Car accidents happen suddenly and unexpectedly, even to the best of drivers. One minute you’re driving down the road, thinking about what’s for dinner, and the next, you’re dealing with the aftermath of what may be a serious accident. Being involved in a car accident, even a minor fender bender, is a shock. Things happen fast, and you may be injured, or not thinking clearly. There are some basic, yet very important things to be aware of if you are involved in a car accident. What you say and do immediately after the accident can have a tremendous impact later on, and part of being a responsible driver is knowing what to do in the event an accident happens.
Your Legal Duty In The Event of A Car Accident
If you’re involved in a car accident in South Carolina, there are certain legal obligations that you should be aware of. The South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 56, Article 9, governs the legal duties of drivers involved in car accidents. Among the things a driver must do if involved in an accident include the following:
- Immediately stop your vehicle, as close to the accident as possible without endangering yourself or others. If possible, make the effort to not block traffic
- Notify the police immediately of the accident. Provide your name, address, and the registration number of your vehicle and show your driver’s license to the other drivers involved in the accident
- If anyone is injured, you are obligated to render aid, providing whatever assistance is reasonable
- Report the accident within 15 days to the SC Department of Motor Vehicles. The officer at the scene of the accident will give you an FR-10 form to submit proof of insurance
Failure to do any of the actions listed above may result in your license being suspended and charges being brought against you. Depending on the circumstances, as well as the severity of the accident, leaving the scene of an accident, or failing to report it or render aid can result in misdemeanor and even felony charges. These charges can carry heavy fines, as well as mandatory jail sentences.
Beyond Your Legal Duty: What To Do – And Not Do – After A Car Accident
Beyond your legal duty required by law after an accident, there are certain things you can and can’t do, which will benefit you in the long run. According to the South Carolina Bar Association, it’s to your advantage to get as much information as you can immediately after the accident, such as:
- Names and contact information of witnesses to the accident
- Notes on the accident, such as your immediate recollection of what happened, and any details you notice at the scene of the accident of the accident that may prove relevant later
- Pictures of the accident, your car, and of the other cars at the scene. Of course, be careful not to interfere with the officers investigating the accident
The SC Bar Association has a handy checklist in case of an automobile accident to keep in your glove compartment. In addition to what you need to do, it can be equally important to know what not to do in the aftermath of a car accident. Don’t make any incriminating statements against yourself or make any types of comments on the accident, and don’t make any offers or promises to pay or otherwise compensate the other driver, even if you think you were at fault. Things that you say and do immediately after an accident can come back to haunt you later.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys
Even for the best drivers, car accidents can happen. In the event of an accident, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm. Our experienced South Carolina car accident attorneys understand how even a minor car accident can result in serious injuries and damages. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call Akim Anastopoulo today for a free review of your case.