Car accidents happen every day, and the average person gets into them at least 3 or 4 times in their lifetime. In most cases, you won’t total your car or perceive yourself as hurt beyond a few bruises or some neck pain after a minor car accident. However, there’s still a lot of important protocol after a fender bender to ensure you don’t undermine your health or a possible legal settlement. With that in mind, here’s three things any South Carolina car accident lawyer would advise you to do, and one thing to avoid!
Do File a Police Report
Some may be tempted, especially for more minor accidents, to simply not involve the police. Though you can skip calling 911 if there’s no damage and only minor injuries, a car accident lawyer would definitely recommend you still call the local police department directly. Having a police report filed can provide information that later proves valuable if and when accident-related claims are filed by you or the other driver.
Do Go to the Hospital
Initially, you might feel fine after your accident. However, adrenaline often masks a lot of pain for the first 24 hours, so car accident law firms always recommend getting checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Neck and back pain after car accidents are no trite matter—people can experience such issues for the rest of their lives, so taking care of yourself should be a priority. Also, emergency room and medical services visits are often covered by personal injury protection (PIP) if they’re for injuries related to an accident. Last, going immediately or soon after will help protect your legal rights to compensation when you file a claim to your insurance company.
Do Gather Information
Before filing a claim, you’ll want to gather some information first. Though the police officer filing a report will include details from the accident scene, you can also take pictures of any damage, even if minor, and write down the contact information of any eyewitnesses. This way, you have concrete proof of the situation, and actual damage caused, just in case the other driver tries to tell a different story of what happened. You’ll also want to get a copy of the police report and gather all medical documents you have from a hospital visit, so these can be included if and when you do file a claim. If you’re worried about your insurance company not giving you a settlement that matches your pains and damages—many don’t—then contact a car accident and injury lawyer.
Don’t Admit Fault
You’ve heard a lot of do’s—so here’s one big “don’t.” Never admit fault after a car accident, whether to the other driver, witnesses, the police officer, or your insurance company. It doesn’t matter if you’re pretty sure you were at fault. Any car accident attorney would tell you that the police can objectively view the situation to decide what fault there is and the circumstances that factor in. It could be that you’re only partially at fault, or even not at all. Your insurance company makes the last call in the end, but if you think you need help representing yourself, don’t hesitate to contact a car collision attorney.
Drivers in North Carolina or South Carolina may face a lot of stress and even legal repercussions from a minor car accident if they don’t know what to do or not to do in the aftermath. Any car collision attorney will tell you not to panic, but make sure you have all your bases covered. You don’t want this small fender bender to negatively impact your health and expenses more than it already has!