There are 6 million car accidents every year in the United States. Put another way, about 1 in 50 Americans experience a car accident every year. If you ever find yourself involved in a collision, it’s good to stay prepared and know what you should do after a car accident.
Check for Injuries
Before anything else, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If something is damaged or broken, you don’t want to risk further injury. Identify sources of pain, any loss of feeling, or bleeds. If the injury looks bad, try to stay calm. If you or someone else suffered broken bones or serious bleeding, call 911 immediately.
Call for Help
Getting emergency response professionals on the scene helps everyone get the care they need as soon as possible. If someone is seriously hurt, urgent treatment can prevent additional damage and can improve the chances of a successful recovery. While shock and confusion hold a powerful influence on accident victims, someone must call emergency services.
You should also call the police to get an officer on the scene. Pennsylvania law requires a police report after a car accident if the crash resulted in an injury of any kind, including death. You must also file a report if either vehicle cannot drive away from the scene.
Create a Record
Filing a police report begins a paper trail documenting a car crash. Having a police officer on the scene creates an unbiased statement regarding the damage and the physical state of those involved in the accident.
It’s better to file a report sooner than later. Although you have five days to file a report, Pennsylvania law requires drivers to help anyone injured in a crash. Failure to do so could result in a criminal hit and run charge, even if you were not at fault for the crash. It’s safer to file a report from the scene.
After a crash, you need to collect the other driver’s insurance information so you can file a claim. This includes their name, home address, phone number, insurance provider, policy number, driver’s license number, and license plate number.
After exchanging information, make an effort to take photos of the crash. Take pictures of the full damage, a picture of each car, a picture with both cars, and a picture of the surrounding area if possible. These pictures will help the insurance company’s forensic investigators determine who was at fault for the accident.
Go to the Doctor
Although a crash already disrupted your day, you should go straight from the scene to your healthcare provider, assuming your injuries did not warrant a hospital visit. Going to the doctor immediately after a car accident can help identify internal injuries or other ailments that may have gone unnoticed. It also tells the insurance companies that the injuries were severe enough to warrant immediate medical attention.
After leaving the doctor, you should call your insurance company. Most policies require you to report an accident with 24 hours. However, you only need to provide basic information at this time. If the insurance company requests a recorded statement, you have every right to refuse, no matter how hard they push.
Contact an Attorney
After you’ve managed your health and fulfilled your obligation to the insurance company, you should consult an experienced auto injury attorney. If there’s any doubt about who caused the accident, an attorney can examine all of the evidence you collected and fight for your justice. Hiring an attorney can make an enormous difference when it comes to settling your injury case as they will take care of all the paperwork and negotiating while you rest and recover.
If you suffered serious injuries from a car accident, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced Pennsylvania auto injury attorney from Slusser Law Firm to evaluate your claim, don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (570) 405-9953.