What to do After a Philadelphia, PA Car Accident
Getting into a car accident may be one of the most unpleasant times in your life. At the very least, it’ll be the most painful experience in your driving career except perhaps going to one of PennDOT’s Driver License or Photo Centers.
As stressful as it may be following a Philadelphia accident, you need to make sure you do several things to protect your right to recovery and avoid violating the law. If you eventually need to hire an attorney, such as one from the Marrone Law Firm, LLC, following the below tips will make your attorney’s life, as well as yours, far easier.
Tip #1: Check to See if Anyone Is Hurt
No matter how minor the accident seems, check to see if you or anyone else involved is hurt. If so, call 9-1-1. If you or someone else is hurt, but think you or they will “be okay,” call for an ambulance anyway.
Tip #2: Stay at the Scene of the Philadelphia, PA Accident
No matter what, do not leave the scene of an accident until a police officer gives you permission to do so. If you leave early, you could be charged with a hit-and-run, a serious criminal offense.
Tip #3: Call for a Philadelphia Police Officer
Even if you get involved in a minor fender-bender where there are no injuries, call the police. Having a police report may be very helpful later on if the other driver or a car insurance company disagrees with what happened.
Tip #4: Clear Traffic
Only do this if there are no injuries and vehicle damage is minor. By moving your vehicles out of the flow of traffic, other drivers will appreciate it.
Tip #5: Exchange Insurance Information
Find all other drivers involved in the accident and give them your car insurance information and get theirs. An easy way to do this is to take a picture of their car insurance card.
Tip #6: Gather Evidence
If conditions allow, see if there are any witnesses to what happened and obtain their contact information. Also, get the contact information of any of the drivers who got into the same accident as you. Take pictures of all vehicles involved in the accident, including their license plates.
Make sure you get details of all vehicles involved in the accident, including information concerning the vehicles’:
Tip #7: Say as Little as Possible
When talking with the other driver, do not talk about any fault you may or may not have in causing the crash. Make sure they’re okay and obtain the necessary contact information from them, but try not to discuss any more about the accident.
If you admit fault or talk about what you did or didn’t do, this could be used against you in potential future litigation. Even if you were mistaken at the time of making these statements, they can still undermine your case.
Tip #8: Preserve Evidence
Make backups of the pictures you took and the information you obtained following the accident. A good way to do this is to email it to yourself.
Also, write down your recollection of what happened. It may take weeks for your car insurance company to fully process your claim and during that time, your memory can become fuzzy. And any later lawsuit might not begin until more than a year after the accident.
Tip #9: Report the Philadelphia Accident to Your Car Insurance Company
If the accident is minor, you may not know whether or not you will file a claim with your car insurance company. But even if you don’t, you’ll want to give them a heads up as the other driver may sue you.
If you believe that you may be liable for causing the accident or that you anticipate trouble with your car insurance company, you may want to talk to an attorney first.
Tip #10: Talk to a Philadelphia, PA Car Accident Attorney
Having an attorney following a car accident can ensure that your rights are protected, even with your own car insurance company. Yes, they’re supposed to look out for your interests, but they don’t always do this. After all, for every dollar they can avoid paying out, that’s another dollar in profit for them.
Also, if you face the possibility of criminal charges following an accident, what you say to your car insurance company could be used against you in criminal court. Having an attorney to help you from incriminating yourself could make the difference in getting charged or not.
Need Help Handling Your Philadelphia, PA Car Accident?
A car accident can be a confusing and stressful time. Not only might you or someone you love be hurt, but you have the hassle of dealing with car insurance companies and getting compensation for your injuries.
The initial consultation is free, and during this meeting, a compassionate and seasoned car accident attorney will listen to your situation and help you figure out your legal rights and what your next steps need to be.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Post-Accident Process in Philadelphia, PA
It depends. Pennsylvania is a special state in that it allows drivers to choose between “full tort” and “limited tort” car insurance.
Full tort allows you to sue for all your damages following an accident, including pain and suffering. You can bring suit no matter how minor or serious your injuries are.
Limited tort is like “no-fault” car insurance in that you must first try to obtain a recovery for your injuries and damages from your own car insurance company before you sue the at-fault driver. And even then, you can only sue if your injuries reach a certain threshold of severity.
In most situations, yes. For your car insurance policy to cover you, you have a duty to report any car accident you become involved in. You also have a duty to cooperate in your insurance company’s investigation into the accident if you want coverage.
In certain cases, you may not want to speak with your car insurance company until you speak with a lawyer first. If you feel like you may face criminal charges for causing the accident or that your car insurance company will try to deny your claim, you may want legal representation.