One week before the South Carolina Bar Exam, my friend was struck by another car driven by a drunk driver. At the time of the accident, the roads were very wet due to the steady flow of rain. She told me how the impact of the hit and the slippery roads caused her car to slide several feet. A sense of panic and fear overwhelmed her as her car slid closer and closer to oncoming traffic. The sense of relief was even greater when finally; her car came to a halt. Soon after, she pulled over and so did the other car that struck her. The woman driving the car that hit my friend stumbled out of her vehicle. Unsteady and shaky, my friend went on to tell me that she dialed the police immediately. The woman proceeded to plead with her to let her pay and leave. Quickly, my friend became aware that there was a strong possibility the woman might flee the scene of the accident. As she was talking to the police on the phone, she had the forsight to take down her tag number and noted the make and model of her car. So what was the outcome? Long story short, she didn’t flee, the police showed up, wrote a police report, searched her vehicle and arrested her.
Based on my experience and the law, I want to give you some advice regarding what you should do if you are involved in a car accident. First and foremost, don’t leave the scene of the accident. You can face criminal punishment for leaving the scene of an accident, particularly where injury is involved. Note, however, if you are involved in a car accident and you are in a remote area, proceed cautiously. It may be best to drive to the closest police station or public area to call the police.
Next, make sure to check on all the drivers and passengers. If someone is injured or trapped in a vehicle, you want to call for medical attention immediately. If everyone is okay, call the police. It is important to obtain a police report of the accident so that if you have to be appear in Court, you have proofof the accident. It would also be wise to exchange information from the other driver and passengers involved in the accident. But, when conversing with the driver and passengers, be sure not to say too much. You don’t want to apologize for anything, if you do, that information could be used against in a Court of law.
Pictures, pictures, pictures! If you are able, take pictures of the damage at the scene of the accident. These pictures can serve as significant proof of who was at fault in the accident and how the injured party should be compensated.
When a police report is filed, insurance companies are usually contacted immediately. If you are the at fault driver, consult an attorney before you contact your insurance company or provide statements to any other insurance company. Likewise, if you are not the at-fault driver, it would be advisable to contact an attorney to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of. Remember one thing, whether your interest in this information is for criminal defense purposes or for personal injury purposes: Insurance companies are in business to make money, not help people. Money is priority number one.
If you are injured in the automobile accident, it is extremely important to keep track of your medical treatment. You should keep a diary containing notes of all your doctors’ visits and referrals. You should also keep an itemized list of all the medical expenses you have incurred.
Lastly, don’t give up. Law enforcement and insurance companies alike may give you a hard time in pursuing your case. But, remember, you do have a case, if your property or person was injured at the hands of another or if you are being charged with a criminal driving offense, Daniel Selwa will work hard to help you.