The scene of a car accident in Pennsylvania can seem chaotic. Car accidents can seemingly happen when you least expect them. Knowing what to do ahead of time will help to keep you calm and clear on what you need to do next.
1. Call the Police. Even if the accident appears to be minor, it is extremely important to call the police immediately in order to file a report. Wait for the police to arrive at the scene, unless it is simply impossible to do so. If you cannot wait for the police to arrive at the scene make sure you speak to the police as soon as possible following the accident.
2. Call for an ambulance. Call for medical assistance for yourself, passengers or anyone else injured at the scene.
3. Get information from the other driver. Exchanging information with the other driver is important. Try to obtain as much information as possible, within reason, about the other driver as well as any other passengers who might be in the other driver’s vehicle. Most importantly you need the name, address, and phone number of the other driver as well as the license plate/tag number for the other driver’s vehicle and the state that the license plate is registered. If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their names, phone numbers and addresses as well.
4. Document all injuries. Often times, very serious injuries are not experienced immediately after the accident. Make a detailed list of all injuries and pain you and other passengers are experiencing, even if it seems to be minor at the time.
5. Photograph the scene. Take pictures of the accident scene, if you can do so safely. If possible, take photos from multiple angles and locations. Be sure to photograph:
- Vehicle damage
- Injured drivers/passengers
- Skid marks on the roadway
- The road or intersection where the accident occurred
- Lights or stop signs at the location of the accident
6. Cooperate with police, but speak with an attorney before accepting responsibility for the accident. Avoid speaking with anyone, other than police, about your car accident. You are not under any obligation to accept responsibility for the accident. Nor is there a need to blame others for the accident.
7. Do not Leave the scene of the accident. It is important to remain at the accident scene, unless you are being transported to the emergency room by ambulance, until all other drivers and police have left.
8. Notify your insurance company. You should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as you reasonably can after the accident. You are not under an obligation to contact your insurance company immediately; in other words you are not obligated to contact your insurance company from the scene, or from the hospital or even within the first day or two after the accident. Typically an insurance policy simply provides that you give them notice of the accident as soon as possible after the accident. The insurance company does not necessarily have your best interest in mind. They have their own best interest in mind. For this reason it is always a good idea to contact an attorney following a car accident in order to help you deal with the payment of medical bills, resolution of the property damage, and basically to deal with all issues concerning your case, and in particular issues involving your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company.
Questions Concerning Your Car Accident?
Feel free to share this checklist with others, print, and store in your glove box for quick access at the accident scene. Call our law firm’s toll-free number 800-422-8286 if you have any questions about your unique circumstances concerning an automobile accident.
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