Auto Accident Litigation: There is No Such Thing as a “Minor” Accident

Minor car accidentA fender bender. Bumps and bruises. “I’m okay.” These are a few of the things people to say when they were involved in “minor” accidents. Just recently, Pennsylvania’s own State Attorney General Kathleen Kane was involved in what would be considered by most a minor car accident. A backseat passenger, Attorney General Kane hit her head on the front headrest when the car hit another in a 15 mph zone. She suffered a concussion.

What To Do When You Are Involved in Any Car Accident

In Attorney General Kane’s case, it turns out this accident was thankfully not as serious as it could have been. The other car involved was unoccupied, and the other passengers did not suffer serious injuries either. No litigation has been reported. However, when we are involved in accidents we consider minor, such as a slow speed rear-end accident, parking lot accidents, parallel parking accidents, or impact accidents at slow speeds, we may be inclined to dust ourselves off, note minimal damage to ourselves and our vehicles, and move on with our lives. The following tips remind us about the importance of following reporting laws, basic safety considerations, and why it is so important to always get the information of the other involved party.

Never leave the scene of the accident.

You hit a parked car. It happens. Under Pennsylvania law, you are only obligated to securely leave your information or notify police personnel if there is damage to the vehicle. If you are unsure, it is always best to err on the side of caution. Even hitting a parked car and fleeing may lead to up to a $300 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail. The penalties can be more severe if the other vehicle(s) involved were occupied or if people were injured.

Always get the Insurance and Personal Information of the Other People Involved.

Your neck hurts a little after getting rear-ended, but you are sure it’s nothing. Your car is hardly damaged and the person who hits you says “if you’re not worried about it, I’m not worried about it.” Get their information anyway. Your neck pain could turn into a chronic condition that could lead to years of physical therapy, loss of work, and financial hardship. Your “fine”-looking bumper could fall off on the drive home.

Get names, addresses, license plate numbers, telephone numbers, and everything you can think of, no matter how severe you assess the accident to be at that time. Maybe even keep a checklist in your glove box of things to ask in the event of an accident so you do not forget during the excitement of the incident.

Wear Your Seatbelt.

Notably, Attorney General Kane was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. Though backseat passengers are not required by law to buckle up in some states such as Pennsylvania, wearing a seatbelt is always advisable for protection. Wearing a seatbelt may be the difference between life and death, or a concussion or a traumatic brain injury. It is a small thing that can make a big difference even in slow-speed accidents. Though in many cases you can still recover for personal injuries suffered in a car accident even if you were not wearing a seatbelt, wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident is helpful for your case in future litigation in determining the cause of your injuries.  If you’re travelling with children, it’s also important to know and follow Pennsylvania’s car seat laws.

Auto Accident Lawyers in Pennsylvania

At Solnick & Associates LLC we understand that not every car accident leads to a lawsuit. However, no matter how “small” your injuries are, our experienced auto accident attorneys are always available to listen to the circumstances surrounding your accident and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Small injuries can lead to big problems down the road, and it is important to seek professional legal assistance at the first signs of permanent or long-lasting injury. All states have “statutes of limitations”: time periods following accidents and injuries that place a cap on how long after an accident or injury a lawsuit can be successfully filed. To ensure that your legal claim will not be barred due to time limitations, contact us to learn more about your legal options as soon as possible.