A car accident can be one of the most harrowing experiences of your life, causing not only physical but emotional pain as well. Dealing with the aftermath of a collision can be stressful and frustrating, especially if it is the first time you have been involved in an accident. It is important to keep calm, report the collision, and focus on recovering as much information as possible immediately following the accident.
The first thing you should do in the event of a car accident is report it to the local police department. They will dispatch a unit to your location and the responding officer will complete an accident report. The police can also help coordinate with any other emergency services required at the scene.
Once you have notified the police, you should take pictures of the vehicles and accident scene. Make sure to take a picture from every angle, documenting all damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle. Note the position of the vehicles and the location where the collision occurred, including any stop lights, stop signs, or road markings that would help determine who was at fault.
In addition to taking pictures, you should write down as much as you can remember about what happened leading up to and during the accident. Keep a detailed journal of your thoughts and feelings, including any pain you experience. Make a list of any medical facilities you go to and any medications you are given.
Keeping track of this information will be useful if you decide you need to retain an attorney and bring a law suit against the negligent driver. If you need help from an attorney, speak with one as soon as you are able. The sooner you decide to hire an attorney to represent you, the more time they have to research and prepare your case.
Elrod Pope Law Firm has created the Carolina Accident Recover App, available on iTunes and the Google Play Store. The app gives step-by-step instructions for what to do in the case of an accident and allows you to take pictures, make notes, and record statements from witnesses. It is a useful tool for collecting information and keeping a detailed record of the collision.
Many people do not realize that in North and South Carolina, there is a three-year window to bring an action against someone in many types of personal injury cases. The three years begins the day of the accident and in that time you may choose to file suit yourself or retain an attorney to handle your case for you. Regardless of what you decide, there are a few things you should never do following an accident.
First, avoid posting any information about the collision to your social media accounts. This includes text posts about the accident and photos of the scene itself. Second, make every attempt to be honest with the doctors you see, as well as the insurance company. Do not exaggerate or minimize your injuries; tell them exactly how you feel.
If you do decide to handle your case yourself, it is important that you do not accept the first offer the insurance company makes. Their job is to settle the claim as quickly and for as little money as possible. Make sure that they are being as honest with you as you are being with them. You deserve to be treated fairly; do not settle for less.
An attorney can help make sure that you receive a fair settlement and that your case is being handled properly. At Elrod Pope Law Firm, we handle a variety of disability, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, wrongful death, and personal injury cases, including car accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job or by the negligence of others, please contact us. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more informative articles and updates.
The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Walker Cobb for his contribution to this paper.
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.