If you are involved in a collision, South Carolina law requires you to stop your vehicle at the accident scene and aid those who are injured. Even if you are uninjured, you may be a little rattled and not thinking too clearly. Be prepared for the unexpected by having everything in your car that you need in the event of a car crash.
Car Insurance and Registration
You are supposed to keep your car insurance and registration in your vehicle. Many people forget to put their registration in their glovebox. They forget to leave the most recent insurance card in the stack of unopened mail or keep these documents in an old handbag (which sometimes fails to make it into the car). Put important documents in a folder or plastic bag, and then put them in your glovebox where you will have them if you need them.
Checklist of Contacts
Keep a list in your glove compartment of phone numbers of law enforcement agencies to contact in the event of an accident. These numbers include the numbers for local police, the sheriff’s department and South Carolina Highway Patrol, as well as your insurance company and roadside assistance. It’s helpful to summon a tow truck through your insurance company.
Your checklist should include a list of helpful reminders:
- Check for injuries and summon emergency aid if needed
- Call police
- Exchange information with other drivers
- Notify employer if car accident work-related
- Gather evidence; use the phone camera to document the accident scene
- Do not discuss the accident with other motorists or admit fault
- Wait for the police to arrive
Notebook and Pen
In the days of smartphones and tablets, having a notebook and pen on hand may seem a little old-fashioned. However, after an accident, what is simple is often best. You can use a notebook and pen to sketch a diagram of the accident and the vehicles’ positions before they are moved. South Carolina law requires that you move your vehicle from the roadway to the shoulder after a collision. Having a pen or pencil is helpful to write down contact information for the other driver and any witnesses. You should also jot down some notes about the time and date of the accident, the weather conditions, what you believe happened, and any immediate damages or injuries you suffered.
Roadside Flares and Hazard Signs
To the extent possible, you should take steps to warn other motorists to avoid the accident scene. Setting out roadside flares and hazard warning lights can alert other drivers of the accident and help protect the accident scene.
First Aid Kit
While emergency medical situations require professional care, a first aid kit can come in handy for bandaging minor cuts or bruises. A first aid kit should also contain instructions for administering first aid, which may prove helpful in an emergency. First aid kits also often come with flashlights, tweezers (which can help to remove the glass from a wound following a crash). You can get a list of items to put in your first aid kit at RedCross.org.
Food and Water
If you are involved in an accident, you may have to stay at the accident scene for a lengthy amount of time. This is while you wait for the police to arrive and gather information about the accident. During this time, you may need some water and a non-perishable snack.
Be Prepared When a Crash Happens
Staying calm and being prepared when a crash happens can help you be organized, and ready to move to the next step in the claims process: filing a car accident insurance claim. Making an insurance claim after a car accident will be easier if you have the information described above (such as details of what happened and contact information for the other party).
Contact Joye Law Firm for a Free Consultation
If another driver was responsible for the crash and you sustained injuries, you should consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer for an explanation of your legal options. At Joye Law Firm, our South Carolina car accident attorneys care about the clients we represent. We are ready to discuss the details of your accident today. Contact us now to get started with a free consultation.