Car accidents are unfortunately not rare occurrences. As a result, it is important to know how to handle the situation if you are faced with a car accident.
A recent law in Philadelphia allows those involved in an accident to file a police report without waiting for the police to arrive first. However, the law only applies in situations where only the vehicles are damaged, and no person has been injured. Drivers can collect information themselves and file their own police report, either over the phone or in person, once the 911 operator is able to conclude that no one was injured on the scene.
Immediately after an accident, it is important to stay calm. Turn off the car, and turn on hazard lights to alert oncoming traffic. Provide first aid to anyone in need. Be sure not to move them in any way that may further exaggerate their injuries, however, you do want to make sure everyone is out of the way of any oncoming traffic.
Call the police to report the accident. Write down information that will be useful later, including, names, addresses, license plate numbers, insurance numbers, and contact information of witnesses and any important statements. If you are uninjured and able, you also may want to write down facts or anything you noticed while on the scene. Photos are another good way to capture what the accident scene looked like.
After you leave the scene, contact your doctor and make an appointment to see him or her. You will need a professional account of your injuries shortly after the accident. It is important that you do not only go to the doctor if you have a life threatening injury, but make an appointment if there is any slight chance whatsoever that you may be injured. If you skip seeing the doctor, you may realize your injury later, and the defendant will question the authenticity of your injury since you did not see a doctor.
Next you will want to contact your insurance company and report the accident to them. However, it is usually a good idea not to talk to the other party’s insurance carrier before consulting an attorney. An attorney can investigate the scene, and protect your interest to make sure you are not taken off guard or taken advantage of by the insurance company, who is looking to pay you as little as possible.