The moments after a car accident are important. There are many steps you should take to protect a future car accident claim, so it’s important to know what these are. On the other hand, though, there are also several things you should never do after a crash. If you take certain actions, it could hurt your claim and keep you from collecting the compensation you need. Below are five things you want to avoid doing after a car accident in Lancaster.
Leave the Scene
Under South Carolina’s Motor Vehicle Code, all drivers in Lancaster are required to remain at the scene of an accident. Even if you don’t believe anyone was hurt and there was no property damage, you must stop and help anyone who is injured. Even if you are not at fault for the accident, you must stop and stay at the scene. If you do not, you may be charged with a hit-and-run, which has possible jail time as a penalty.
Make Claims About Fault or Negligence
It’s natural for you to feel upset and frustrated after a crash. It’s important, though, to remain calm and wait for officers to arrive. Do not accuse the other driver of negligence or say the accident was their fault. There are many different times to determine liability after an accident, but the side of the road isn’t one of them. Also, make sure you do not accept fault for the crash. Even apologizing that the accident happened at all can hurt a future claim if the insurance company or at-fault driver chooses to use those statements as acceptance of blame.
Forget to Collect Evidence
If you file a personal injury claim after a crash, the evidence is going to be crucial to the success of that claim. If you fail to take pictures of the scene, including property damage, any injuries you sustained, and of any other relevant details, such as a stoplight, it’s going to be more difficult to prove your case.
Refuse Medical Help
Even if you feel as though you’re not seriously injured in a car accident, you should still seek medical attention if you are feeling any type of pain or discomfort. If an ambulance is at the scene and a paramedic offers to check you over, let them. Refusing medical help may hurt your claim later on. If it turns out you were in fact injured as a result of an accident, the insurance company will say you couldn’t have sustained a serious injury because you didn’t even seek treatment.
Sign Anything an Insurance Adjuster Gives You
Shortly after an accident, an insurance adjuster from the at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely contact you. They will have many forms they want you to sign and it’s important you don’t sign any of them without having a better understanding of what they are. One may be a medical release, asking for access to your medical records.
This is so they can comb through your medical history, looking for any pre-existing conditions they can blame on your injuries. They’ll also likely come with a settlement offer. While this is compensation, it’s likely not enough to cover the full cost of your injuries. If you sign it and accept payment, you’ll likely be barred from making any claims in the future and will have to pay any additional costs or expenses yourself.
Handle the Claim Without the Help of a Lancaster Car Accident Attorney
You may think your accident claim will go smoothly after an accident, but our Lancaster personal injury attorneys at Elrod Pope Law Firm, P.A. know better. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, we will determine who was liable for the crash and hold them responsible for paying the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to. We will act as your ally and your advocate throughout the entire process, and ensure your rights are upheld. If you’ve been hurt, call us today at (803) 599-3080 for your free consultation. Let us worry about your claim, so you can focus on your recovery.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.