Steps to Take After a Car Crash
The Steps You Take After an Accident are Critical to Recovering Compensation
Most car crashes happen so quickly that they leave victims feeling confused. The lucky ones who do not experience injuries or property damage can recover quickly, but those who suffer serious or catastrophic injuries can live with the consequences forever. There are certain steps to take after a car crash that can make dealing with the aftermath less challenging, though.
Remaining at the Scene
No matter the type of accident, all those involved must stop and remain at the scene. Those that do not can be charged with a hit-and-run, and doing so can lead to fines, license suspensions, and jail time. Pennsylvania state laws dictate that drivers must stay to help the injured and exchange information. The state police, local police department, or 911 must be called if anyone is hurt or killed. The person calling should try to stay calm and remain on the line with the dispatcher until instructed to hang up.
If the accident is minor without significant damage or injury, Philadelphia Police may only be necessary to help divert traffic. Otherwise, they will arrive at the location and make a report. It is a good idea to gather pertinent information before leaving the scene. This includes names and contact information from all parties, and either writing down or taking pictures of insurance cards, driver’s licenses, and license plate numbers. Taking pictures of the scene, noting the road and weather conditions, and speaking to witnesses can also help.
What to do Next
Immediate medical care is needed after many auto accidents, even if the victim feels that they have not been seriously hurt. Some types of injuries are not immediately apparent but can actually be quite severe. This is also important because insurance companies will check to see if anyone involved sought medical attention. Later claims could be denied if a victim did not do so. Therefore, keeping records of all medical treatment related to the crash is essential.
Once the medical issues have been addressed, it is essential to contact the insurance carrier as soon as possible. Some companies have specified time limits for making no-fault claims. If another person is liable for the accident, their insurance company should also be called. Determining fault at the scene is not always possible, so drivers should never volunteer information about this. Accident scenes can be chaotic, and those involved may not have a clear memory of what happened. Anything said could be used against someone later on, so it is important not to sign any documents or agree to pay for anything. This will all be determined by the insurance companies.
The Laws in PA
The State of Pennsylvania has “Choice” no-fault insurance. Drivers may choose a no-fault policy or one that is traditional, tort liability. The no-fault policies generally prohibit their owners from suing liable drivers when there are non-economic damages, plus policy owners cannot be sued. Traditional tort policies allow the owners to sue drivers with the same kinds of policies, but not those with no-fault ones.
In PA, all drivers must carry minimum liability coverage on their insurance, as follows: $5,000 property damage; $15,000 for injury or death to one person in one accident; and $30,000 for injuries or deaths to more than one person in one accident.
Some accidents must be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) if there was no police report or if there was serious property damage, injury, or death. PennDOT’s AA-600 form is used for reporting these. Drivers should fill out details about when and where the crash occurred, road and weather conditions, property damage, and injuries. It also includes information about everyone involved in the accident, along with a description of what happened. This must be sent in by every driver involved to PennDOT in Harrisburg within five days; failing to do so may result in license suspension and a $200 fine.
Protect Your Rights by Contacting the Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC
Serious car accidents require experienced legal guidance, and we are here to help you. Contact a trusted Philadelphia car accident lawyer at McCann & Wall, LLC and we will fight to protect your rights. Call 215-569-8488 or 302-888-1221 or complete an online contact form today for a free case evaluation. Our Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware, and Haddonfield, New Jersey offices help clients throughout Philadelphia, Delaware County, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware, and New Jersey.