What Should I Do at the Scene of a Car Accident?

Get the Help You Need Now
Contact Schiller & Hamilton Law Firm
Free Consultation
★★★★★ Google 300+ Google Reviews

The first thing you should do at the scene of a car accident is to check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If safe to do so, move your car out of the lane of traffic.

If another car was involved in the accident and you are physically able, check to see if those occupants are injured. Call law enforcement and dial 911, and provide what help you can until an ambulance arrives. Prepare yourself to answer officers’ questions or gather evidence if no officer investigates.

When do I Report a Car Accident?

According to S.C. Ann. Code. § 56-51270, if there is an injury or death as the result of a car accident, or property damage to the amount of $1,000 or more, call 911 and report the accident while at the scene.

Suppose law enforcement didn’t come to the scene. In that case, the owner or driver of the vehicle involved in the accident must file Form-309 (Traffic Collision Report Form) with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) within 15 days of the accident.

What Information do I Include in a Car Accident Report?

Once you’ve done all you can for injuries requiring immediate care, move your vehicle out of traffic if safe to do so. Then, it’s time for you and the other driver to exchange the following information, taking pictures of the following:

  • Full names, ages, genders, and contact information of drivers and passengers
  • Driver’s license numbers and vehicle registrations
  • Insurance company names and policy numbers
  • License plate number and VIN
  • Make, model, and color of vehicles

In addition to the information you receive from the other driver, you may need the following when reporting the accident to your insurance company and completing a traffic collision report:

  • Accident location, time, road conditions, and weather conditions
  • Witness names, contact information, and statements
  • A detailed description of how the accident occurred and any injuries, deaths, or property damage noted after the accident
  • Descriptions of where passengers were sitting in each vehicle
  • Descriptions and pictures of the accident scene and damage on each vehicle
  • Video of the scene and any damages, if possible

Report the accident to your insurance company as quickly as possible.

The Importance of Accepting Medical Care Following a Car Accident

When the paramedics arrive, have them conduct a physical examination at the scene. If they deem it best for you to go to the hospital, take their advice. Even if you don’t feel pain in the moment, you may have suffered injuries that have yet to show symptoms. According to Mayo Clinic, that may be the case with traumatic brain injuries.

If no one called an ambulance to the scene, you should still go to your primary care doctor or urgent care. A doctor can diagnose your injuries and begin your treatment.

Not only does seeking medical care help ensure you’re okay, but it also demonstrates that the car accident directly led to your injuries. That way, the insurance adjuster may have a more difficult time disputing your claim for compensation.

What Should I Not Do at the Scene of a Car Accident?

Knowing what not to do at the scene of a car accident is as important as knowing what to do:

  • After a car accident, you may feel rattled or even be in shock. It will take time to figure out exactly what happened and who may have been at fault for the accident. Do not accept blame or apologize at the scene of the accident.
  • Do not leave the scene of the accident. Otherwise, you may face charges for fleeing the scene of an accident.
  • Do not ignore injuries, pain, or discomfort or wait a few days to receive care.
  • Do not speak with insurance company representatives until you speak with a personal injury attorney.

How Long After the Car Accident Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

If you want to sue the other party for damages, South Carolina’s statute of limitations, S.C. Ann. Code § 15-3-530, is generally three years from the day of the car accident. If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit because of injuries your loved one sustained in the accident, the same timeline still applies.

Don’t wait to take action. Waiting too long to file may prohibit you from holding the other party accountable for your losses.

Learn About What to Do at the Scene of a Car Accident in a Free Consultation

The aftermath of a car accident can bring pain and confusion that may last for weeks or months. Our personal injury attorneys at Schiller & Hamilton can fight to help you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We don’t take any fees unless we recover damages for you.

Schiller & Hamilton Law Firm

We’ve Got Your Back
Call Us for a Free Case Evaluation

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.