What Is FR-10 Form in South Carolina?Auto Accidents
In South Carolina, drivers must complete an accident form known as the FR-10 (or Form FR-10) following a motor vehicle accident. The FR in Form FR-10 stands for financial responsibility.
A law enforcement officer will generally provide this document to drivers at the scene of the accident. If no police officer arrived at your accident scene, you should speak to a car accident attorney about filing an FR-10 form as soon as possible.
Who Must Complete an FR-10 Form?
Those involved in an accident generally have to complete Form FR-10.
The information that these parties must enter generally includes details that the motorist is most likely to know, including:
- The motorist’s (or pedestrian’s) full legal name
- The party’s birthdate
- The party’s vehicle details, including body color, year, and VIN
- The party’s personal and contact information
- The party’s insurance company
The primary purpose of the Form FR-10 is to verify that parties involved in a motor vehicle accident have valid insurance. Therefore, the form contains important questions regarding auto insurance.
How Long Do You Have to File Form FR-10 After an Accident in South Carolina?
South Carolina’s Code of Laws § 56-5-1270 states that owners or operators of a motor vehicle must submit their Form FR-10 and a written report of the accident within 15 days of their collision if:
- A law enforcement officer did not respond to the scene of the accident and collect such documentation
- The accident caused injury or death to anyone involved
- The accident caused $1,000 or more in property damage
A law enforcement officer will typically respond to an accident that is serious enough to cause injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage. However, if no law enforcement officer came to your accident scene, or you have any questions about the filing of Form FR-10, speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
A lawyer can ensure your legal and financial protection after a motor vehicle accident in the Palmetto State. This includes ensuring that you have filed all necessary documentation of the collision, including Form FR-10.
What Is the Primary Purpose of an FR-10 Form?
As the South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI) explains, the purpose of this form is to provide information about what happened during the accident so that parties can use it for insurance and liability purposes. Form FR-10 is also a means of confirming that you have all the required auto insurance.
Form FR-10 may also:
- Provide law enforcement with important details for any investigation of your accident
- Provide contact information for parties involved in the collision
- Be part of any insurance claim or lawsuit resulting from your accident
You must always file Form FR-10 accurately and promptly. Failure to do so can have significant consequences.
Consequences of Failing to File Form FR-10 Accurately and On-Time
If you must file Form FR-10 on your own, you must provide the completed form to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. If you fail to do so, South Carolina’s Code of Laws § 56-5-1270 states that your failure to file can serve as “evidence that the vehicle was uninsured.”
A fine may be the most likely penalty for failure to file Form FR-10 in a timely, accurate manner. An attorney can review your case and explain any other penalties that can result from failing to file the accident report on time.
In Addition to Filing an FR-10 Form, What Other Steps Should a Car Accident Victim Take After Their Collision in South Carolina?
If you do have to file a Form FR-10, this is hardly the last step in your post-accident process.
You may recover compensation from:
- The motorist who caused your accident
- Another party who is legally responsible for your accident-related damages
You will want to take steps to pursue the compensation these parties owe you. By securing a financial recovery, you will relieve financial pressures caused by the accident and hold liable parties responsible for their negligent actions.
Every step you take after the collision should be in the interest of your health and also in the interest of your financial recovery. Some priorities for car accident victims in South Carolina include:
Getting Immediate Medical Attention and Follow-Up Care
While you have likely left the scene of your accident, you may have yet to receive an extensive medical evaluation.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible following a motor vehicle accident because:
- You want to establish a clear link between your accident and the injuries it caused
- If you wait too long to get a full evaluation, liable parties may claim that one or more of your injuries are not accident-related
- You may have injuries that you didn’t recognize, and getting a complete evaluation by a doctor will be the only way to get a clear diagnosis and treatment plan.
Your health is the most important consideration. Your financial recovery may also be at stake if you wait to get medical care after your attention. Some injuries, like whiplash or a brain injury, may not immediately manifest symptoms. Even if you received medical treatment on the day of your accident, you might need to follow up with a medical professional to ensure you receive all necessary diagnoses and care.
Hiring an Attorney to Start Your Claim or Lawsuit
The lawyer will also finish your claim or lawsuit.
The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner they can:
- Protect you from threats to your case: Motor vehicle accident victims often fail to realize it, but threats to their case emerge the moment that another vehicle strikes theirs. An at-fault motorist may try to get you to admit fault. An insurance company may do the same or may try to convince you to accept a lowball settlement. An attorney can protect you from these and other threats to your financial recovery.
- Secure evidence: Many types of evidence may become useless or unavailable shortly after your accident. Witnesses’ memories may fade, video footage may become unavailable, and liable parties may destroy evidence of negligence. The sooner you hire your lawyer, the sooner they can secure all useful evidence.
