If you’ve been involved in a car accident, whether minor or serious, you know that the aftermath can be a challenging time. The lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have created the following list that we hope will be helpful to you in those first moments after a car accident. Feel free to bookmark this page or print it out to keep in your glove box in case of an emergency.
1. Stay at the Scene
A hit-and-run is against the law, and you may face consequences even if the accident is minor and did not result in any injuries. Don’t run the risk of running afoul of the law; stay at the scene until you are given the all clear.
2. Check for Injuries
If occupants of either vehicle sustain any injuries in the crash, they should receive medical attention. It is a good idea to keep a first-aid kit in your vehicle at all times in case of minor injuries, but you should summon an ambulance for any severe injuries. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and call emergency services; it may save a life.
3. Call the Police
If the accident is not serious and you happen to have the non-emergency number, you can use it to summon the police, but there’s also nothing wrong with calling 911 for even a minor accident. To make an insurance claim later, you will probably need an official accident report from the police, so don’t hesitate to involve law enforcement, regardless of the severity of the accident.
4. Make a Report
Tell the police exactly what happened to the best of your ability. Stick to the facts, and include as much detail as possible. However, be careful to avoid saying anything that could be construed as taking responsibility for the collision. Even saying “I’m sorry” could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. Let the authorities and the insurance companies determine who was at fault.
5. Gather Data
This involves exchanging insurance information with the other driver, but it also includes identifying and obtaining contact information from any witnesses, noting the responding officer’s name and badge number, and documenting the scene of the accident. You should obtain the location’s address, if possible, or at least be able to name nearby cross streets. It is also a good idea to take pictures of the scene if you can do so safely.
6. Contact Your Insurance Company
You should do this as soon as possible to start the claims process. In many cases, it is also advisable to hire a Philadelphia car accident lawyer to represent your interests after a car accident. The lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can provide you with more information during your initial consultation, which is always provided free of charge.
What Not To Do After an Accident
There are a few important things to avoid saying or doing after being involved in a car accident. These include:
Not calling the police
In some cases, people believe it is okay to just exchange information with the other driver and forgo calling the police. Not calling the police, however, means you will not receive an official accident report to provide as evidence of what happened.
Avoid recorded statements:
Insurance companies may try to reach out to you after the accident to ask for a recorded statement. We advise our clients to avoid doing that until they have obtained proper legal representation. Remember, an insurance company’s primary objective is to pay you as little as possible. As the victim, you deserve compensation that will cover your medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Avoid waiting too long before seeking recovery on your claim
In most states, there is a set time period for accident victims to sue for personal injuries or wrongful death cases. If the time limit is surpassed, your claim will not receive any coverage.
The attorney’s at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt can help you meet all the required deadlines, and gather the evidence you need to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 1-866-333-7715 or reach out online by filling out our form for your free consultation.