Columbia Auto Accident Attorneys


Auto accidents are a leading cause of injury and death for South Carolinians, as well for people across the U.S. Although motor vehicle crashes can be caused by a number of different factors, driver errors and misconduct contribute to more than 9 out of every 10 auto accidents that occur in the U.S. every year.1


This tragic fact essentially means that the vast majority of auto crashes – and traffic-related injuries and deaths – could be prevented if motorists were more careful and responsible when behind the wheel.


While that can be distressing to consider, it can be far more upsetting and difficult to face the aftermath of an auto accident, especially when crashes leave you and/or a loved one with serious, debilitating or life-threatening injuries.


At Chappell, Smith & Arden, our Columbia SC accident lawyers are all too familiar with the devastation that auto wrecks can cause. That is just one of the reasons why we are dedicated to helping auto accident victims protect their rights and pursue their best recovery options. Focused on providing vigorous and effective legal advocacy, our attorneys are ready to help you:


  • Build the strongest possible auto accident case
  • Maximize your financial recovery
  • Start restoring your life.


While the following presents some important information for auto accident victims in South Carolina, you can also get immediate answers about your rights, potential case, and recovery options by contacting a Columbia SC auto accident lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden today. Our attorneys are ready to provide you with the insight and information you need to get on the path to recovery.


How to Report an Auto Accident in South Carolina


In South Carolina, there are generally two ways to report a car crash to authorities:


  1. Call 911 immediately after the accident – If you haven’t been too badly injured in a traffic crash, calling 911 as soon as possible is generally the best move. This will result in immediate help at the scene, as well as an official police investigation of the crash. Police investigations will mean that crucial details related to the crash will be documented in the police report for the car accident. These details, which can be pivotal to the success of a future case or claim, can include (and are not exclusive to):
    • Who was involved in the crash
    • The parties who played a role in causing the crash (i.e., likely or actual at-fault drivers)
    • Witness statements
    • Other important evidence, like photos, officers’ observations of the wreckage/scene, etc.
  2. Report the accident to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) – If police were not called immediately after an auto crash (or if they were unable to respond to the scene), motorists can report car accidents in the hours or days after the crash to the SCDMV. To file these car accident reports, it will be necessary to complete Form-309 (Traffic Collision Report Form) and mail it to the SCDMV within 15 days of the crash. There is not currently an online reporting system for South Carolina auto accidents.2


Here, it is important to point out that South Carolina law requires that any auto accident that caused at least $1,000 in property damage or resulted in injuries or death to be reported to authorities. Failures to report these accidents can result in a range of possible penalties, such as (but not limited to) license suspensions and criminal charges.


South Carolina Auto Accident Statistics


The following South Carolina auto accident statistics3 shed some light on just how often car wrecks occur in the state, as well as some of their prominent causes and impacts:


  • A traffic crash occurs on a South Carolina roadway every 4.5 minutes.
  • Every 15.4 minutes, someone in South Carolina is hurt in a car accident.
  • Every 11.6 hours, someone in South Carolina is killed in a deadly auto wreck.
  • Since 2013, both injury- and fatality-related auto crashes in South Carolina have been on the rise. In fact, while injury crashes in the state have increased by more than 4 percent since 2013, traffic fatalities in South Carolina have surged more than 7 percent over this same period of time.
  • Annually, auto accidents in South Carolina end up costing at least $3 billion (when considering the costs of property damage, medical treatments and lost productivity). It should be noted here that these costs do not reflect the intangible, yet profound, costs related to suffering victims endure as result of serious car wrecks.


Helping Crash Victims Recover: How We Craft the Strongest Possible Auto Accident Cases


At Chappell, Smith & Arden, our Columbia SC auto accidents lawyers know that even just one motor vehicle accident can have profound costs and impacts on victims and their families. Committed to helping injured people recover, our attorneys are skilled at building the strongest possible cases for various types of auto crash cases, including (but not exclusive to) those involving:


  • Impaired and/or distracted driving
  • Hit-and-run accidents, as well as accidents caused by underinsured or uninsured motorists
  • Head-on collisions, rollovers and left-hand-turn crashes
  • Auto crashes involving pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and/or bicyclists
  • Fatal car wrecks.


Known for tailoring our service and representation to meet our client’s needs, our lawyers always put our clients first and will work tirelessly to advance their interests in any legal setting. Just some of the ways we do this in order to build the strongest possible auto accident cases – and to bring those cases to successful resolutions include by (but are not exclusive to):


  • Carefully investigating the accident and reviewing the police or crash report
  • Gathering all essential evidence to establish fault and position our clients’ claims for the maximum recovery
  • Standing up to insurance companies and others to make sure that our clients are able to secure the compensation to which they are entitled.


Find Out Your Recovery Options Now: Contact a Columbia SC Attorney at Chappell, Smith & Arden Attorneys at Law


Let our Columbia SC attorneys put their experience, diligence and skills to work helping you recover from an auto accident.


Call our firm at (803) 779-2126 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations initial consult with one of our lawyers. During this meeting, you can find out more about your rights and how we can help you.


From our six office locations throughout South Carolina, our attorneys provide the highest quality legal services to injured people and families in Columbia, Alken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout South Carolina.




1: According to transportation safety authorities at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

2: Additional information and guidance about filing auto accident reports with the SCDMV

3: South Carolina auto accident statistics compiled and reported by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. The statistics cited herein are for 2014, the most recent year for which complete and final data is available.