No matter how responsible a driver you are, you’re likely to find yourself in a traffic accident at least once or twice. In fact, the average driver is involved in a crash on three occasions in his or her lifetime.
The first few moments after a car accident are terrifying. You experience a quick rush of emotions — fear, anger, and relief, to name a few. You wonder how the person in the other car fared. You worry about potential injuries, vehicular damage, or even increases in your car insurance bill. It’s a lot to take in.
Here is a list of steps that you should take immediately after a traffic collision in South Carolina:
Stay on the Scene of the Accident
First and foremost: do not panic and leave the scene of the crash. You may have followed every rule of the road and be entirely blameless in this car collision; if you flee, none of that matters. If somebody else has suffered serious injuries due to the crash, leaving could lead to devastating hit-and-run charges. A swift departure could also compromise your ability to secure damages in a later personal injury case.
Seek Medical Attention for Any Auto Injuries
If you’re injured or if it’s immediately evident that somebody else is hurt, call 911 right away. Not sure if the accident led to injury? Ask all those involved in the car crash if they’re okay. Some injuries take time to manifest themselves fully; if there’s any doubt as to whether or not you suffered any auto injuries, seek medical attention. Don’t move unconscious victims or those who appear to have suffered back injuries; wait by the injured party’s side until a qualified medical professional arrives.
Determine Whether to Call the Police
Not all car accidents warrant police involvement. A lot depends on the damage incurred. Cases involving minimal property damage and no injury can sometimes be settled between drivers. If, however, one or more parties appears injured, it’s imperative that you contact law enforcement.
The South Carolina Code of Laws covers questions of reporting or not reporting in its “Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways” section. Typically, law enforcement investigates crashes involving bodily injury, death, or over $1,000 in property damage. If law enforcement doesn’t investigate your case, you may need to self-report the traffic accident.
If the other driver caused the crash via negligence behind the wheel, police involvement could improve your chances of proving so. A police report constitutes an impartial, third-party form of evidence, which is invaluable in a complicated personal injury case. Without a police report, you’ll struggle to prove that the other person’s behavior contributed to the car collision. If you suspect injury or over $1,000 in damages, don’t hesitate to call the police — even if your injuries seem insignificant.
Collect Information from the Other Driver
Exchange your name and contact information with the other driver. Seek contact information from others involved in the crash or anybody who may have witnessed it. This information could prove invaluable later on. If you have a mobile device or camera, take pictures of the scene. Jot down notes about details you might later forget, such as:
The date and time of the car accident
The traffic collsion’s location
Any symptoms you suffered immediately following the crash
Your memories of the moments leading up to the collision
Find a Car Accident Attorney
One of the most important steps to take after getting into an auto accident in South Carolina is getting in touch with a trusted personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will play a critical role in gathering evidence that proves the other driver’s negligence or fault, and will also help you deal with your insurance company.
It takes considerable knowledge and skill to successfully navigate South Carolina’s legal system. Without a strong attorney in your corner, you may accept less in damages than you deserve, or even come away from your case empty-handed. When the stakes are this high, you cannot afford anything less than exceptional legal support.
The sooner you contact an attorney, the better your chances of success as you seek personal injury damages. The talented team at Branch & Dhillon will help you every step of the way. If you are in a car accident in South Carolina, call (803) 626-1345 to schedule a case consultation.