What to do After a Car Accident
What you do or don’t do after a car accident may jeopardize your right to recover damages or expose you to liability
There are nearly 120,000 miles of highways and roads in Pennsylvania used by a growing number of motor vehicles to travel around the state for business and pleasure. State agencies report that approximately 121,000 accidents claim the lives of almost 1,200 drivers, passengers and pedestrians each year and injure almost 80,000 others. Traffic accidents in Pennsylvania happen at a rate of almost 14 an hour, so the chances of being involved in a car crash are high. Although every car accident is different, there are certain steps you should take if you have been involved in one. Some of the steps are required by law while others will prove helpful in the event you are injured and consult with an attorney about suing a negligent party for compensation.
First and foremost, do not leave the scene of acar accident. Even if you do not believe there was any damage done or that anyone was injured, you must stop and remain at the scene while doing the following:
- Call 911: You should call for police or emergency assistance if you think that anyone might have been injured or killed, or if you believe there is a threat of fire. When in doubt about whether to call the police, it is better to make the call and let the 911 operator decide if a police or emergency response is warranted.
- Exchange Information: If the police respond to the scene of your car accident, they will obtain information from the drivers. When you do not have the benefit of police assistance, you are required to exchange driver and vehicle information with the other parties involved in the collision. If you hit a parked car you must contact the owner or leave a note on the windshield with your contact information. It is also a good idea to let the police know about the accident.
- Take Notes and Pictures: As long as you are not putting yourself at risk of injury, take pictures of the accident scene. It is also a good idea to take notes about weather conditions and traffic conditions at the time of the accident along with any information that will help you to recall what happened when asked about it months or years later.
If someone was injured or killed in your car accident, or if there was extensive damage to one or more of the vehicles, you must file an accident report with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. You have only a short period of time to file the report before your license is suspended until one is filed.
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible to preserve your rights under your insurance coverage. Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state which means that your medical expenses and lost earnings due to an injury suffered in a car accident might be covered through your own insurance carrier.
A serious car accident can be an unnerving experience. The best thing you can do if you have been injured in a car accident is seek legal advice from our knowledgeable car accident attorneys. We are committed to you and your well-being. The formidable Philadelphia accident attorneys at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim are dedicated advocates committed to obtaining maximum compensation for you. We work hard to eliminate the stress and burden of dealing with insurance company adjusters. Contact us today through our website for a free initial consultation and case review. We are also available to assist you every day, and at any time of the day or night. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 to schedule a free consultation.