In the moments immediately following a truck, motorcycle, or auto accident, you can be confused and scared. It is important to remain calm and take a few very important steps to protect your rights. Seeking legal counsel from a skilled South Carolina auto accident attorney who can advise you of the important “do’s and don’ts” immediately following an auto accident is crucial. The legal team at Double Aught Injury Lawyers is here to help you recover compensation for your injuries and can lead you through all the legal steps necessary to do so.
While contacting an experienced auto accident attorney is extremely important, here are a few other important points to make note of in case you are ever involved in a car accident. Adhering to these small steps immediately following the auto accident can make a huge difference when it comes time to settle your personal injury claim.
What Should I Do After a SC Auto Accident?
First and foremost, it is essential that you seek medical attention following a car accident. If you or any others involved in the wreck are seriously injured, call emergency medical services right away. For minor injuries, you can wait to see a doctor after speaking to the responding law enforcement officers. However, always visit a doctor after being in an auto accident. If you are uncertain about the severity of your injury or even feel okay, it is smart to make an appointment with your primary care physician. Let your doctor evaluate you for any injuries that may not be obviously apparent. Some injuries do not surface until days and even weeks after the actual accident. It is important to have a medical record of your condition as soon as possible after the accident to prevent the at-fault driver’s insurance company from arguing that you were already hurt prior to the accident.
Next, always call law enforcement even for minor fender benders. It is always a good idea to have the police come out and document a record of the accident. Most insurance companies require a police report to process a claim. Police have undergone training to teach them how to investigate the scene of an accident and make notations as to what caused the accident. They can take witnesses’ statements and gather physical evidence. The police officer also determines who is the at-fault party and may issue that driver a traffic violation. This can be beneficial to proving that the opposing driver was responsible for the accident and your injuries. Remember that if the police officer does not give you a copy of the report you need to ask for one. The report will help your attorney when filing or fighting for a claim. If you lose the report, you may obtain a copy through the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
Once the police have been contacted, you should take a few moments to take note of who the witnesses are. Get any names, addresses, and phone numbers of those that saw the accident. You do not have to wait for the police to arrive to start gathering information. You can get the names, addresses, and insurance information of all drivers involved in the accident. Your auto accident attorney can use the information to contact the other driver’s insurance and negotiate with them on your behalf.
After calling the police and exchanging insurance information, start taking photos of the damages and the accident scene. Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone and can take multiple photos and save them immediately. In the past, it was recommended to keep a disposable camera in your glove box, but now keeping a backup cell phone charger may be more useful. You will want to get photos of the license plates and all automobile damage. This includes your car and all others involved. If the at-fault driver’s car has damages that look pre-existing, snap a couple photos just to be safe. You do not want them trying to file a claim against you for something that did not occur during this particular accident. Also take photos of the surroundings, for example the intersection, landmarks, or street signs where the accident happened. Record the details of the accident with a pad and pencil or type everything you want to remember into your cell phone. Include details like the weather conditions and traffic flow. Note the appearance or behavior of the other driver.
Be mindful of your words and actions immediately following the collision. Many times, people are surprised to find out that your behavior following an accident can have a large impact on a personal injury claim. Avoid making statements that can be taken out of context or misconstrued and used against you later. This could be a simple apology. Even in instances where you believe that you are at fault (fully or partially), you need to be mindful of what is said. Any expression of remorse could be taken as a sign of guilt. Be polite and kind, and avoid calling out blame. It is important to note that if someone is injured, it is acceptable to ask if they are okay and offer them medical assistance if needed.
Always be truthful with the police, but there is no need to give any more information than what is necessary. Giving up extra information can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and may get turned against you later. Respond directly to the officer and be brief and honest with your responses. Many times police officers are left with a he said/she said scenario. So it is important to remain calm and keep a poised demeanor no matter the circumstance.
Consult with an Auto Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Case
Once you have spoken with the responding officer and they have completed their investigation, you should visit both your local doctor and a South Carolina auto accident attorney. The law office of Double Aught Injury Lawyers is one of professionalism and compassion. Our firm understands the stresses of dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident. Our skilled legal team will help you every step of the way. We know how to deal with the insurance company, so you can focus on your personal recovery. Let the Double Aught Injury Lawyers do the work for you and get you the compensation you deserve following your auto accident.