Some car accidents are inevitable no matter how carefully you drive, which is why you need to know how to immediately respond when you’re involved in an accident. For instance, you need to seek legal advice for car accidents from a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina. Car accident lawyers can best support you when you don’t end up incriminating yourself at the scene of the accident or when filing a car accident claim.
You also need to be aware of what causes the most car accidents and how you can avoid them to stay safe on the road. In Columbia, you can find a qualified trusted personal injury attorney for advice on what to do when you are involved in a car accident. Strom Law is one of the top firms for personal injury litigation in Columbia. Here are some useful legal tips for you to keep in mind should you find yourself in an accident.
Never Admit Fault at the Scene
One of the most incriminating things after a car accident is the statement made at the scene of the accident. Your attorney will tell you not to accept liability at the scene, even if you think you’re at fault.
Accidents happen quickly, and even if you believe you’re at fault, you may not be. Stick only to what the law says is protocol following an accident. State law stipulates that the involved parties should share insurance information with each other.
Report the Accident
According to South Carolina law, you should immediately report the car accident to the police and your insurance company, especially if it’s a serious car accident that leaves you or other parties involved with serious injuries or causes serious property damages of over $500. A police report is necessary to file a successful car accident compensation claim.
The court will rely on the police report to determine who’s liable for the car accident because it’s more believable than the witness statements made by the involved parties. The report includes important details about the accident like the date, time, and location of the accident.
Your insurance company can reject your claim if you fail to report the accident immediately. Your lawyer will advise you to report the accident to your insurer promptly. They’ll also help you to file the claim. When you’re reporting the accident to your insurance company, ask the insurance agent about the benefits you can get under your policy.
Some of the insurance benefits you’re likely to receive after an accident include car repair, wage loss, medical expenses, and rental cars. Most of these benefits are available even before you settle the claim with the other involved parties. Furthermore, these benefits won’t increase your insurance rates if you weren’t liable for the accident.
Work Together with Your Insurer
Your insurance company may require recording your account of the accident, detailing what happened and who was liable. They’ll also need to examine your car for damages and talk to your medical doctor for a comprehensive medical report. Failure to cooperate with the insurer may prevent you from claiming your full benefits.
Never Sign Any Legal Documents Immediately
You should never sign any document for the other involved parties or their insurance companies before you talk to your lawyer. Signing any document might deny you valuable rights and benefits. Your lawyer needs to review the documents and advise you on next steps.
Furthermore, never issue a recorded or written statement about the accident to the other involved parties or their insurer. Your car accident attorney will tell you never to allow anyone to record you or take statements from you about the accident. There is no state law that requires you to submit a statement to other involved parties.
Even if you’re not responsible for the accident, the statements to make at the scene may be misrepresented or used against you in court. Contact your insurance company and your car accident lawyer immediately after the accident for advice on the steps you need to take.
Seek Medical Attention
If the accident has left you with bodily injuries, seek medical care immediately. Follow the advice given by your doctor. If you ignore your physician’s advice, you may end up losing your insurance benefits and claim. This is particularly important when the accident leaves you with life-threatening injuries or completely incapacitated.
Remember to keep your medical bills and any days you’ve stayed off work due to the injuries sustained in the accident. You’ll need these documents as evidence when filing a claim. The court or insurance company will need this information to determine the damages you deserve.
Talk to Your Lawyer
Contact your car accident attorney for advice as soon as possible–they’ll advise you on the steps you need to take to avoid costly problems later. Legal advice helps you navigate this emotional and complicated situation so you can receive the compensation you’re entitled to.