Steps to take if you are the Victim of an Auto Accident
An auto accident can be overwhelming, confusing, and terrifying. As we have already noted several times, auto accidents are on the rise this summer in South Carolina. At the Goings Law Firm, LLC, we want you to be prepared if you are the unfortunate victim of a South Carolina auto accident. By taking certain key steps immediately after an accident you will be in a better position to hold the responsible party accountable for the damage they have caused you.
One of the fist things you should do after an accident is to take a deep breath and remain calm. This is not the time to loose your cool. Once you have collected yourself, put your hazard lights on.
Check for injuries.
First, make sure that you are ok, and then check with the passengers in your car to make sure they don’t have any serious or life threatening injuries. After checking everyone in your own car, check your surroundings, make sure it is safe to exit your car, and then check for serious or life-threatening injuries with the driver(s) or passenger(s) of other cars involved in the accident. If you believe that anyone has sustained serious or life-threatening injuries, then call 911 immediately.
Many injuries as a result of an auto accident are not immediately apparent. Because of the adrenalin and initial shock that often come with an auto accident, pain from back and neck injuries often manifests in the days or weeks following an accident. For this reason, it is always a good idea to call an ambulance to the scene of the accident and get checked out by a medical professional.
For minor accidents, move your car to safety.
Traffic surrounding an accident scene can often lead to further accidents or create further hazards for cars already involved. If your car is movable, then consider moving to the side of the road or a safer location. If you move your car, be sure to take pictures of your car as it is in the accident scene before moving it.
Call the police. Get an accident report.
An accident report can be very helpful for establishing liability. An officer will come to the scene and talk to both parties and fill out an accident report. In South Carolina, the accident report you receive at the scene will be called a form FR-10, be sure to save this form. You should call the police, even for the most minor accidents. The other driver may suggest not calling the police, but do not listen to them. Call the police anyways. Again, if there is an emergency, call 911. If it is a minor accident, police departments have non-emergency numbers.
In the City of Columbia, the non-emergency number for car accidents is: (803) 252-2911
Exchange information with the other driver and all witnesses.
You should get the other driver’s name, phone number, and address. You should also collect the insurance information. Be sure to get the insurance company name and the policy number. If there are any passengers in the other car, or if there are any witnesses to the accident, be sure to also get their name, address, and phone number(s).
This is your best chance to collect information about the accident. Take as many pictures as possible. Cell phone cameras are very handy in this situation. Be sure to get pictures of all cars involved in the accident. Also take pictures of the area of road or intersection where the accident occurred. If there are skid marks or any other evidence of the accident at the scene, be sure to take pictures of all of this.
Do not admit fault or apologize.
Even though the accident may not be your fault, you may be tempted to apologize for the accident. This could be viewed as an admission of fault. Often, fault for an accident is not clear, and you should refrain from any statement that could be viewed as an admission of fault.
Contact your insurance company.
Even when the accident is not your fault, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Give your insurance company the information (name, address, insurance policy, etc.) of the other drivers involved.
If you are injured as the result of an auto accident, then contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be very long and difficult process. If you believe you have sustained injuries, things can become even more complicated. Enlisting the help of an experienced Columbia personal injury attorney early in the process can go a long way in helping you deal with the complex aftermath of an auto accident. The South Carolina legal team at the Goings Law Firm, LLC has experience working with insurance companies to help ensure you get the best possible result for your injuries. If you have been injured by another driver’s negligence, then you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today at (803) 350-9230, for a free case consultation.