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Should You Move Your Car After an Accident in Charleston? Know the Local Laws

If you've been involved in a car accident in Charleston, South Carolina, you may be wondering if you should move your vehicle from the scene. The answer depends on various factors, including the severity of the accident, the extent of vehicle damage, and potential hazards at the scene.

This blog post provides an overview of the relevant laws and ordinances in Charleston, as well as practical guidance for accident victims on how to handle this situation safely and legally.

South Carolina's Accident Reporting Requirements

Under South Carolina law, drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage of $1,000 or more must immediately stop their vehicles at the scene, or as close to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic.

They must also report the accident to local law enforcement. However, South Carolina does not have a specific statute requiring drivers to move their vehicles out of the roadway after a crash. The decision to move your car will depend on the circumstances of the accident and the safety of doing so.

Conducting a Thorough Assessment of the Accident Scene

Before deciding whether to move your vehicle, it's crucial to assess the accident scene carefully:

  1. Check for injuries: If anyone appears to be hurt, call 911 right away and provide first aid if possible.
  2. Evaluate vehicle damage: If your car has major damage, or you suspect leaking fuel or other hazards, it may be safer to wait for emergency responders before moving it.
  3. Consider traffic hazards: If the crash occurred in a high-traffic area or the vehicles are blocking traffic, you may need to move them to a safer spot, like the shoulder or a nearby lot.

Gathering Critical Evidence From the Accident Scene

If you can do so safely, gather as much evidence as possible from the scene before moving your vehicle. This can help support your insurance claim or legal case. Important steps include:

  1. Taking photos: Photograph the damage to all vehicles involved, along with debris, skid marks, and impact points on the road.
  2. Getting witness information: Collect names and contact info from any witnesses who saw the crash. Their statements can provide valuable evidence.
  3. Noting conditions: Jot down details about weather, road conditions, visibility, and any apparent hazards that may have contributed to the wreck.
  4. Exchanging insurance information: Before leaving, be sure to exchange insurance and contact details with the other driver(s) in the accident.

Factors That Indicate You Should Not Move Your Vehicle

In some situations, it's best to leave your vehicle in place after an accident

  • Presence of injuries: If anyone involved in the crash has serious injuries requiring immediate medical attention, do not move the vehicles until emergency responders arrive.
  • Extensive vehicle damage: If the accident caused major damage that makes your car inoperable or unsafe to drive, it's better to wait for a tow truck rather than trying to move it.
  • Police instructions: If law enforcement officers or other first responders at the scene instruct you not to move your vehicle, follow their directions.
  • Accident reconstruction: In some cases, the exact positions of the vehicles may be needed for investigators to reconstruct the accident. If you suspect this may be necessary, leave the vehicles in place until instructed otherwise.

Factors That Indicate You Should Move Your Vehicle

In other situations, moving your vehicle after an accident is the safest course of action:

  • Safety risks: If leaving the vehicles in place poses a safety hazard, such as being in the path of oncoming traffic or near a dangerous road condition, move them as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Operable vehicles: If the vehicles involved are safe to operate and can be moved without causing further damage, pulling them onto the shoulder or a nearby side street can help prevent additional accidents.
  • Preventing secondary collisions: Moving damaged vehicles out of the flow of traffic can help reduce the risk of secondary crashes caused by other drivers not seeing the accident in time to stop safely.

Protect Your Rights with Kahn Law Firm After a Car Accident in Charleston

If you've been in a Charleston car accident, understanding local laws is vital. At Kahn Law Firm, LLP, our skilled attorneys are dedicated to guiding you through the legal process, securing the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

We offer support during this challenging time, prioritizing your settlement and rights. Operating on a contingency basis, we ensure no upfront fees for you. Contact us at 843-920-5690 for a free case review and let us fight for the justice you deserve.

Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Always consult with our experienced attorney for guidance specific to your situation.