You’ve Been In A Car Accident – What Do You Do Now? 7 Simple Tips
Accidents happen. Unfortunately, they happen quite often involving motor vehicles. Car accidents can happen to anyone at any time. When they do, they can be very traumatic and stress-inducing, even if you are not seriously hurt. If you remember to follow the following 7 simple tips, you will do a great deal towards protecting your rights and meeting your responsibilities after an accident.
1. Stop In A Safe Location.
Do not leave the scene of the accident! This is against the law in South Carolina. Try to stop your vehicle as soon as you can safely. If you can safely relocate your vehicle out of the flow of traffic, do so to a nearby location, such as the side of the road. If your vehicle is inoperable or unable to be moved, turn on your emergency flashers to warn any other drivers. Once safe to do so, exit the vehicle and get to a safe location out of the road.
2. Help Any Injured.
If you can do so safely, check and see if you or anyone else involved in the accident have been injured. If anyone is and you can safely provide minor assistance, do so. Do not attempt to move someone if they appear to be seriously injured, as you may cause more harm.
3. Call Law Enforcement.
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It’s important to report any vehicle accident to law enforcement. If there are injuries or any vehicles are still located in the roadway impeding traffic, call 911 as soon as possible. If the accident is minor, still call 911, inform the operator that is not an emergency, but you are requesting an officer to the scene of an accident. Once law enforcement arrives, be courteous and assist in their investigation if they ask. Insist that the officer issue a police report.
4. Exchange Information.
While waiting on law enforcement to arrive, gather your driver’s license and insurance information. If possible, exchange any such information with any other drivers involved. You will need to obtain as much of the following information as possible:
- Name, address, driver’s license number, and telephone number of all drivers
- Insurance company, policy number, expiration date of policy, and covered drivers of any driver’s insurance
- Make, model (if known), and VIN number for any vehicles involved
5. Take Photos And Take Notes.
It is important that you document the accident and the scene as much as possible. Everyone’s memory fades, and a minor detail may be critical in the future. Take notes on the events that led up to the accident; take note of the time, weather, and traffic; get the names and contact information of any witnesses and what they saw. If you can do so safely, take photographs of all vehicles and any damage; also, take photos of the scene and surrounding areas. Be sure to take a quick note as to how any other involved parties are acting. If you think it may be important, document it.
6. Seek Medical Attention If Needed.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is very important that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you feel “OK” or just feel like you’re “bumped and bruised” following the accident, it is still critical that you are examined by medical personnel for any underlying or latent injuries. If you feel that you need immediate treatment, do not hesitate to ask the law enforcement officer or inform 911 that you need an ambulance.
7. Report The Accident To Your Insurance.
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South Carolina law requires that you report any motor vehicle accident to your insurance company, even if you were not at fault. Do this as soon as you possibly can. If the law enforcement officer on the scene gave you a document called an FR-10 form, you will need to send this to your insurance company. Make sure to take note of any names, contact information, and claim numbers so that you can quickly get in touch with your insurance adjusters.
Any time that you are have been involved in a car accident, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities. We hope that these seven tips will help you during the already stressful time following an accident. If you’ve been the victim of an accident, these tips will set you in the right direction to ensure that you are compensated for your property damage expenses and any medical expenses. If you would like to discuss your case with the legal team at Schiller & Hamilton, call us today for a free strategy session.