First and foremost for accountability when it comes time to be reimbursed for your property damage or personal injuries. Yes, this essentially equates to insurance purposes. The person that causes the collision may be apologetic and a "really nice person" at the scene but a couple days later have a change of heart and not be so forthcoming with their admission of liability. Therefore the primary reason is to ensure that the at fault, or sole contributor, that admits to being inattentive or distracted is memorialized by the reporting South Carolina Highway Patrol or local authorities. The primary goal of any insurance company is to protect their insured and if their insured said it was not their fault, the property damage on your car or medical treatment you incurred is not going to be reimbursed anytime soon, if at all.
Secondly, if this is a serious offense and someone is driving on the roadways under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they need to be stopped! Hopefully, no one is seriously injured and by helping this person realize the gravity of their actions, you may save lives down the road.
Thirdly, you have no idea the true impact this collision will have on any property damage to your car or any personal injuries to your person. (no pun intended). Your adrenaline is pumping, so you feel no pain initially. Or the frame of your car is bent but you don’t realize that until you pull off and the vehicle drives crooked. Too late. You let that "nice person" go with a handshake and a smile. That’s okay, I am sure you have a couple thousand dollars lying around to repair your car and medical expenses.
A few tips if you are in an accident, from both a personal injury lawyer and person that has been in two accidents (neither of which were his fault):
- Call 911 or *HP immediately, regardless of severity. If not life threatening tell the operator and explain the details. Those calls are recorded by the way;
- Take pictures of the property damage with your fancy phone or at the very least make a mental note;
- Make sure to get any contact information from any witnesses, especially if they do not have time to stick around for the reporting officer. They can still be helpful but not if you don’t know how to get in touch with them. It would be better if they could stick around and talk to the officer;
- If the other party tries to leave the scene make every effort to get their license tag, vehicle description and/or notify the 911 operator. License tags are usually only 6 characters. You can remember that;
- If you feel any pain at all, notify the reporting officer and go get checked out when the ambulance, or EMS comes out. Otherwise, you know what the insurance company for the at fault driver will say? "Obviously you were not hurt because you did not seek immediate medical attention."