Knowing the 9 steps to take after a car accident before an accident occurs is important, especially when there are serious injuries. Car accidents are the main incident in which most personal injury issues arise, and they often require the expertise of a car accident attorney as there are complex legal and insurance issues involved that shouldn’t be handled on your own.  

In this blog we’ll not only cover the 9 steps to take after a car accident, we’ll also cover when to get an attorney for a car accident and other common questions clients ask following a car accident. 

9 Steps to Take After a Car Accident if There Are Serious Injuries 

  • Don’t Leave the Scene

Whether your accident is minor or serious, do not leave the scene of the accident until you have exchanged contact information with those involved. If police have responded to the accident, make sure to speak with them before leaving so you are not at risk of being charged for a hit-and-run.

  • Check for Injuries

If you or someone else has been seriously injured, you or someone else needs to call 911. Whoever is seriously injured should try not to move until emergency services arrive and can assess them.

  • Get to Safety

If possible, all of the people and vehicles involved in the car accident need to be moved to the side of the road or as far as possible out of the flow of traffic. 

  • Call Law Enforcement

Once you have safely moved out of danger, contact law enforcement, even if you believe it is a minor accident. They will file an accident report and document the scene, which can help determine who is at fault and provide more information to your insurance company. 

  • Don’t Admit Fault

Following an accident, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and admit fault. Do not admit fault following an accident. There are many factors in a car accident, and there may be traffic laws or regulations you are unaware of.

  • Document the Accident

There is a lot of information you will need to obtain to fully document the accident. This includes: names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, vehicle types, and insurance information. If there were passengers or witnesses, collect their contact information as well. 

Take photos of the damage to the cars involved, the surrounding scene, and any injuries you or others incurred during the accident. You’ll also want to write down the name and badge number of any law enforcement that responds to the accident, as well as request a copy of the accident report. 

  • Notify Your Insurance

If possible, contact your insurance company while you are at the scene of the car accident. This can help you obtain all the information needed to file and process your claim quickly and efficiently. If your car is not safe to drive, your insurance company can also help you have it towed to a certified body shop.

  • Get Medical Attention

Whether your injuries are immediately apparent or you begin to notice them in the days following the car accident, seek medical attention for any car accident injuries sustained. You can seek medical attention through the local emergency room, an urgent care office, or your family doctor. The important piece to remember is to seek medical care for your car accident injuries.

  • Consult a Car Accident Attorney

The aid of an expert car accident attorney can be helpful following a car accident. But whether or not your car accident was minor, when to get an attorney for a car accident may not be up to you. Others who are affected by the car accident may obtain legal counsel, leading you to also consult a lawyer as well. 

A car accident attorney’s expertise can a) help you better navigate the insurance claim process, b) negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and c) place someone on your case that knows your state’s laws and has your best interest as their main focus.

Do You Have to File a Police Report for an Accident in SC? 

Yes, car accident laws in SC state you must file a police report following a car accident. Under S.C. Ann. § 56-5-1260, drivers involved in a car accident that causes injury or death must immediately contact law enforcement. If the car accident is not reported, you risk having your license suspended or criminal charges.

Do You Have to Turn in an Accident Report to the DMV SC?

Car accident laws in SC also require you to submit an accident report to the SC DMV if damages exceed $1000 or the car accident results in injury or death. Similar to not reporting a car accident to law enforcement, if you do not report a car accident to the SC DMV, you may face license suspension or criminal charges.

What is the Statute of Limitations for an Auto Accident in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, you have three years from the date of your car accident to file a lawsuit for serious car accident injuries or damages. However, it is best to contact a car accident attorney who can help you understand certain time limitations and exceptions or other specific car accident laws that may apply to your car accident and personal injury case.

If Someone Causes an Accident and I Am Injured, How is That Other Person Responsible?

A person becomes liable following a car accident if their actions are deemed careless or thoughtless or they failed to act when a reasonable person would have acted. Who determines fault in a car accident? A person can only be deemed negligent or at fault for a car accident by a judge or jury. 

Many states, including South Carolina, now look at the comparative fault of the drivers involved in a car accident. For example, if you’re found to have contributed 25% to the cause of the accident and the defendant is 75% at fault, the defendant will likely only be responsible for 75% of your damages. In South Carolina, if you are less than 50% responsible for the car accident, you can file a claim against the driver that caused the accident.

Speak with your car accident attorney to better understand how the laws in your state can affect your case. 

Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in Beaufort, SC 

Even knowing the key steps to take after a car accident, consulting an experienced car accident attorney can help save you time and stress following an accident. Many of the expert auto accident attorneys in Beaufort, SC work in our personal injury department. Any of these attorneys would be an asset to your case.

Harvey and Battey is your full service law firm in Beaufort, SC with over 100 years of experience and a strong reputation. With Harvey and Battey, you get the personalized attention of a small firm combined with the knowledge and resources of a large firm. Our attorneys have years of experience in many practice areas such as family law, real estate, estate planning, personal injury, and more. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys in Beaufort, SC regarding your specific circumstances and learn how we can be your law firm for life.