- Report the accident by calling the nearest police department or 911. Even if it is a minor collision, you should still report the accident to protect yourself in case of a liability claim by the other party.
- Safety first. Get out of the roadway. Each year hundreds of pedestrians in South Carolina are injured or killed in the road following an accident. In 2006, one hundred twenty-five pedestrians were killed in South Carolina roadways. You are undoubtedly shaken up after an accident, so take time to be aware of your surroundings and be careful.
- Make sure the police officer completes a report AND that the report is accurate. You may not receive a copy of the police report at the scene. Make sure you obtain a copy from the police department. Take a look at the report to make sure the information is correct. Remember, the police officer most likely didn’t see the accident happen; you did.
- Take notes. Write down the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any person who witnessed the accident. If possible, get the name, telephone number and address of the driver and each passenger of the other vehicle. Get the name of the police officer, police department and any emergency vehicles on the scene. Ask the witnesses what they saw. Remember, you are jotting down notes to prepare your case, should you need them later.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. This includes pictures of the damages to both vehicles as well as the license plate of the other vehicle. Do not assume that if it is a minor collision, you don’t need pictures. You never know if the other driver will file a claim for more damage than actually occurred in the accident. Many cell phones now come equipped with a camera, but it is a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment or truck also. (This would be good if your phone gets damaged.)
- Know where your car is being towed and the name of the towing company. If your vehicle is towed, be sure to get the name of the tow company, their telephone number, and tell them where you want the vehicle towed BEFORE they tow the car. It is enough stress to have been involved in an accident, you don’t want to be wondering what happened to your vehicle.
- Go to the hospital or doctor immediately if you are injured. Even if you aren’t severely injured, you may be sore the next day. Some injuries will only be problematic 24 to 72 hours after an accident, so be sure to monitor your condition, and seek medical care immediately. Your injury may be worse than you first think.
- Seek the advice of an attorney. It is advisable to seek the advice of an attorney. Each case is different, and it is always best to get the opinion of a lawyer, even if you don’t think you need one. Most even offer free case evaluations. You can call or email me and I will evaluate your case and tell you if I think you need an attorney for your case, for FREE.
- DO NOT discuss your injury claim until you have spoken with an attorney.
What NOT to do after an Accident:
- DO NOT discuss fault with the other drivers or passengers, or witnesses, no matter who is at fault.
- DO NOT talk with the other person’s insurance company or give a recorded statement, UNTIL you have spoken with an attorney.
- DO NOT sign any insurance company documents or medical authorizations UNTIL you have spoken with an attorney.
- DO NOT take a settlement from the other driver or the other driver’s insurance company UNTIL you have spoken with an attorney.
Disclaimer: This information is NOT legal advice. The South Carolina Supreme court requires that I inform you that what is written is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer until you and I enter a written agreement for me to be your lawyer. I know the arguments the insurance company will make – and so should you – even before you file your claim. I can offer suggestions and identify traps, but please do not construe anything written in this blog to be legal advice about your case, as each case is different and an attorney can only give you quality legal advice when he or she understands the facts involved in your case.