What to Do After a Car Accident – A Checklist to Follow
Last year, South Carolina was ranked as the third deadliest state when it came to fatal car accidents. Far too often, individuals act in negligence and there are countless collisions to show for it. Even more unfortunate is the fact that not everyone understands what steps can protect them when needing to move forward with a claim (or potential lawsuit) following the crash.
There are some things that are important for individuals to do in the moments following an accident. These are often forgotten or overlooked — and understandably so as many accidents can cause serious shock and confusion about what to do next.
Our South Carolina car accident attorneys explain some of the most important things to do in a checklist that you can use following a crash to protect your rights.
Get To Safety
While the individuals involved in a car accident are most notably impacted following a crash, there may be others on the road who must avoid the accident. Unfortunately, these other vehicles may also pose a potential threat to those involved in the crash who may be getting out of their vehicles.
If you’re in an accident, be sure that you can get out of your vehicle safely. Either pull the vehicle to the side of the road if possible, or if the vehicle is not moving, get out when you can and ensure you and all other parties involved are off the road.
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Gather Necessary Information
Filing a claim or lawsuit is difficult without the right information. After the accident, as long as you’re physically able to, make sure you gather the necessary information from the other driver(s) involved and any individuals who may have witnessed the collision.
Some of the information you want to gather include the following:
- The other party’s driver’s license
- License plate numbers
- Contact information (of the other driver and witnesses)
- Insurance coverage information
Report the Accident to Your Insurance and the Proper Authorities
In accidents involving significant property damage and bodily injury, the proper authorities should be notified. This means getting the police and potentially paramedics to the scene of the accident to help get statements and provide medical attention.
You also want to file a claim with your insurance company. Be sure to provide them with the contact information of the other driver and their insurance coverage. This allows your provider to start the process.
Take Photos to Provide As Evidence to Your Insurance Provider and Legal Team
In any matter of “he said, she said” such as the time following an accident, it’s important to have as much evidence as possible. This is especially true if the other party is trying to deny liability for their actions and attempting to pass off fault.
Taking photos can be extremely helpful. For instance, taking photos of the scene of the accident can help to show if there are any road dangers that contributed to the crash. Taking photos of the damage to the vehicles involved can give a better idea of the angle at which the crash occurred. Taking photos of any visible injuries can help to show that you were in
fact hurt as a result of the accident.
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Be Sure to Seek Medical Care As Soon As Possible
Because crashes can be sudden, and shock can set in so quickly, adrenaline can make it difficult for you to recognize any potential pain that you may experience. Thus, so many people involved in an accident fail to seek medical attention until days later. This is also often due to some injuries having a brief latency and they may appear days or weeks later.
Getting medical attention quickly allows you to begin the treatment you need, as well as helps you secure a medical record that can be used in your claim. Your diagnosis can help show that you did in fact sustain harm due to the crash.
Obtain Legal Representation from a Lawyer You Trust
You may not think that legal action is necessary following a car crash, but when another party is at fault, their insurance company may be difficult to negotiate with to obtain compensation. They’re trying to pay out as little as possible, and they may try to obtain statements from you that they can use against you.
Hiring a legal team can help you protect your rights when the other party attempts to take advantage of a vulnerable situation. A lawyer will know the tactics the defense uses and can help you be well prepared for all there is to come in the aftermath of the accident.
Once you gathered all the documentation discussed above (including the police report, photos, witnesses’ contact details, and medical records), present them to your car accident attorney Columbia SC. If necessary, your lawyer will conduct a more thorough investigation, deposing witnesses and hiring experts to testify in court on your behalf if the case goes to trial. Over 90% of such cases settle out of the court, offering victims the opportunity of a faster recovery. Nevertheless, if the at-fault party’s legal representatives or insurance company does not present a satisfactory offer, your attorney will initiate a lawsuit so a judge or jury rule in your favor.
South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Fighting On Your Behalf
With the experience and knowledge you need in your corner, our South Carolina car accident attorneys are ready to fight for your rights. We recognize the aftermath of a car accident caused by negligence can be difficult to endure. As such, we aim to help you seek the justice and compensation you need with a focus on your best interests.
At Anastopoulo Law Firm, you are our top priority. We utilize more than 25 years of experience to help you know what comes next. To give you the peace of mind you need, we offer our services on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we are successful in securing compensation for you.