- Interview witnesses: Interviewing witnesses is a critical step in South Carolina motor vehicle accident cases. Even if law enforcement officers interviewed witnesses at the accident scene, your lawyer might re-interview them to clarify their account of events. This step must occur as quickly after your accident as possible so that witness accounts are reliable.
- Get information and evidence from third parties: In some cases, a third party will have valuable evidence that can help your case. Your lawyer can file a letter of spoliation, which demands that those parties preserve any potentially useful evidence.
- Allow you to focus on your recovery without concerns about your case: As soon as your lawyer takes over your case, you can focus your attention on recovery without case-related distractions.
Your insurance claim or a lawsuit is undeniably important. However, your recovery is just as important. For this reason, hire an attorney to take care of your lawsuit so that you can take care of your health.
What an Attorney Can Do for You as an Accident Victim in South Carolina
In addition to gathering evidence and protecting you from case-related threats, a car accident lawyer can:
Conceive a Legal Strategy
Some motor vehicle accident victims can get fair compensation through an insurance claim. For others, a lawsuit is the only way to seek fair compensation for their damages. Your lawyer will review your case and develop a strategy for seeking compensation.
Some factors that may affect your lawyer’s strategy are:
- The nature and severity of your economic and non-economic damages
- The insurance status of liable parties
- Your goals for your case
Per the South Carolina Department of Insurance (DOI), motorists in the Palmetto State must have auto insurance. However, not all drivers obey the law as it pertains to insurance. Even if a motorist does have required auto insurance, your damages may exceed coverage limits. These are two of several potential reasons for filing a lawsuit after your accident.
Complete the Daily Requirements of Your Auto Accident Case
Whether you pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit, your case will require frequent attention.
There are many necessary steps before your lawyer resolves your case, including:
- Drafting and filing the initial claim or legal complaint (lawsuit)
- Obtaining and organizing all evidence and documentation for your case
- Communicating with insurance companies
- Keeping tabs on the processing of your claim or the progress of your lawsuit
- Communicating with any other attorneys involved in your case
- Getting testimony, reconstructions, or other services from hired experts
- Working with paralegals and others involved in your case
Insurance claims and lawsuits involve several moving parts, and your lawyer will manage these variables for you.
Negotiate a Settlement
There is one goal when you file an insurance claim or lawsuit: Get fair compensation for your damages. A settlement is one possible way to get the money you deserve.
Your attorney may negotiate with an insurance company. If you file a lawsuit, your lawyer may negotiate with a lawyer for the defendants in your case. In either case, your lawyer will make an evidence-based case that you should get a certain amount of compensation.
Complete Any Necessary Trial
If your motor vehicle accident case in South Carolina proceeds to trial, an attorney will represent you in court. A trial will likely extend the time it takes to resolve your case.
However, your attorney will both:
- Explain the merits of going to trial and why they believe it is the right decision for your case
- Get your permission before going to trial
If an attorney takes your case to court, it’s typically because they did not get the settlement you deserve. Therefore, proceeding to trial may be a necessary step if you want fair compensation for your damages.
How Should I Choose a Lawyer After a Car Accident in South Carolina?
You can choose a car accident attorney to lead your case by:
- Reviewing their case results, looking for substantial judgments and settlements in cases similar to yours
- Reviewing their client testimonials to find out if former clients are satisfied with the law firm’s service and results
- Completing free consultations and asking questions that you have for the law firm
- Combining objective criteria with your own instincts to choose the law firm that will lead your case
A law firm should prioritize your case and prioritize you as a client. Keep this in mind as you evaluate various firms serving your area.
Damages an Auto Accident Victim in South Carolina May Get Compensation For
An auto accident victim may include:
- A motorist who suffered injuries and/or vehicle damage because another motorist struck their vehicle
- A passenger involved in a motor vehicle accident
- A pedestrian struck by a motorist, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or scooter rider
- A motorcyclist, scooter rider, or bicyclist struck by a motor vehicle
Whatever the nature of your accident, those affected by an auto collision tend to have similar damages.
Though these damages tend to vary in specifics and severity, they often include:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Lost earning power (when injuries cause a victim to change jobs or reduce their hours)
- Repairs for a vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or scooter
- Repair or replacement of damaged property (aside from a bike or vehicle)
- Temporary transportation expenses
It is difficult to identify all of your damages as an accident victim. An attorney can identify your damages, determine their monetary cost, and put them in legal terms.
All Accident Victims in South Carolina Can Afford to Hire an Attorney
Injury lawyers in South Carolina generally use contingency fees. Clients only pay this fee if the attorney wins their case. Therefore, you can afford to hire a lawyer regardless of your current financial conditions.
Begin Calling Attorneys Today to Start Your Claim or Lawsuit
Remember that there may be strict deadlines for filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. Don’t wait to research and contact a Charleston car accident law firms in your area.