Protecting Your Claim

If you’re involved in an accident caused (partially or completely) by someone else, some steps you can take to gather evidence and protect your claim for damages are:

  • Stay at the scene.
  • Move to safety but do not move your car unless it’s necessary to prevent more collisions.
  • Call 911 and wait for law enforcement to arrive and make a report.
  • Take photos (or ask someone else to if you’re not able) of:
    • Injuries to yourself and your passengers
    • All cars involved in the wreck (especially damage and license plates)
    • The accident scene, including skid marks, road conditions, and damaged guardrails/poles/trees/buildings
  • Exchange information with the other driver(s) but do not discuss the wreck or argue about fault.
  • Answer the police officer’s questions honestly but briefly. 
  • Get contact information from any witnesses to the accident.
  • Note the location of nearby video cameras that might have footage of your crash.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible even if you don’t feel you’re injured.
  • Notify your insurance company of the wreck.
  • Don’t rush to repair your car. (Its damage could provide evidence of fault in your crash.)
  • Consult a car accident attorney.

The Role of Your South Carolina Car Accident Attorney

An experienced car accident lawyer can utilize the evidence of damage to your vehicle to help establish liability for your crash and enable you to seek fair compensation. While you’re focused on recovering from injuries you’ve sustained in the wreck, your attorney can also take the following steps:

  • Obtain video footage from any cameras that might have recorded the accident.
  • Request data from an electronic monitoring system (or “black box”) if you happen to be hit by a commercial vehicle.
  • Gather, organize, and present your medical evidence convincingly.
  • Obtain the official police report of your accident.
  • Contact and interview any witnesses to the crash.
  • Consult a mechanic to determine whether defective or improperly repaired equipment played a role in your accident.
  • Check weather reports to document conditions on the day of your crash.
  • Visit the accident site to document road conditions and look for any uncollected evidence.
  • Hire expert witnesses and/or an accident reconstructionist to help establish liability for your crash.
  • Demand reasonable compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company and negotiate to get you a fair settlement.
  • File a lawsuit and fight for you in court if necessary.

Comparative Fault

South Carolina follows a modified comparative fault model in personal injury cases. This means that you might be found partially liable for your own accident. In such a case, you may still collect compensation for your damages, and your award will be reduced according to your percentage of responsibility. 

If, however, you are found to be 51% or more at fault for your crash, you are barred from collecting any compensation at all. This is another reason to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side to present evidence proving you were less than half responsible for your wreck.

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.