If you or a loved one have recently been involved in an accident, you may need to get a copy of the accident report. Oftentimes, in the immediate moments after a crash, people are traumatized and in shock. They may not fully comprehend what has happened and may or may not have had a chance to speak with police regarding the incident.
Obtaining accident reports can be done through various government transparency laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act. However, just because it can be done doesn’t mean it’s easy. Fully understanding the report and its implications is another matter entirely, and that examination is often best left to experienced car accident lawyers.
Check With the Local Authorities First
Depending on where the accident occurred, finding out about a local car accident can be fairly simple. Just reach out to the local police and provide them with any information you have, such as your name and identification. You’ll also want to let them know the location of the accident.
If you’re local to the Columbia, South Carolina area and were injured on I-26, I-20, or I-77, your report may have been handled by the local police. Alternatively, the local police may inform you that a State of South Carolina Highway Patrol officer was responsible for the report, as they monitor highways more frequently.
The accident report may be relatively simple for accidents such as fender benders, but if there were injuries or fatalities involved, there will be more extensive records. You may need to reach out to state or other agencies for the full details.
State Government Reports
The State of South Carolina website has resources for obtaining information regarding crash reports. While the process is somewhat straightforward, there are significant costs associated with each and every report requested from the state. State accident investigations cost the government thousands of dollars to conduct, so the cost to obtain the records is somewhat justified. However, the cost may be out of reach for many people.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, it’s best to let attorneys take care of obtaining these records. They can often obtain full and unredacted records, thanks to court orders. Furthermore, any significant costs associated with obtaining records from the state—and the associated court fees—can be reimbursed through the settlement you obtain during your personal injury suit.
Police Reports Aren’t the Final Word
If you get a copy of your accident report and it shows that you were at fault for the accident, it’s important to not panic. Police reports aren’t written in stone, and additional evidence may be obtained to overturn the official reports of the accident.
Police are busy individuals with many calls they must respond to day and night. Often, an officer just wants to get home from his or her shift and may not investigate a crash beyond taking one or two witness statements. When full investigations are completed, it often comes to light who was really at fault for the accident.
Our Attorneys Are Pros at Accident Investigation
At Strom Law, we’ve been practicing since 1996 and have more than twenty-five years of experience in personal injury suits. We’ve seen every scenario imaginable, from simple settlements for broken bones to seven-figure compensation packages for the worst accidents imaginable.
After you’ve been involved in an accident, it shouldn’t be your responsibility to have to make hundreds of phone calls and fill out endless forms just to receive the compensation you deserve.
The most important thing you can do when it comes to receiving compensation is to call an experienced attorney right away–the more time that passes, the harder it may be to find evidence that can substantiate your claim. Witness statements may change or become less clear, CCTV footage proving your innocence may be written over, and other parties may become difficult to reach. The sooner a professional and competent investigation takes place, the better.
Our personal injury attorneys at Strom Law are standing by and waiting to help you receive the maximum possible compensation. We’ll handle all the paperwork and complex legal documents, so you can focus on getting back to your life and recovering from your accident without having to worry about what comes next.