Suddenly finding yourself the victim of a car accident is a traumatic, emotional and frightening experience. Not surprisingly, many people don’t think clearly and logically after a car accident. It helps to know ahead of time what steps you should take after an accident in case you do ever find yourself in that situation.
Every car accident is unique and may call for slightly different steps. However, the following 10 steps provide a framework from which you can operate if you suddenly become the victim of a South Carolina car crash.
- Get help. Try not to panic. Remain as calm as possible and evaluate yourself and anyone else in the vehicle for injuries before you try to get out of the vehicle. Call 911 for emergency assistance immediately if you have a cell phone available. If there is a chance that anyone suffered more than minor injuries, do not move them unless necessary to prevent further injuries.
- Get to a safe place. If possible, get your vehicle out of the road to decrease the risk of secondary collisions that could cause further injuries. Carefully get passengers out of the vehicle and off the roadway if there is a risk of further injuries by remaining in the vehicle.
- Exchange information. Get as much information as possible from the drivers of other vehicles involved in the collision. At a minimum, you should get their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, tag numbers, insurance carriers and policy numbers.
- Cooperate with the police. You should honestly answer any questions the police ask you. However, you should not admit fault or provide more information than is necessary. The aftermath of an accident can be very confusing, and you most likely do not have all of the information needed to make a proper determination of fault.
- Talk to witnesses and take pictures. If you are able, check to see if any third parties saw the accident. If so, ask them for their names and contact information. You should also take pictures of the accident scene. If you are unable to do it yourself, ask someone else to take pictures for you. Even photos taken on a cell phone are better than no pictures at all.
- Seek medical treatment. If you are not transported directly from the scene of the accident to a hospital, go to an emergency room, urgent care center or your family doctor for a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible after the crash. Some injuries do not show signs or symptoms immediately but could become serious, even life threatening. Be sure to tell the doctor how the accident happened and report all of your symptoms, even if they seem minor to you.
- Call the insurance companies.As soon as you are able, you should report the crash to your insurance company and the companies that insure the other driver or drivers. However, you should avoid giving any type of recorded or written account of the accident without the advice of a South Carolina car accident lawyer. That includes your own insurance company.
- Contact an attorney. If you suffered injuries or property damage as a result of the accident, you should contact an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurer may try to settle the case quickly and cheaply before you have contacted a lawyer. Don’t let them get away with it. Seek the advice of a qualified personal injury lawyer before accepting any settlement offers.
- Follow up with medical treatment. Be sure that you follow through with all appointments and medical treatments ordered by your physician. Failing to do this could cause your injuries to become more severe and could hinder your ability to recover fair compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Keep a journal. If you were injured in the accident, keep a daily pain and disability journal. Not only is this therapeutic, but it can also go a long way toward proving the emotional impact that the accident had on you when it comes time to negotiate or litigate the pain and suffering portion of your settlement or verdict. Also be sure to write down how your injuries have affected your daily life.
Injured in a South Carolina Car Accident? The Louthian Law Firm Can Help
South Carolina law on car wrecks is complex, and the deadline for filing a claim can be short. You should speak to the Louthian Law Firm as soon as you think you may need a South Carolina auto accident lawyer.
We have defended the rights of accident victims and other injured South Carolinians since 1959, and we’re committed to providing personalized service to you while aggressively going after negligent drivers. And because we know how financially devastating an accident can be, we never charge you a dime until your case is won.
For a free evaluation of your case, call us today toll free at (803) 454-1200. You can also fill out our online contact form.