What Should I Do Right After The Car Accident in Pennsylvania?
In the bustle of day-to-day life, car accidents and other such traffic incidents aren’t as infrequent as you’d likely prefer. Unfortunately, very few people even know the proper procedure for what to do and say when a car accident occurs. The following steps, as a general rule, are important to follow whether the incident is your fault or not.
What Should I Do Right After My Car Accident?
Your response at the scene of the accident is crucial. It decides how smoothly the process will go.
- If the accident is minor, pull your vehicles off to the side of the road. If one is damaged beyond the ability to move, however, you should stay in your vehicle with the flashers on and your seat-belts fastened.
- Be sure to check for injuries, on both your passengers and the individuals in the other car – not to mention any injuries on yourself. Determine whether or not you’ll need to call 911.
- Contact the police. This isn’t optional. Any time a traffic accident occurs, the police must be contacted.
- Do not assume you can leave the scene based only on your opinion that no damage has occurred to the other vehicle.
- No matter how you may be feeling, do not admit guilt. If you do, it could lead to more serious consequences later.
What do I do once the situation is under control and injuries are accounted for?
Contacting your insurance company would be your next course of action. They’ll be trained and ready to instruct you on the exact steps you should take to gather information and survey the scene. If you can’t contact them for some reason, there should be a list of steps on the back of your insurance card.
In general, you should collect the following information:
- The exact time, date, and location of the incident;
- The other driver’s name and address;
- The other driver’s license number, insurance provider, and policy number (Take pictures, if possible.);
- The other driver’s phone number; and
- Name, address, and phone number of any known witnesses.
You should not accept money from the other driver, even something good-natured to “help with repairs”. Accepting money confuses the legalities of the situation, and it may make one or both insurance companies unable to help you.
Note that you’ll be required to fill out a report about the incident. Take pictures of the damages to both vehicles for your record.
Where do I proceed from there?
Decisions made by insurance companies regarding fault are not binding on the courts. Penalties associated with any citations arising from a traffic accident should be reviewed with a Traffic Violations lawyer before deciding how to proceed.