What Insurance Information Should I Collect at the Scene of the Accident and What Should I Do with it Afterward?
Car accidents happen everyday in South Carolina, and sometimes drivers and occupants suffer serious personal injuries. Fender benders occur in downtown Charleston on King Street, for example, while more dangerous, high-speed crashes occur on the I-526 corridor. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) recognizes significant car accident risks along the I-526 Corridor. To be sure, in a report from CBS Live 5 News, the SCDOT project manager described the area as “one of the most congested networks of roads in the state.” Given the substantial traffic from tourism in the Myrtle Beach area, portions of Highway 17 often are closed following serious crashes in the area. For instance, a recent report from WBTW CBS News 13 reported on the closure of Highway 17 in North Myrtle Beach after a multi-car collision occurred.
In short, if you live within or around one of the major cities in South Carolina, or if you are en route to one of these locations, it is important to be prepared in the event of a traffic collision. Most importantly, you will need to collect information at the scene of the crash for insurance purposes later on.
Understanding Car Accident Law and Insurance Requirements in South Carolina
Regardless of whether you live in Clinton or Myrtle Beach, SC, you will need to ensure that you have the insurance requirements that are necessary under South Carolina law. In addition, you will want to be sure to get all of this relevant information from the other party (or parties) involved in the accident.
As a fact sheet from the South Carolina Department of Insurance explains, South Carolina is what is known as a tort liability state. For a person involved in a car accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver, this is an extremely important piece of information. What it means is that “the not-at-fault person can pursue a claim against the at-fault party.” At the same time, however, it is important to recognize that South Carolina is also a comparative negligence state. As such, if a jury determines that you were partially liable for the accident, then the amount of damages you would win will be reduced by the percentage by which you were responsible for the crash.
Get the Basic Contact Information for the Other Party and Her Insurance
When you are involved in a car accident with another party (or parties), it is important to get all relevant information about that driver’s insurance. You should ask each driver involved for all of the following information:
- Driver’s name, contact information, and driver’s license number;
- Name of insurance company;
- Insurance policy number; and
- Phone number, mailing address, and e-mail address for the insurance company.
What will you do with this information? Your South Carolina car accident lawyer will need this information when you file your lawsuit. If you believe the other party is liable because she was driving in a careless or a reckless manner, South Carolina law allows you to file a claim against her for damages. Your attorney can discuss with you how the other party’s insurance company may be responsible for paying these damages.
Find Out How Much Liability Coverage the Other Driver Has
In South Carolina, motorists are also required to carry a minimum amount of insurance, which is:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person;
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident; and
- $25,000 property damage per accident.
Motorists are not required to have uninsured motorist coverage. As such, if you elect not to pay for uninsured motorist coverage and you are involved in a crash with a driver who does not have insurance, you may need to rely on your own insurance company for compensation.
You will want to find out precisely how much liability coverage the other driver has. You might be thinking that the amounts we listed above sound like a lot of money, especially if you only experienced minor injuries. However, the costs of medical bills in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Columbia can add up quite quickly, and you could end up with a hospital bill and rehabilitation costs totaling far more than the $25,000 bodily injury limit required by South Carolina law.
In addition, you will see that the law only requires $50,000 bodily injury per accident. If a driver causes injuries to multiple parties and he has only the minimum insurance requirements, you may only be able to get a fraction of that total amount. For instance, if a crash in Myrtle Beach results in five different vehicle occupants suffering injuries and the other driver is liable for each of those injuries, that $50,000 will be split among the victims.
Your South Carolina car accident lawyer can discuss other options for seeking compensation when insurance limits are not sufficient to cover your damages.
Contact a South Carolina Auto Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love sustained serious injuries in a traffic collision in Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Clinton, or Charleston, an experienced car accident attorney in South Carolina can assist with your case. Contact the Joye Law Firm today for more information.