Car accidents can be traumatic events, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and unsure about what you should do next. One minute, you’re running errands or driving to work, and the next, you’re dealing with injuries, property damage, and the inability to work or pay your bills.
If someone else was responsible for your accident, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim and seek damages. But collecting the full amount you deserve isn’t as simple as making a phone call or filling out a form. You can expect to get some resistance from the insurance company.
So, how can you protect your rights throughout this process? What you do or fail to do in the minutes, hours, and days following the accident can have an impact on your case outcome. Here is a list of things you’ll want to do (and not do) immediately following a car accident.
1. Get to a Safe Spot
Some auto accidents happen on busy and dangerous roads. After checking to determine if anyone was critically injured, the parties should move to a safe location. Depending on the circumstances, you may wish to leave the vehicles in place until the police have a chance to document the accident scene.
2. Call the Police
Even if you’re involved in a minor accident, it’s often a good idea to call the local police and request that they come to the scene. Once an officer arrives, they will conduct an investigation, speak with the parties and any witnesses, and create an accident report. If one of the drivers violated the law, such as running a red light or driving while intoxicated, they would be cited or arrested at the scene.
3. Take Pictures and Videos
Pictures and videos are vital evidence in car accident cases if there are no other recordings, like dashcams. Having photos and videos of the placement of the vehicles and the resulting damage can make a significant difference in your case.
4. Exchange Information
Obtain as much pertinent information as you can while you are still at the accident scene. This includes getting the other driver’s information and the names and contact information of any witnesses. This is also a good time to look around and take note of the road, traffic, and weather conditions at the time of the collision.
5. Get Medical Treatment
It’s not uncommon for accident victims to feel like they are “fine” after an accident because of the adrenaline racing through their bodies. But hours or days later, the stiffness and soreness become major issues. Unfortunately, insurance companies look at the time between the accident and the initial medical treatment as an indicator. To protect your case, make sure you seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the crash.
6. Report the Accident
Contact your insurance company and inform them about the accident. Give them any information you collected, such as the other driver’s name, witness information, and the police report number. However, avoid signing any releases and don’t agree to provide a recorded statement until you first speak with an attorney.
7. Watch What You Say
Even if you’re partially responsible for an accident in South Carolina, you can still recover damages as long as the other part was at least 51% at fault. While you need to be honest about what happened during the accident, you’ll want to use extreme caution with your words. The insurance company representative may try to get you to admit fault, and you might do so without realizing it.
8. Seek Legal Advice
Before signing, saying, or agreeing to anything, you should retain a skilled car accident attorney. Find a local law firm with experience fighting for the interests of car accident victims like yourself.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney
Car accident victims in South Carolina may experience severe physical, emotional, and financial consequences that last months, years, or even a lifetime. In the aftermath of such a tragic event, you may not know how to achieve justice and move forward, but we can help.
At Johannesmeyer & Sawyer, PLLC, our South Carolina car accident attorneys will investigate your accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf. We will work diligently to ensure you receive proper and fair compensation for your damages.
Give us a call today at (844) 843-1589 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We have offices in Baxter Village, Lake Wylie, and Rock Hill and handle cases in Nashville by appointment.