Before an accident:
While we only become involved in the process AFTER an accident, it is always good to know our job is to help victims who have been in a car accident, we feel it is important to provide information that can help you avoid an accident. Here are a few things you can do before an automobile accident to help:
1. KNOW YOUR BLIND SPOTS: always adjust your mirrors to provide you with the best possible view. You cannot see every angle around your car with your mirrors. You must physically look directly into the lanes beside you to ensure there is not a vehicle in your blind spot.
2. KEEP A LOOKOUT: always scan the areas ahead of you. Don’t just focus on the car ahead of you. Look to the car ahead of him and so on. Sweep to the left and the right when approaching intersections, even if you have the green light.
3. KEEP BOTH HANDS ON THE STEERING WHEEL: It may seem lame, but this is the safest position for your hands. If you are hit by another vehicle, this is your best chance of maintaining control over your vehicle.
4. FOLLOW WITH AT LEAST 1 CAR DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND THE CAR IN FROM OF YOU: always maintain a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you. This allows you to make for a safe stop in case the vehicle in front of you slams on brakes.
5. WEAR YOUR SEATBELT: the best way to avoid serious injury is to wear your seatbelt. While many people argue that seatbelts can cause harm too or entrap you in the vehicle, research shows that while one might sustain some restraint bruising it is negligible to the prospect of what being thrown from a moving vehicle will do!
6. PUT CHILDREN IN THE PROPER CAR SEAT: make sure the seat is installed properly and that the child stays in the seat, buckled at all times. If you are traveling to different states you should research their rules about the type of restraints needed for children. To learn more about what is required of you in South Carolina CLICK HERE. While the law prohibits children under age 6 in the front seat, it is advisable that you consider a child’s height and weight before allowing front seat travel. The biggest danger in the front seat if there is a serious accident is the airbag deployment and it’s proximity to the face of that passenger. Statistics show that car crashes are the number one (1) killer of children ages 1 to 12 in the United States.
7. TRANSPORT HEAVY OBJECTS IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CAR: This can help reduce the risk of injury if an accident does occur. If you are moving at a high rate of speed, or are impacted at a high rate, objects in your vehicle can fly forward increasing injury to you beyond the initial impact.
8. AVOID DISTRATCTIONS: keep your radio at a level that allows you to hear approaching emergency vehicles. Do not take your eyes off the road to pick up an item, change the radio or answer your cell phone. NEVER text and drive. If your vehicle is equipped with the ability for wireless usage, you should take the time to set it up and use.
9. REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE: South Carolina requires you to carry liability coverage of at least $25,000 per person/ $50,000 per accident which will cover damages if you are at fault in a car accident. You should always carry enough liability coverage to protect all of your assets should you get sued. For example, if you are at fault and cause $40,000.00 in damages to another person, once your insurance company pays your $25,000.00 coverage, you may be responsible for the other $15,000.00. If you can’t afford to pay it outright, your assets may be subject to seizure to pay the cost. You should also consider medical payment coverage and rental reimbursement. There are times that you may be at fault and while your car is being repaired, your company will pay for you to be in a rental car. If you have medical payment coverage you or anyone in your car will be reimbursed for medical bills up to the limit of your policy, regardless of who is at fault in the car accident. It is a really good benefit to have even if you are not at fault as it keeps medical providers from calling you for payment during the pendency of your claim.
10. KEEP A CAMERA, NOTEPAD & PEN IN YOUR CAR: A disposable camera is always a great tool to have on hand, however with the use of smartphones, you can easily snap shots of the scene, your car and the other vehicle in a format that is easy to pass along to the attorney. Having pen and paper available is also a great practice in order to write down names, numbers of witnesses, to note a license plate tag etc.
After an accident:
When you are in a car accident, it becomes surreal and your mind may be on many things. Am I okay? Are my passengers ok? Is my car repairable? What do I do now? What was he thinking? Didn’t he see me? Despite the overwhelming situation you are now in, there are things you need to do. Remember to keep your cool when dealing with the other driver as the words you say, may well be used against you down the line. If you are ever involved in an accident, you should always:
1. STOP. If you get in a car accident, you must stop. If you leave, that’s known as a “hit and run,” and it is a crime! This includes hitting property or pedestrians.
2. CALL THE POLICE. If your vehicles are impeding the safe flow of traffic, move the vehicles to the side of the road if it can be done safely. HOWEVER, take a photograph of where the vehicles came to rest before moving them. Sometimes others may not forthright about what occurred when the police arrive at the scene. Put your flashers on and if it is dark outside, do not stand in the roadway near your vehicle. Find a place at a safe distance to wait on the police.
3. GET WITNESS INFORMATION: If there is anyone who comes to your aid at the scene of the accident be sure to get their name, address AND phone numbers. If they have a business card get that, too. While they may not have seen the crash, but came upon it, sometimes they may be crucial to statements or behaviors of the other party immediately following the accident that can be of benefit in your claim.
4. LOCK IN THE EVENT: Take photos of the scene, vehicles and injuries if any are visible at this time.
5. SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT: If you are injured, experiencing body aches, dizzy, seek medical treatment and do so within 72 hours of the accident.
6. JOT DOWN WHAT YOU RECALL: For your own reference, you may also wish to write down the details of the accident while they are fresh in your mind. Perhaps, while you are awaiting the arrival of the police.