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South Dakota Car Accident Report Basics

Every year after the Sturgis Rally, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety releases statistics on the number of event-related vehicle accidents. Since the rally attracts approximately 500,000 visitors to the Black Hills, it’s bound to cause problems on the normally uncongested roads. 

Whether you’re traveling home from the rally or on your way to work, there’s a chance you’ll get into a motor vehicle accident. There are people in the state of South Dakota who have no idea what to do after the crash. It's a better idea to be prepared and know what to do.

Here, we’ll discuss South Dakota car accident reporting laws. We will also explain how to file your crash report. 

How To File a Car Crash Report in South Dakota

This chart summarizes South Dakota laws and procedures for filing an auto accident report.

Relevant South Dakota Auto Accident Statutes (Laws)

Immediate Accident Notification

You must immediately notify the police following an accident when:

  • Anybody suffers a personal injury or death
  • There is more than $1,000 in property damage to any one person
  • There is total property damage of $2,000 or more
  • A parked vehicle suffers damage, and the motorists cannot immediately contact the vehicle owner
  • Unattended property suffers damage, and you cannot identify the owner 

Crash Reporting

Purchase an Accident Report South Dakota Dept. of Public Safety

Note: State laws are subject to change. Verifying the information by conducting research or consulting a South Dakota car accident attorney is essential.

You Must Call the Police After an Injury Accident

Being in a car accident is stressful, even when the damage is minor. Remember to remain calm and call the police for assistance. 

South Dakota law requires drivers to report any vehicle accident that results in:

  • Any personal injuries or fatalities
  • More than $1,000 in property damage to any one person
  • More than $2,000 in total property damage
  • Damage to an unattended vehicle or other property and the parties cannot locate the owner

You face fines and possible criminal charges if you don't report an accident that has one of the qualifiers above.

Police Accident Reports in South Dakota

In South Dakota, you don’t have to call the police following a minor fender bender. The law requires you to move your vehicle off the roadway if it is safe to do so and exchange information with the other motorist(s). 

Some of the information you must exchange with the other driver includes:

  • Your name, address, and phone number
  • Insurance policy information
  • Contact information for your insurance company and insurance agent
  • Vehicle information, such as make and model
  • Your driver’s license number and registration information

Most people exchange this information while waiting for someone from the police department to arrive. Once the officer arrives, they will conduct a thorough investigation and prepare a police report.

Purchasing an Accident Report

After South Dakota passed Amendment S, known as Marsy’s Law, law enforcement stopped releasing information about motor vehicle traffic accidents. Marsy’s Law gives privacy rights to victims of misdemeanors and some felony crimes. They feared it violated this new law. However, the attorney general’s office clarified the law, so reports are now available to the public again.

Once the investigating law enforcement agency submits its crash report form to the Office of Accident Records, it enters the South Dakota Accident Records Database. The Office of Accident Records will place an automatic three-calendar day hold on releasing the document to any party. This allows accident victims to exercise their rights under Marsy's Law. 

You can purchase the report online or at your local police station after the three-day waiting period.

Drafting an Accident Report

Even if a law enforcement officer investigates the accident, you should still draft a report. A personal accident report helps you remember the events surrounding the crash while it’s fresh in your mind. Plus, your car insurance company may require a statement about the collision before they pay your claim. 

When drafting your accident report, include the following information:

  • Description of the crash, including how many people were in both cars
  • The drivers’ names, contact information, and insurance information 
  • Names of witnesses and their accounts of the crash
  • Details about vehicle damage and injuries
  • Diagram of the accident scene
  • Description of road conditions
  • A written statement regarding weather conditions
  • License plate numbers for all drivers
  • Whether either party needed towing
  • Photos of damage and video statements

Yes, that's a lot to remember. FindLaw has a handy printable crash guide that can help you make sure you get all the information you need.

Filing a Car Accident Report? Consider Calling a South Dakota Attorney

Knowing when it’s time to hire a car accident attorney can be challenging. Some minor claims are settled with ease. In other cases, having a South Dakota injury law attorney can make the difference between the insurance adjuster paying or denying your claim.

Consider contacting a South Dakota accident attorney for assistance with your auto insurance claim.

Additional South Dakota Car Accident Reporting Resources

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