If you’ve been in a car accident there are several steps you should take to protect yourself and make sure you have all the information you will need to protect your right to file a personal injury claim.
STEP 1: CHECK YOURSELF FOR INJURIES
If you're injured, call 911 or ask someone else to do so. If you're seriously injured, try not to move, and wait for emergency personnel.
STEP 2: CHECK YOUR PASSENGERS FOR INJURIES
If you're not too hurt to move, check on the other passengers in your car. If anyone's injured, get on the phone with emergency services or ask a bystander to call for help.
STEP 3: GET TO SAFETY
If you're able to, move to the side of the road or a sidewalk. If your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard where it is, pull it to the side of the road. Otherwise, leave it where it is and get yourself to safety.
STEP 4: CALL 911
Whether an accident is considered a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. In busy counties such as Philadelphia you may find yourself waiting a long time for the police to arrive for a minor traffic accident. In that case, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself. In that case make sure you compile the necessary information to complete the report. Remember, you are your own best advocate.
If the accident is a hit and run or the other driver attempts to flee the scene, be sure to call 911 immediately and tell them the driver is fleeing. It is a crime to flee a car accident scene and the police will respond. Be sure to give them a description of the vehicle, the direction it is heading, license plate number and any other identifying marks.
STEP 5: EXCHANGE INFORMATION
After making sure you and any passengers are uninjured, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Here's what you need:
Full name and contact information
Insurance company and policy number
Driver's license and license plate number
Type, color and model of vehicle
Location of accident
Don’t discuss fault of the accident at the scene and try to avoid being confrontational while exchanging information. Although you may be rightfully upset that someone just hit you, try to remain calm. Similarly, do not discuss fault at the scene, your attorney, investigators, insurance adjusters, and responding police officers will handle establishing fault. However, you should document the accident to assist these parties with making an educated determination. After all, you and the other parties were the only ones who actually experienced it!
STEP 6: DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT
In order to help protect yourself, the III recommends taking the following steps:
Identify the officers.
Once the police arrive, get the name and badge number of all responding officers.
Get a copy.
Ask the police officers present where you can obtain a copy of the accident report. Your attorney may ask for a copy of the report when you file a claim.
Document the accident thoroughly by taking pictures of your vehicle from different angles, showing the damage done to both cars. It might also be a good idea to take pictures of the other car's license plate.
Take down names.
Write down the names and addresses of all parties involved, including any passengers in the other vehicle.
Talk to witnesses.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, take down their names and their contact information, as well.
STEP 7: CALL A PHILADELPHIA PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
If you are feeling faint, dizzy, or starting to feel the onset of pain, it’s important that you get to a hospital and get checked out. Many injuries may not be immediately apparent or may set in several hours or even days after the adrenaline of the accident wears off. In these situations, you should contact an injury attorney to protect your rights. Here at our law offices, Troy R. Crichton, Esq. doesn’t charge for consultation and there is no fee unless we win compensation for you. Call 267-225-3317 to discuss today.