Picture this–you’re at work when you receive the dreaded phone call that your spouse was involved in a car accident. They’re okay, but they were driving your car. Does that make you liable for damages, even though you were nowhere near the scene of the crash?
It could, which is why it’s best to ask a car accident attorney in South Carolina to get the most accurate answer for your case. After all, different states have different laws.
Today, we’ll discuss what to do after a car accident that your spouse causes. We’ll also talk about why you should hire a car accident attorney to handle the situation.
What Are Car Accident Attorneys?
A car accident attorney can help you clear any tickets your spouse was given, seek settlements if your spouse is entitled to them, and minimize your liability. How much does a car accident lawyer cost? Car accident attorneys are usually paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning they’ll take a percentage of your settlement earnings.
This means there is no upfront cost, and they are only paid if you win your case. Because there’s little risk, it makes sense to hire an attorney if your spouse causes a crash.
Can You Prove Your Spouse Isn’t Liable?
It’s possible to dispute a claim that your spouse is liable for the accident; this will depend on how well they documented the scene. When your spouse calls you to tell you there’s been an accident, they must:
Seek Medical Attention
Even if your spouse is only slightly injured, it’s important to seek medical attention. Not only can seemingly minor issues become serious conditions, but having the hospital document injuries helps them build a settlement case.
Collect Contact Information
Next, your spouse should approach the other driver and take down their name, contact information, and car insurance information. This will help both drivers file claims with the insurance companies.
The companies will do an investigation and determine who is at fault, and your spouse can dispute this if they’d like to. Car insurance companies can pay for vehicle damages and personal injuries, so make sure your spouse doesn’t overlook this step.
Make sure your spouse takes plenty of photos of the scene. Their pictures should include every car involved from different angles to give the insurance company the full picture of what happened. They should also take pictures of debris and skid marks, as this evidence can build a more complete picture of the scene of the crash.
Your spouse should see if any witnesses who were at the scene of the crash can testify as to what happened. They may be able to show that your spouse wasn’t liable for the accident, and this statement may be considered valuable to the car insurance company.
Give a Statement to the Police
The police should always be called to the scene of an accident. This is your spouse’s opportunity to tell law enforcement exactly what happened.
They should remain factual and truthful without overexaggerating any details. The officer will piece together a statement that can be used to show innocence, especially if your spouse isn’t cited with any charges or infractions.
Who Is Liable?
In South Carolina, the person who causes the accident is typically the one who’s held liable for damages and injuries. There are exceptions to this rule, though, including the Family Purpose Doctrine. This doctrine states that when you allow a family member to use a motor vehicle, you are responsible for the damages they cause by driving it.
Thankfully, you should have your spouse on your car insurance policy, so they would still be covered.
Contact a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney
If your spouse gets in a wreck with your car, it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible. They can help you navigate the legal and insurance system to make sure no mistakes are made. Call the experts at Strom Law today to see how we can help!