An accident can happen to even the most cautious of drivers. While all accidents are stressful, it can be an especially nerve-wracking event if you are the driver that is deemed at fault. Despite a determination of fault, however, you may still have options that you could pursue to protect your rights.
What happens in South Carolina when I am at fault in an accident?
South Carolina’s system of insurance laws follows a fault-based concept. This means whichever driver is at fault in an accident is generally responsible for paying the other party’s damages including medical expenses. This payment may either come from the at-fault driver’s own pocket or from their insurance company. Additionally, if fault is clear from a review of the evidence, this generally shortens the length of cases and will usually end in settlement.
Unfortunately, when you are the at fault driver in an accident, your car insurance premium may increase. Some insurance plans have accident forgiveness provisions, which prevent your premium rates from rising significantly, but many plans do not. It is a good idea to consult your insurance policy to see what may happen after being involved in an accident.
How is fault determined in South Carolina?
If an officer is called to the scene of an accident, they will generally write down details of an accident, including who they believe to be at fault based on the evidence available to them. The officer will write down each driver’s information on a form known as the FR-10, which each driver can submit to an insurance company. If an officer does not arrive on a scene, you must submit an FR-309 within 15 days of an accident to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
Evidence of fault can come from witness statements, police reports, photographs and other information that may be reviewed by insurance adjusters. Of course, some accidents are much more clear than others, so the importance of evidence may vary from case to case.
What should I do if I believe I am at fault in an accident?
Even if fault is very clear in an accident, it is important that you do not admit the accident is your fault. While it is important to ask questions such as if the other driver needs medical attention, or if they have insurance, admitting fault or saying you are sorry at the scene of an accident will likely hurt your case later on.
It is also important to report the accident to the police, report the accident to your insurance carrier and contact a skilled personal injury lawyer who can help you with your case.
How can an Aiken accident attorney help?
If you have been injured in an accident, whether you are the at fault driver or played no role in the causes of the accident, the lawyers at Surasky Law can help answer your injury questions.
Contact us today for a free consultation in your case.