What Happens If You're at Fault for a Car Accident? A Definitive To Do List

I Just Got In A Car Accident That Was My Fault. Now What?

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At some point in time, you may be in a car accident that is your fault. Whether the blame lays 100 percent on you or not, simply knowing that you’re the cause of an accident can be stressful and weigh heavy on your conscious. What should you do at the site of the accident? How should you handle yourself? The moments after an at-fault accident can be critically important. We’re sharing a list of things to do, as well as a few things not to do in case you ever find yourself in this sticky situation!

What To Do After Causing A Car Accident

If you’ve just caused a car accident (or you think you may have) the first thing you need to do is to remain calm. As hard as it may be, it’s essential for you to keep your wits about you so you can do the below…

Don’t leave the scene of the accident.
Not only is this morally wrong, it’s also illegal. Stay put and stay grounded!

Don’t admit fault.
This sounds simple, but it can be anything but easy! You may feel nervous and chatty. You may automatically want to apologize. Make sure not to…

  • Discuss the details of how the accident happened
  • Talk about who is, or is not, at fault
  • Apologize, say you are sorry or make any statement that may implicate you
  • Ask the other driver involved in the accident any questions to fish for their level of guilt!

Instead of the above, simply ask if they (or anyone in their vehicle) is hurt and exchange contact information.

Do be polite.
Don’t be aggressive or panic. Don’t start a fight. Stay as calm and as even-toned as possible. Be polite and courteous. “fewer words” is better than “more words!”

Do check on the safety of all involved.
Check and see if anyone else in your vehicle was injured. Do the same for any other persons involved in the accident as well. Get immediate medical help for anyone needing it by calling 911!

Do call the police!
South Carolina law requires you to report any accident that causes injury or, at worse, death. It always better to be safe than sorry! Though law enforcement may not come, it is still in your best interest to notify the authorities of anything more than a scratch or dent.

When the police come, comply with their requests and be polite and courteous. Before they arrive on the scene, review the accident as you experienced it so you can tell them clearly what you think happened. Be honest and as accurate as possible.

Do collect evidence.
Evidence is essential to your case. Make sure to get the names, email addresses, phone numbers and address of all other parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses who are at the scene.

Now is also the time to use your cell phone to capture pictures of the entire accident. This includes all views of the vehicles involved, any debris, damage to property (like fences or trees) and the scene around the accident itself. If there were elements of the scene that contributed to your accident, like a broken stoplight or object obstructing the view, make sure to capture images of that as well!

Do notify your insurance company.
This may be unpleasant for you, knowing that an at-fault accident will most certainly increase your insurance rate, but it is an absolute necessity.

Do call an experienced attorney.
Before you make any official statements, connect with an experienced legal professional.

Do I Need An Attorney If I Caused An Accident?

First and foremost, your first directive is to connect with your insurance company. If you are concerned about the scale of your accident, or that your policy may not cover potential damages, it is a good idea to secure the services of an attorney. South Carolina follows the rule of comparative negligence. This statute dictates that more than one party can be held responsible for an accident. An industrious and diligent attorney can help to secure evidence that may successfully demonstrate the role the other party played in causing the accident. This will mitigate the compensation that is required on your behalf and can also help to award you with any damages that you may be eligible for as well!