When a vehicle collision occurs in a remote location in South Carolina, being well-prepared and seeking the help of a car accident lawyer is essential for safeguarding your interests.
Driving through South Carolina’s serene and picturesque rural areas is an enjoyable experience. However, winding roads, poor lighting, and wildlife, like deer, can cause accidents, leaving you far from help in the immediate aftermath.
Knowing the actions to take when you’ve been injured in an accident in a rural area can help ensure your safety and protect your legal rights.
- Check for Safety
Your immediate priority after a wreck is ensuring safety, both yours and others at the scene. If your vehicle is still operable (and it’s safe to do so), move it to the side of the road or a designated safe area.
Oncoming vehicles might not anticipate obstacles in rural areas, where traffic is lighter. If moving your car isn’t an option, use flares, cones, or hazard lights to signal the potential danger ahead to other drivers.
If you’ve hit wildlife in a rural area, do not approach the injured animal as scared, or injured wildlife can be unpredictable and potentially aggressive. It’s usually best to call animal control or a non-emergency police line to report the accident. They can advise on what to do next or come and assist with the animal.
- Call 911 and Wait for Emergency Responders
Call 911 immediately to report the accident and request medical assistance, if needed. If your smartphone has GPS service, use it to pinpoint your location. This can make it easier for responders to find you in rural areas with few landmarks.
While emergency medical service units typically average around 7 minutes from the time of a call to arrival on the scene, this time can increase to between 14 and 30 minutes in rural settings.
If you’re in a rural area without cell service after an accident, consider seeking higher ground to improve signal reception. Some phones have an “Emergency Mode” that might connect to distant networks. If feasible, look for nearby homes or businesses for assistance, or use tools like flares to signal for help if you have them.
- Document the Scene
While waiting for emergency responders to arrive, take the opportunity to document the accident scene thoroughly. Use your smartphone camera to take pictures of the accident site from various angles. Ensure you capture:
- The positions of the vehicles involved
- The extent of damage to all vehicles
- Any visible injuries sustained by you or others
- Road conditions, including potholes, debris, or icy patches
- Signage, traffic lights, and road markings
- Skid marks or tire tracks, if present
Pay close attention to other factors that might have contributed to the accident. This can include obscured road signs, faded road markings, or any other unusual conditions.
- Get Witness Information
Witness testimony can be crucial to an accident investigation in rural areas where surveillance methods, such as traffic cameras, are limited. If witnesses are at the accident scene, request their contact details, including their full name, phone number, and email address, so your attorney can reach out later.
Encourage witnesses to provide brief statements detailing what they observed. This can include the sequence of events leading up to the accident, any unusual behaviors from other drivers, or road conditions that may have contributed to the incident.
- Inform Local Law Enforcement
In rural areas, responses to accidents may involve local or county police or state troopers. Regardless of who responds, provide a detailed accident report.
South Carolina law Section 56-5-1260 mandates that drivers involved in accidents resulting in injury or death must report them immediately to the local police department if within a municipality. If not, report the incident to the local police department, nearest county sheriff’s office, or the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
To obtain a copy of the accident report, you complete Form FR-50 and pay the processing fee. You can do this by mail, in person at a local DMV branch, or online.
- Seeking Medical Attention After an Accident
Accidents can result in hidden injuries and delayed symptoms. Even if you initially feel fine after a car accident, seeing a doctor is crucial. Some injuries, like concussions or internal trauma, may not show symptoms for hours or days afterward.
These injuries can go unnoticed and worsen over time without a medical examination. Consulting a healthcare professional can help rule out hidden injuries and provide appropriate treatment.
Prompt medical care documents your injuries so you can file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. Keep all records of care you receive, including hospital bills, treatment papers, medical prescriptions, and follow-up doctor’s visits. Your attorney can use these to estimate your damages and ask for a fair payout.
- Maintaining Comprehensive Records
After a vehicle crash, gather all evidence you collect and keep it in an organized file. Your folder should include all relevant documentation that you can share with your auto accident attorney, including:
- Medical bills. Keep records of all medical expenses, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medications, and therapies, demonstrating injury-related costs.
- Repair bills. Save receipts and repair bills if your vehicle is damaged, showing the extent of damage and associated expenses.
- Insurance records. Document all communications with your insurer, including claim forms and correspondence.
- Legal communications. Maintain records of all communications with your attorney. This includes agreements, contracts, and any discussions about your case.
- Hire a Local Attorney
If you believe the other party was at fault for your accident or are facing challenges with your insurance claim, consider hiring a local car accident attorney with expertise in handling cases in rural areas.
Our experienced attorneys can assist in the following ways:
- Comprehensive understanding of local laws. Our local attorneys understand South Carolina’s legal framework for car accident liability, including the state’s modified comparative negligence We can help you prove another driver’s negligence to win maximum compensation.
- Rural area expertise. Our lawyers are experienced with traffic accidents in rural areas, making them skillful at engaging with local authorities, locating witnesses, and developing tailored strategies for your case.
- Insurance negotiations. As accomplished negotiators, we can effectively navigate dealings with insurance companies to secure financial compensation for your injuries and property damage, ensuring you recover a fair settlement.
- Courtroom advocacy. Should your case proceed to court, our attorneys can advocate on your behalf. We can consult with accident reconstructions and medical providers to testify in court, presenting a persuasive case to the judge or jury.
Secure Your Legal Help Today
In rural South Carolina towns, accidents can happen when least expected. Knowing how to respond is essential for your safety and recovery. The car accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm can offer guidance and support during these challenging times.
Contact us today for a free case review. We will help you investigate the cause of your accident, collect evidence, and seek a settlement to pay for your damages.