No one expects to be in a car accident, but they are frequent occurrences across the State of Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2019, one out of 45 people were involved in a car crash, amounting to 343 accidents each day. While many of these collisions are minor, statistics show that in 2019, three people died daily in reported car accidents due to fatal injuries. If you’re in a car accident in the future, whether minor or severe, being prepared and knowing what to do afterward can significantly help with a potential car accident claim.
If the other driver caused your collision, you might be eligible to recover financial reimbursement for all your losses. Knowing what to do after the crash is critical to help guarantee your full and fair compensation. While a car accident attorney can certainly help you understand your legal options after a collision, the best thing you can do to protect yourself legally is knowing what to do before and at the scene of a car accident.
How Can I Prepare in Case of a Car Accident?
Often, car accident victims will search for advice on what to do next after a car accident already occurs. However, preparing for one ahead of time will help ensure you know exactly what to do in any potential crash that may save you from difficulties later on. Below are some steps you can take ahead of time to be prepared in case of a car accident:
Keep Essential Documents on Hand
You will need to provide certain information and documents to other parties involved and the police in any car accident. Be sure to know precisely where these documents are in case of an accident or if the police pull you over:
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle registration
- Proof of insurance
It’s also a good idea to keep important medical information available in your cars, such as medication allergies and your doctor’s name, as a precaution.
Carry Tools to Document the Scene
Be sure you have a way to take notes and document vital information in the event of a car accident. While most everyone has a camera on their phones to take pictures of the scene, it’s good to keep a pen and paper on hand to write down names, numbers, and other detailed information.
Supply Your Car with Emergency Supplies
Though it’s not mandatory, you can equip your car with emergency supplies that will help alert other drivers and the police in the event of an accident. Prepare for any accident or car troubles by carrying items such as:
- Orange cones
- Emergency signs
Also, be sure to check your hazard lights periodically and make sure they work as part of your regular vehicle maintenance.
What Should I Do after a Car Accident?
If you find yourself in a car accident in Southeast Pennsylvania or anywhere else, below are concrete steps you should always take to protect yourself at the scene.
Immediately after the collision, stop at the accident scene. If possible, pull over to a safe location out of the line of oncoming traffic. After you’re in a secure area, turn on your hazard lights if they are still working. Keep in mind that you are legally required to stop when you’re involved in an accident, so this step is mandatory. You may face criminal consequences for leaving the scene of an accident.
Help Anyone Injured, If Needed
In addition to stopping at the scene, you must also help anyone who may be injured. After checking yourself for injuries, check on your passengers and anyone else involved in other vehicles. If you’re able to, call for emergency medical help.
Should an ambulance arrive, let them assess you for any wounds or injuries. If you know that you have serious injuries, immediately call 911 (or ask someone else to) so you receive medical attention as quickly as possible.
Call the Police
No matter how minor the car accident may be, you should always call the authorities to have a police report filed. This report is crucial for a car accident or personal injury claim by providing evidence if the accident was not your fault. If the other driver attempts to file a claim stating that you’re responsible for the wreck, this police report will provide the facts and refute their claims.
If the other driver attempts to settle the damage without calling the police, consider it a red flag. Not wanting to call the police to document the crash might suggest that they’re trying to hide something, such as a suspended driver’s license or lack of insurance. Do not fall for this tactic; call the police to file a report to protect your rights. If you’re unable to directly contact them at the accident scene due to injuries that needed treatment, call and report the accident as soon as possible.
Do Not Admit Fault
While you should provide any necessary identifying information to the police officer who arrives at the scene, do not admit fault for causing the wreck. You’re required to provide your contact and insurance information, but say nothing more until you speak with an attorney. If the investigating officer asks if you’re injured, instead of saying no, you can say that you’re not sure.
Keep in mind that the at-fault driver’s insurance company may reach out to you shortly after the accident. You must be very careful with what information you provide when speaking to them.
Until you’ve spoken to a trusted car accident attorney, do not:
- Admit fault
- Say that you’re uninjured
- Provide a recorded statement
- Sign any documents
Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
Photos taken at the scene of the accident can help immensely in a car accident claim. Pictures provide evidence that preserves the location of the crash just as it was immediately following the accident. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene, including:
- Your injuries
- Vehicle damage
- All of the accident scene
Consult a Seasoned Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorney for Free Today
If you’ve been hurt in a severe car accident, consulting with an experienced car accident attorney can provide insight and direction on your available legal options. Get personal injury representation from the highly experienced Southeastern Pennsylvania car accident lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. With over 65 years of experience, our legal team is highly skilled in advocating for car accident victims who entrust their cases to us. We are here to help you with your insurance claim, using our years of experience to secure full and just compensation for your losses.
Speak with a Pennsylvania car accident attorney about your situation for free today. Schedule your free consultation by completing a confidential contact form or calling (215) 822-7575.