if the nearest branch is far away or you are too injured to make the trip in person.

Why You Might Need a Copy of the Report for Your Car Accident Case in Mount Pleasant, SC

Why do we need the police report anyway? It is not like we cannot find evidence on our own, and the report is not necessarily required to take legal action. Even so, the report can be useful in cases that are more complex or where evidence is hard to find.

First, accident reports are important when filing insurance claims. It is not unusual for insurance companies to request a copy of the report. Some even require it and might not process your claim without it. The report shows the insurance company that your accident really happened and might shed light on the extent of your damages. Insurance companies are always wary of fraudulent claims, and official police reports tell them that a claim is genuine.

We might also use the police report in a lawsuit against the other driver, but not as evidence. The report is usually inadmissible because of rules against hearsay evidence. However, it might be useful as a guide to admissible evidence. If the police uncovered any evidence in their investigation, details about it might be in the report.

For example, if the police interviewed witnesses, the names and contact information of those witnesses might be in the report. We can then use this information to find those witnesses and ask them to testify.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Copy of a Police Report for a Car Accident in Mount Pleasant, SC?

The time it takes to get a copy of the report might vary depending on how bad the accident was. If your accident is relatively minor and with minimal injuries, the police might not feel compelled to launch a full-scale investigation. Their report in such a case will likely be completed quickly.

On the other hand, your accident might be quite severe. Accidents involving serious injuries or death tend to be investigated more thoroughly and take longer to complete. Similarly, accidents involving intoxicated drivers or hit-and-runs tend to incur more in-depth investigations from the police. As such, your report might take longer to complete.

Get Assistance From Our Mount Pleasant, SC Car Accident Lawyers

Ask our Mount Pleasant, SC personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras for a free assessment of your claims by calling (803) 219-4906.