Accidents can happen at any time. No matter how good the driver, a person can still be involved in a crash and sometimes left with a totaled vehicle and serious personal injuries. This is particularly the case in Columbia, South Carolina which was ranked the second worst in the nation for drivers. While your insurance is intended to protect you against financial consequences that could break the bank, you could still end up on the hook for medical bills and car repairs. Being informed about what do if in an accident before it happens is the smart way to protect yourself. Here's a list of things you need to know if you or a loved one is involved in an accident in Columbia SC.
The first thing you want to do when a collision occurs is to check for injuries among those involved. That includes all passengers who were riding in your vehicle and everyone in the other automobile. If there has been any apparent physical injuries, immediately call 911. It's also important to remember that an internal injury can potentially be life-threatening and waiting to get help could make the situation worse. You should get checked by EMS after a car accident have record of your physical condition and ensure you don't have injuries you are unaware.
Then, of course, you should always report the accident to the authorities. This is the case even when an accident seems relatively minor. An officer will come to the scene to fill out a report, or you may be able to file one at your local precinct. This is important to have the record for your insurance claim or if anyone were to bring a claim against you.
When completing the report, it’s crucial to be as detailed as possible and include everything you can remember. It’s also a good idea to get a copy of the report for your records, in case you end up in court later on.
Always take pictures of all the cars involved in the incident as soon as possible, noting any damage and how they’re positioned including photos of the area, including traffic signs or signals, lane markings, trees and anything you believe may have aided to the crash. Make a note of where in Columbia the accident occurred, the time of day, which direction you were heading and how fast you were going if possible.
Sometimes the other driver will tell you they don’t want to get their insurance company involved, but it's essential that you exchange the relevant information make sure to get their full name, address, and phone number as well as the name of their insurance company. Write down the car’s make, model and tag number and make sure they have all of your information as well. You should also get the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident which may be needed later on as proof.
If it’s possible, you should call your insurance company while you’re still at the scene of the accident. The agent you talk to should be able to tell you what you need to do next to file a claim. They should advise you in what kind of things you don’t want to do, which would include admitting guilt or signing anything that hasn’t first been reviewed by your insurer.
Once you’ve alerted the insurance company and begin the claims process, continue to document everything that happens. If you were injured, for instance, it’s a wise idea to keep copies of your doctor’s reports and medical bills.
It’s also vital to hold on to any receipts for all car repairs you pay for out-of-pocket. If the other motorist or their insurance company tries to contact you, remember to make a note of the call and politely refer them to the adjuster who is managing your claim or your lawyer.
When a car accident happens, it’s up to the insurance companies to try and determine who ’s liable and what each party is responsible for financially. While it’s generally in the best interest of both sides to settle, there are situations where one person may decide to take the dispute to court. You should always speak with an experienced attorney following a car accident.
Never make an admission of fault at the scene of the accident, as they admission can and will be related in court to your detriment. Insurance companies will normally not settle claims in favor of a party who made an admission. Even if you think you may have done something wrong, the other driver may be more at fault.
The more you know, the more prepared you will be if you are involved in an accident.