No one goes about their day expecting to get into an accident, so people often find themselves unprepared and unsure of what to do after such a sudden event. Because car accidents happen so quickly, it can be hard to process how they even happened.
Since we know the aftermath of car accidents can be overwhelming, we’ve made it easy for you to get the information and help you need and deserve!
Read on to learn what you need to do immediately following your accident.
It may seem like common sense, but when you’ve been in a car accident, before you do anything else, call 911. Even in a minor collision, you should always call 911 to report your accident and request police assistance.
According to S.C. Ann. § 56-5-1260, a driver must immediately report the collision to the local police department, county sheriff, or South Carolina Highway Patrol if anyone is injured or killed. Any driver, not just the at-fault driver, is obligated to report the accident. Law enforcement can provide a police report, and can they help you gather the details of your accident—this will help with insurance or court negotiations down the road.
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Seek Medical Attention
If you are seriously injured, the detail gathering and reporting steps above can wait; your priority should always be your health. If you’re seriously injured and need an ambulance, 911 will be able to assist you with that.
If your accident is not acute, you should still go to your personal care physician or urgent care immediately after the police report is complete. When you’re in an accident, your body goes into protection mode, making it hard to tell if you’ve suffered any injuries, and some injuries may not show up until later. Having visited a doctor after your accident will be very helpful should you need to file a claim in the future.
Document the Details
They say that “the devil’s in the details,” but in the case of a car accident, details will be your best friend. If you’re able, take pictures of the damage—take note of any dents, broken glass, tire tracks, etc.
Having your documents well organized will give you the advantage if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, especially if you have an injury resulting from someone else’s negligence.
These documents may include police reports, medical evaluations, witness statements, insurance information, and opinions of witnesses. Keep in mind that every case is different, so it’s best to keep any and all relevant information about your accident.
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Talk to an Attorney
If you wish to file a claim against the person responsible for your car accident, having a skilled accident attorney can evaluate your case, help you get the compensation you deserve, and help alleviate the financial burden of your accident. You shouldn’t talk to just any attorney, though. Each has its own area of expertise. That’s why it’s important to choose an experienced personal injury lawyer who has the knowledge of traffic laws in your area, experience litigating in court, and testimonials that speak to their success in handling similar cases. You should still talk to an attorney even if you’re working with a tight budget. Many firms will evaluate your case free of charge and work on a contingency basis. Meaning they only get paid if you win your case.
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Start the process early and create your claim as soon as possible after speaking with an attorney. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for a settlement in the case of a car wreck is three years. Insurance companies are not on your side and may try to run out the clock, leaving you empty-handed.
Creating a claim early on allows you the time you may need to fight for the coverage you are rightfully owed. Get ahead of the game, so you have the option to take your claim to court within three years if needed.
Driving is an essential part of our daily routines, but the fact is, even though you may be taking every necessary precaution to drive safely, others may not be so considerate. That’s where we come in! If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please know that the attorneys at the Hammack Law firm are here to help you every step of the way. Don’t create a claim without consulting an expert who can fight for you. Give us a call, and we’ll take care of the rest.