What to Do After a Car Accident in Philadelphia
Car accidents can be jarring, traumatic experiences. While you may be overwhelmed with the trauma of the experience itself as well as the consequences–property damage, injuries, time in the hospital, medical bills, time off of work, etc.–there are a few important steps to take right after an accident that will be of vital importance down the line should you need to file a lawsuit. Follow these steps to ensure that your bills are paid and your damages compensated, and reach out to a knowledgeable Philadelphia car accident lawyer for help after an accident.
Exchange information and report the accident
If you were involved in a crash, you should pull over and communicate with the other driver(s) involved. Pennsylvania law requires anyone involved in an accident to stop and exchange information with the other driver, even if no one was hurt. Exchange contact information, including phone numbers, addresses, full names, insurance company and policy number, driver’s license number, license plate and registration numbers. If anyone is injured, provide help as necessary. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911.
It is also important to report the accident to the police, even if the accident is minor. The police will come to the scene, interview the parties involved and any witnesses, and generate a report. The report might become an important part of your eventual claim.
Get medical attention
If you were seriously hurt in the crash, get emergency help as soon as possible. Do not delay. If you were hurt somewhat in the accident but do not know the extent of your injuries, or if you are not sure whether you were hurt at all, it is still very important to see a doctor. Car accidents can cause latent injuries that may not be readily apparent, such as concussions, organ damage, whiplash, tissue damage, and internal bleeding. These conditions can become much more severe if they are left undiagnosed and untreated.
Moreover, if you wait too long before seeing a doctor, the at-fault driver or the insurance company may try to argue that your injuries were actually caused by something else after the crash, diminishing your recovery. Do not give them that option.
Collect evidence: Photos, witness statements, documents
The sooner you start building your case, the better your chance of recovering the full damages you are owed. Take photos of the scene of the crash, the surrounding area, any damage to your vehicle and the other car(s) involved, and of your injuries. Look out for any traffic cameras that might have captured the crash. If there are witnesses, including other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians, ask them for their contact information so that you and your attorney can reach out to them later. Keep copies of any documents generated as part of the case, including police reports, medical records, statements from your employer, and communications with your insurance. All of these documents will help you and your traffic accident attorney strengthen your case.
Be courteous, but do not say too much
Cooperate with the police and answer their questions. Be polite to any other parties involved and offer aid as necessary as mentioned above. But, you should generally avoid speaking with anyone else about the crash–other drivers, passengers, or even other friends. If you apologize to the other drivers, if you accidentally admit fault to the police, or if you say too much to other people after the accident (downplay your injuries, say that you were distracted or otherwise at fault, etc.), you can hurt your chances of a full recovery.
Notify your insurance company
You are not required to notify your insurance company immediately, but your policy likely requires you to report the accident to them within a reasonable period. It is all right to take a day or two to report the accident, but be aware that your company may not have your best interests in mind. It is a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney first and ask for their assistance in speaking with your insurance company to ensure that you get maximum coverage for your damages from all parties involved.
GET PROFESSIONAL LEGAL HELP AFTER A CAR CRASH
If you’ve been hurt in a traffic accident in Pennsylvania, you need the help of a seasoned and trial-ready attorney to get the damages you deserve. Benedum Law founding attorney Christine Benedum has dedicated her career to fighting for accident victims and knows how to get her clients the compensation they deserve from those at fault. Contact a compassionate, talented, and effective Philadelphia car accident victim attorney at Benedum Law for a free consultation on your case at 2015-529-7848 (215-LAWSUIT).