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Steps to Take after a Car Accident: Your Guide to Protecting Your Rights

learn what to do after a Beaufort car accident

Many accident victims are dismayed when a Beaufort car accident lawyer tells them that they will not be able to get full compensation for their damages. However, various mistakes they made after the crash give the insurance company a strong negotiating position. The alternative to accepting the settlement is taking the case to court, where success is never guaranteed.

To avoid this situation, it is essential to do everything according to the rules. Here are the necessary steps to protect your legal rights after a car accident:

1. Report the Accident and Remain at the Crash Scene

South Carolina traffic laws dictate that drivers must report any accident resulting in bodily injury and at least $500 in property damage. After you call 9-1-1 to report the crash, remain at the accident scene and do not move your car until police officers arrive to investigate.

If the other driver decides to leave, do not follow them. Make sure to take a photo of their license plate number and wait for the police officers. They will deal with the hit-and-run driver and you will protect your chances of getting compensation.

2. Do Not Agree to a Private Settlement with the Other Driver

Anyone wants to avoid telling their insurer that they caused a crash and having to pay higher premiums in the aftermath. And this is why many drivers who know that they are mostly responsible for the accident want to pay their victims out of pocket.

Do not accept this kind of settlement. On one hand, it is not sufficient to cover your damages. You are still not aware of the extent of your injuries and how many days you will miss from work.

On the other hand, the insurance company will deny your claim, once their client informs them that you’ve already taken their money. You have to do everything by the book if you want fair compensation after a car accident.

find out how to protect your legal rights after a car crash

3. Go to the Nearest Hospital Immediately after the Crash

Many car accident injuries have a delayed onset. They will start causing pain and discomfort a few days after the crash. Also, severe internal injuries are not visible to the eye. You cannot trust your first instinct and go about your business as if nothing happened.

Once the police finished investigating the accident, go to the nearest hospital. Ideally, you should call an ambulance to the crash scene. You will receive first aid and safe transportation to hospital.

Plus, your Beaufort car accident lawyer will have an ironclad trail of medical records from the first moments after the crash. No insurance adjuster would be able to dispute the cause of your injuries.

4. Do Not Talk to an Insurance Adjuster or Sign Papers

Insurance adjusters are notoriously present at a car accident victim’s bedside in hospital with an offer to settle their claim. They will say that it’s for your own benefit, to avoid the hassle of filing documents.

In reality, it is a very low amount, which barely covers the ambulance ride cost and the first few days in hospital. Never sign any paper the adjuster presents to you.

Also, do not discuss the accident with them. You will be tricked into admitting fault and you will end up with a lower settlement amount than you deserve, under South Carolina’s comparative negligence principle.

5. Get a Copy of the Police Report

The accident report prepared by the police officers who investigated the crash is an invaluable piece of evidence in a car accident claim. It contains, among others:

  • The officers’ opinion related to the circumstances of the crash
  • Eyewitnesses’ contact details
  • Diagrams indicating the damage caused to each vehicle

Your attorney will need this document as part of the evidence attached to the letter of demand when filing the claim.

Consult with an Experienced Beaufort Car Accident Lawyer!

If you want to get fair compensation for your damages, let a skilled Beaufort car accident lawyer file and negotiate your claim. Even if you follow all the other steps, without an experienced attorney the insurance company will take advantage of you and will give you only a fraction of the compensation you deserve.

You don’t have to worry about legal fees, because we offer all new clients a free case review and work on a contingency fee basis. Call us today at 843-865-8624!

Don't Wait! Contact MCDougall Law Firm Right Away!

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, don't hesitate, contact us today!

Our dedicated and experienced team will fight to get you the maximum compensation