Dealing with Vehicle Accidents in South Carolina
Driving is fun. Regardless of the vehicle, many people enjoy driving. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush and the feeling of freedom and possibilities that an open road can bring.
However, the pleasure associated with driving can create the misconception that it's pretty safe, especially on smooth, picturesque South Carolina roads.
South Carolina has an allure and charm that attracts many visitors annually. However, it also experiences thousands of car accidents annually.
Car accidents happen every day, regardless of your car safety, carefulness, driving skills and experience.
When an accident occurs your body and brain respond by releasing adrenaline and endorphins. This increases your physical alertness. Some accident victims may also exhibit calm after an accident because the endorphins block the stress and pain associated with the impact.
However, the emotional, physical and financial impact of an accident can become weighty immediately or over time.
Here is how to deal with an accident in South Carolina.
South Carolina vehicle accident statistics
Common types of vehicles accidents in South Carolina
These vehicle accidents happen when two cars traveling in opposite directions collide. Head on collisions are more likely to cause significant damage and injuries, especially if both vehicles were traveling at a high speed.
Hit and run
When a car strikes private property, a stationary vehicle, or a pedestrian, and flees the accident scene before the police, first responders, and emergency personnel arrive, it is considered a hit-and-run.
You may not only face legal penalties for leaving the accident scene, but also additional charges for the heartless and irresponsible behavior of leaving an injured bystander without medical attention.
Multiple vehicle accidents (pileup)
When three or more vehicles get involved in a crash, it's called a chain-reaction or pileup crash. These accidents occur when a primary car or two cars collide, and other motorists are unable to become unable to swerve or brake in time, causing further accidents.
Read-end collisions occur when you strike another motorist from behind. These vehicle accidents mostly lead to neck and head injuries, including whiplash.
The legal responsibility of the accident falls on the driver who has hit the other car unless it was a lead vehicle without working tail lights or the car was moving in reverse.
Rollover accidents mean a car has turned on its side or its roof. Rollover vehicle accidents can happen when you try to take a sharp turn at high speed, when avoiding a road obstacle and you lose control or if you are driving in treacherous weather and road conditions.
Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) or large trucks have an increased risk of rolling over than smaller vehicles as their center of gravity is higher. However, any vehicle can experience a rollover crash.
South Carolina criss-crosses several significant interstates like I-20, I-77, I-26, and I-95. These locations are more likely to experience accidents.
For example, you may be about to miss your intended exit and decide to quickly change lanes, thus confusing other drivers and causing an accident.
Causes of accidents In South Carolina
It's hazardous to drive while eating, texting, talking, or even staring at another motorist/vehicle.
Although most drivers know drunk driving is dangerous, reckless, and even selfish, many people still do it. South Carolina ranks among the states with a high rate of drunk driving accidents.
Accidents occur due to reckless actions such as road rage, excessive speeding, aggressive maneuvering, and weaving in and out of traffic.
Fatigue affects your ability to drive safely as it impairs your focus and concentration. This affects your reaction time and judgment making you more prone to accidents. Tired driving primarily affects people who sleep less than six hours, shift workers, and those suffering from untreated sleep disorders.
Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving where you are driving too closely/near to the car in the front. It often leads to rear-end collisions.
The recommended space between two vehicles is 2-3 meters. This space allows drivers to respond in time in case a motorist applies emergency brakes, swerves or spots an obstacle.
In conditions such as bad weather, maintain more than 5 meters of spacing to minimize the chances of being in an accident.
So what action do you take in case of a vehicle accident in South Carolina?
Things to do immediately – At the Scene
Call the police
Anytime an accident happens, call 911 and do it right there at the scene. Stay calm and answer the dispatcher's questions correctly and don't leave until the police arrive to avoid complicating the process further.
As you wait for the police, move the car if possible, to a safer location to avoid causing more traffic and accidents.
Obtain the other involved party's information
It’s vital to gather the other involved party's insurance information, contacts, name, policy number, and photos. Document the data by taking pictures.
Request for witness information
If some people witnessed the accident, request their phone numbers, names, and addresses. However, don't force them to cooperate with you since it's their right to refuse your request. Asking politely will get you further.
Remember, you can't contact them directly; only your lawyer has the right to reach them and obtain their statement.
Document the scene
Take detailed photos and videos of the accident scene. At the minimum, capture photos or video of;
- Your vehicle damage
- The other driver's vehicle damage
- Other involved party's drivers' license plate
- Video/images showcasing the entire crash area
- Traffic signals or signs within the crash vicinity
Request for the police report
Before leaving the accident scene, request for the police report or ask if you can collect later. Such information is vital when filing for compensation or in case of a court case.
Call your lawyer
Vehicle accidents can become complicated affairs. As such, call your lawyer immediately. In case you do not have one, engage an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible and allow them to handle any legal matters arising, no matter how minute. This ensures your interests are well-protected and gives you time to heal and recover.
Things to do later – After the accident scene
See a doctor
After leaving the accident scene ensure you promptly go to see the doctor whether you have visible injuries or not. Sometimes the adrenaline can prevent you from feeling any pain immediately. However, to rule out internal injuries, ensure you get checked.
Additionally, document your medical journey and always get a detailed medical report. This is crucial when claiming financial compensation. However, if you need emergency care immediately at the scene, call an ambulance. Your health comes first.
Create a file
Create a personal file for all communication and records related to the accident and injuries. Keep a copy of statements, medical care receipts, insurance claims, police reports, and other relevant documents.
Documenting your accident journey may become vital in case you want to change lawyers, feel short-changed on your compensation, or plan on challenging the court’s decision.
Stay off social media
While your insurance claim is pending, or you have a court hearing, avoid discussing your case on social media or with others. The insurance company may monitor your account to gather information that may contradict your statement and thus reduce your compensation payment.
Ensure you answer your lawyer, doctors, and even insurance company questions promptly to avoid a delay in filing for the court case. Remember, in South Carolina the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is three years from the accident date.
Final thoughts on dealing with a vehicle accident in South Carolina
Dealing with a vehicle accident can be stressful. However, clear guidelines to follow can go a long way in protecting your legal rights, health and finances. Let your legal team assist you in handling the process but stay informed and in communication to follow the progress.
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