According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, in 2019, there were 1,009 fatalities resulting from 977 fatal traffic crashes in the state. Additionally, there were over 100,000 traffic collisions, resulting in approximately  40,000 injuries

Being in a car accident is rather nerve-wracking, hence it is vital to stay calm, cool, and collected afterward to deal with the aftermath. This article provides you with a step-by-step guide after an auto accident in South Carolina. 

Ensure Safety First

Check For Injuries

The first thing to do after a car accident is to assess the situation and ensure your safety and that of others involved. Check yourself for any injuries and then check on the condition of any passengers or other parties involved in the accident. 

If there are any injuries, call 911 immediately. Even if the injuries seem minor, it is always better to be safe and have medical professionals assess the situation

Move To A Safe Location

If the accident is not too severe and there are no injuries, move your vehicle to a safe location to avoid further collisions and car crashes. If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road or a nearby parking lot. 

This will help prevent any additional accidents and ensure that you and the other parties involved are out of harm’s way. 

However, if the accident is serious or if you are unable to move your vehicle, it is important to stay in your car and wait for emergency services to arrive. 

Contact Authorities

Contact The Police

Contact the police after a car accident, even if it seems minor. Calling the police ensures that an official report is filed, which can be necessary for insurance claims and legal purposes. The police will also help manage the situation and ensure that all necessary steps are taken.

Gather Information For The Police

When the police arrive at the scene, be prepared to provide them with important information about the accident. This includes details such as the location of the accident, the number of vehicles involved, and any injuries sustained. Additionally, provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information to the authorities. Gathering this information promptly can help expedite the process and ensure that the police report is accurate and comprehensive.

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Exchange Information After Accident

Collect Information From The Other Parties

After ensuring everyone’s safety and contacting the authorities, exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident. This includes obtaining their names, contact information, driver’s license numbers, insurance information, and vehicle details. Gather this information from all parties involved, including drivers, passengers, and witnesses.

Photograph The Accident Scene And Vehicles

Alongside exchanging information, take photos of the accident immediately after the accident. Use your smartphone to take photos of the damage at the scene of an accident including all vehicles involved, license plates, traffic signs, and the surrounding area. These photos can serve as valuable evidence when dealing with insurance companies and legal matters.

Write Down The Names Of Witnesses

If there are any witnesses to the accident, be sure to write down their statements and contact information. Witness statements can provide valuable insight into the cause of the accident and can help support your claim with insurance companies.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Report The Accident

After ensuring your safety, contacting the authorities, and exchanging information, the next crucial step is to notify your insurance company about the accident. 

In South Carolina, the average car insurance premium is $1,533 per year, which is 13% higher than the national average. Promptly reporting an accident to your insurer is essential for initiating the claims process and receiving assistance, as failure to do so may result in claim denial or policy cancellation.

Follow Your Insurer’s Instructions

Upon reporting the accident, your insurance company will provide you with specific instructions on the next steps to take. They may guide you on submitting documentation, scheduling repairs, or interacting with claims adjusters. 

Follow their guidance diligently to ensure a smooth claims process and determine if an adjuster needs to inspect the damage in person. Adhering to your insurer’s instructions can help expedite your claim and facilitate a quicker resolution.

Seek Medical Attention

Visit A Doctor

Regardless of whether you feel injured or not, receive a medical evaluation after a car accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a healthcare professional can identify any hidden conditions that require attention.

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Keep Records Of Medical Expenses

Preserve all medical bills, receipts, and related documentation from your healthcare provider. These records will be valuable when submitting insurance claims and seeking reimbursement for medical expenses. Keeping accurate records ensures that you can provide comprehensive evidence of your injuries and associated costs, which is key for a successful claim.

Understand South Carolina Laws

Filing A Police Report

In South Carolina, it’s legally required to file a police report if the accident results in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. Familiarize yourself with these requirements to ensure you comply with the law and protect your interests.

Statute Of Limitations

Be aware of the Statute of Limitations for filing lawsuits related to the accident in South Carolina. Generally, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit and two years for property damage claims. Understanding these time limits is crucial for pursuing legal action if necessary.

Consider Our Legal Help

When To Contact Our Lawyers

If you’ve suffered injuries or are facing significant damage, consider seeking legal advice from our reputable lawyer with experience in personal injury claims and car accident cases. We can help you navigate the complex legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and protect your rights. 

