While you may hear about car accidents on a near daily basis, when you experience one, you may find yourself at a loss for what to do. There may be serious injuries, substantial property damage and multiple involved parties all competing for your attention at once.
South Carolina experienced 39,466 collisions involving injuries and 925 involving fatalities in 2017. The moments after an accident can be critical to evaluate the extent of injuries, preserve what happened and collect key information to begin an insurance claim. Read on for a checklist of steps to take immediately after an accident:
- Pull over and call the police. Even if you don’t think there was any damage, stop and check. If the accident resulted in damage or injuries, call the police.
- Seek immediate medical attention. If you or any passengers suffered injuries that require urgent care, seek medical attention immediately.
- Exchange basic information with the other driver or party. Only exchange basic contact information. Limit the conversation and do not admit fault.
- Collect information from witnesses. If any bystanders or other drivers witnessed the accident, collect their contact information and account of the scene.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene to document the state of the vehicles and other property damage.
- Cooperate with police officers. Recount your description of the accident scene to responding officers and ask for them to file a police report.
- Inform your insurance company. Call your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of the accident and explain your account of events.
Taking these steps immediately can assist in filing a thorough insurance claim later that supports your account of the accident.
Steps to take after the accident
After the initial shock of the accident wears off, keep a detailed journal of the accident, your injuries and any expenses incurred since. If you have not already sought medical treatment, do so to evaluate the extent of your injuries. Keep track of the effects that your pain and suffering have taken on your daily life, including missed days of work or an inability to perform basic activities.
Lastly, exercise caution in speaking about the accident with anyone other than your own insurance company and police officers. Refrain from speaking with an insurance adjuster without an attorney present and consider seeking professional legal assistance before accepting an early settlement offer.