The moments following a car accident can be disorienting and frightening. You may be unsure of the exact cause of the crash and hesitant on what to do next.
After an accident, the most important thing is to prioritize the injuries of yourself and other passengers. In Pennsylvania, of the 128,188 reported crashes in 2017, the most recent year where data is available, there were 80,612 injuries. While seeking medical attention is critical, there are also other items to consider both immediately after the accident and in the days to follow.
Immediately after the accident
When you are able to, follow these steps after being involved in a car crash:
- Remain at the scene. Fleeing the scene of an accident, even without injuries involved, can result in criminal penalties.
- Call the police. You must call the police when any injuries, property damage or other significant damages occurred.
- Exchange contact information with witnesses and other drivers. Ask for contact information from any witnesses, including other drivers or pedestrians, and from other involved drivers.
- Notify your insurer. You must contact your insurance company after your involvement in an accident. Describe your full account of what happened and disclose any injuries.
Depending on the severity of the crash, other steps may be necessary. Refrain from apologizing, admitting guilt or acting rashly in the moments immediately following.
In the days and weeks following the accident
After the initial shock of the accident subsides, you may decide to pursue a personal injury claim for the injuries or property damage that you suffered. To support your claim, take the following steps:
- Document your medical bills and treatment. Retaining documentation of the full extent of your injuries and medical bills can help to pursue the appropriate damages you are due.
- Take pictures and notes. Take pictures of your car after the accident and make extensive notes of your recollection of the day.
- Discuss your case with an attorney. Speak with a lawyer to learn when accepting a settlement offer may be ideal for your case, as well as other steps to take.
Every accident is unique and involves different considerations. You may be juggling serious injuries, mounting expenses, an inability to work and more. Take each day one step at a time and consult with professionals to pursue what you deserve to allow you to move forward.