Every year after the Sturgis Rally, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety releases statistics on the number of event-related vehicle accidents that occur. Since the rally attracts approximately 500,000 visitors to the Black Hills, it’s bound to cause problems on the normally uncongested roads. After an accident, both visitors and residents need to follow the rules of the road. This includes understanding the basics of South Dakota car accident reporting laws.
How to File a Car Crash Report in South Dakota
This chart provides a summary of South Dakota laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.
|State Accident Statutes
Motor Vehicles § 32-34-7 Immediate accident notification
Motor Vehicles § 32-34-13 Accident Reports not privileged
|Immediate Accident Notification
You must immediately notify the police following an accident when:
- A person is injured or killed as a result
- $1,000 or more in property damage to any one person
- Total property damage of $2,000 or more
- A parked vehicle is damaged and the owner can’t be immediately contact
- Unattended property is damaged in an accident and the owner can’t be identified
Purchase an Accident Report South Dakota Dept. of Public Safety
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
You Must Call the Police After an Injury Accident
Being in a car accident is stressful, even when there is only minor damage. Remember to remain calm and call the police for assistance. South Dakota law requires drivers to report any vehicle accident that results in:
- A person being killed or injured
- More than $1,000 in property damage to any one person
- More than $2,000 in total property damage
- An unattended vehicle or other property, and the owner can’t be located.
Police Accident Reports in South Dakota
In South Dakota, you don’t have to call the police following a minor fender bender. The law simply requires you to move off the roadway, if safe to do so, and exchange information with the other parties to the accident. When a reportable accident occurs (one with injuries or significant property damage), the police typically investigate and produce a report.
Purchasing an Accident Report
After South Dakota passed Amendment S, also known as Marsy’s Law, law enforcement stopped releasing information about crashes because of concerns it could violate the law. Marsy’s Law gives privacy rights to victims of some felony crimes and all misdemeanors involving a victim. However, after clarification from the Attorney General’s office, reports are again available to the public.
Once a crash report is submitted by the investigating law enforcement agency and accepted into the South Dakota Accident Records Database, the Office of Accident Records will place an automatic three calendar day hold on the release of the document to any party so potential victims can exercise their rights under Marsy's Law. After this waiting period, you can purchase the report online or at your local police station.
Drafting an Accident Report
It’s a good idea for you to draft a report yourself even when the police investigate your crash. A personal accident report will help you remember the events surrounding the crash while it’s fresh in your mind. Plus, your car insurance company may require a statement of facts about your accident before they pay a claim. When making your accident report, record the following information:
- Description of the crash, including how many people were in both cars
- Name and insurance information of everyone involved
- Names of witnesses and their detailed accounts of the crash
- Details about damages and injuries
- Diagram of the accident scene
- Photos of damage and video statements
Filing a Car Accident Report? Consider Calling a South Dakota Attorney
It can be difficult to know when it’s time to hire a car accident attorney. Some minor claims resolve quickly, and in other cases an accident lawyer can make the difference between a justly resolved case and owing or losing large monetary damages. Get started today and reach out to a South Dakota accident attorney near you.