Whether you were involved in a fender bender or a roadway catastrophe, you may be eligible to pursue financial and non-economic damages through a car accident claim. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can mean the difference between accepting a lowball settlement offer or being fully compensated.
To build a solid claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company, you need supporting evidence. While your attorney can launch an investigation into your crash and connect the dots, there are steps you can take to streamline the process.
What should I do immediately after a car accident?
The first thing you should do is assess the situation and get out of the way of traffic. Call 911 immediately to report the crash and any injuries sustained. You must also exchange your insurance and contact information with the other driver involved in the crash.
After you have completed those essential steps, you can begin doing some investigating on your own while waiting for the police to arrive.
Obtaining visual evidence
If you have a cellphone or camera, you should take pictures of the crash scene from as many different angles as possible. Be sure to emphasize:
- The damage done to both cars
- Tire marks in the road
- Damage to any roadside structures, such as poles or guardrails
- Nearby street signs and landmarks
If you (or a witness) were able to catch the actions of the at-fault driver on a dashcam, the footage can provide indisputable evidence regarding the cause of the crash.
Be sure to take note of any surveillance cameras posted on the roadway or at nearby buildings. An attorney may be able to subpoena the footage and use it as evidence.
Witness statements can help your claim
If anyone were around to see your crash, it’s critical that you ask them what they saw and obtain their contact information. This could include other drivers who stopped to help, pedestrians, or nearby building occupants.
When you have the statement of a witness, it’s no longer your word against the other driver’s. A witness may be able to recall exactly how the crash occurred. In some cases, witnesses notice drivers behaving erratically before a crash occurs.
Documenting the crash scene
If you have a pen and piece of paper handy, it doesn’t hurt to take notes on the following:
- Any nearby surveillance cameras
- The behavior of the at-fault driver after the crash
- Admittance or denial of fault from the other driver
Once the police arrive at the scene of the crash, officers will put together an unbiased report, which may include:
- Statements made by you and the at-fault driver
- Tire marks in the road
- The position of both cars
- The weather and/or road conditions at the time of the crash
- Citations issued or arrests made
You may obtain a copy of your police report at the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles website by completing a request form and mailing it to your nearest branch.
Get medical attention and let a car accident attorney handle the rest
Always seek medical attention promptly after a crash, even if you feel fine. Some crash-related injuries can take several days to develop symptoms. By making an appointment with your physician, your injury could be identified, documented, and treated early on. Plus, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can’t argue that you waited too long to get treatment.
After you have notified your insurance company about your crash and received medical attention, your work is done. Let an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney handle the rest.
The legal team at Johnson + Johnson Attorneys At Law, LLC offer free and confidential case evaluations to injured motorists. To find out how we can help you, fill out our contact form online or call our Lexington law office at 803-667-4810.