Follow Up With Your Insurance Company Regarding What To Do Next

Check Claim Status

Regularly monitor the progress of your insurance claim to ensure it’s being handled efficiently. If you encounter any issues or delays, contact your insurance company for clarification and assistance.

Understand Your Coverage

Review your insurance policy to understand what is covered and what is not. Familiarize yourself with deductibles, coverage limits, and any specific conditions that may apply to your claim. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions and avoid any unexpected costs or surprises during the claims process.

What Can Be Included In A Compensatory Award After a Car Accident In South Carolina?

The valuation of compensatory awards after an automobile accident in South Carolina differs depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. However, some factors which affect the value of compensatory awards include:

Medical Expenses.

In South Carolina, the average cost of a hospital stay is around $1,800 per day, and the average cost of surgery is around $15,000.

• Lost Wages

Inability to work due to injuries would make you entitled to compensation for lost wages, including your future earnings.  In South Carolina, the average weekly wage is around $800. 

• Property Damage

The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle or any other personal property damaged in the accident may be significant in determining the compensatory award.

• Pain And Suffering

The valuation of pain and suffering is subjective and dependent on the severity of the injury and its impact on your daily life and recovery. There is no specific formula for calculating the pain and suffering damages, it’s under the discretion of the court. However, factors such as medical treatment, impact on physical and emotional well-being, and overall impact on quality of life may be taken under consideration.

• Punitive Damages

Sometimes, punitive damages may be awarded to punish at-fault parties who display reckless behavior such as drunk driving. In South Carolina, punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. 

It’s important to note that the specific damages you may be entitled to will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options for pursuing compensation after a car accident in South Carolina.

Who Should Pay for My Medical Expenses If I Get Injured In A Car Accident In South Carolina?

In South Carolina, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is typically responsible for paying for your medical expenses if you are injured in a car accident. This is because South Carolina is a “fault” state, meaning that the driver who caused the accident is legally responsible for any damages or injuries that result.

If you were not at fault for the accident, you could file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for your medical expenses. This may include costs for hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and other related medical expenses.

If the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies your claim or offers a settlement that does not cover your medical expenses, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation. In this case, a court may award you damages for your medical expenses, as well as other related damages such as lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.

It’s important to note that if you were partially at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault. This is known as “comparative negligence,” and it means that if you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by 20%.

It is important to work with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you negotiate and navigate these arrangements. If you have been in a car accident recently in South Carolina, book a consultation with us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I Need To Hire A Car Accident Lawyer In South Carolina?

A: If you’ve been injured in a car accident in South Carolina, it’s advisable to consult with a car accident lawyer to understand your legal rights and options for pursuing a personal injury claim.

Q: What Steps Should I Take To Protect My Rights In A Car Accident Case?

A: To protect your rights in a car accident case, avoid admitting fault, seek medical attention, follow the law requirements for reporting the accident, and consult with an experienced car accident lawyer.

Q: How Can A Car Accident Attorney Help With My Insurance Claim?

A: A car accident attorney can assist you in negotiating with insurance companies, gathering evidence to support your claim, and representing your best interests in settlement negotiations or court proceedings.

Q: What Are Common Car Accident Injuries In South Carolina?

A: Common car accident injuries in South Carolina include whiplash, back injuries, head injuries, fractures, and soft tissue injuries. Seeking medical treatment promptly is essential for your health and potential legal case.

Q: What Should I Do If I Was Involved In a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?

A: If you were involved in a car accident in South Carolina that wasn’t your fault, document the incident, gather witness information, report the accident to the authorities, and seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer.

Q: How Can A South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Help An Accident Victim?

A: A South Carolina car accident lawyer can provide legal representation and guidance to accident victims, helping them navigate the complexities of personal injury claims, insurance disputes, and legal proceedings to pursue fair compensation.

Q: Do I Need To File A Police Report If There Are No Injuries Or Significant Damage?

A: While it’s not required by law, it’s still a good idea to file a police report to document the accident and any damage.

Q: What If The Other Driver Leaves The Scene Of The Accident?

A: If the other driver leaves the accident scene, try to get as much information as possible, such as their license plate number, and call the police immediately.

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