How Common Are Car Accidents?
Car accidents happen daily, and the consequences are sometimes fatal. Speed plays a significant role, as high-impact collisions often result in severe bodily injury and, sometimes, death. Other factors that contribute to road accidents are:
- Driving while fatigued
- Disregarding traffic rules and signals
- Failing to yield to the right of way
- Weaving in and out of traffic carelessly
- Distracted driving, such as texting while driving
If you get into an accident for any of the reasons above, there are steps you need to take immediately to ensure everyone is safe. Criminal defense and injury lawyers in Philadelphia advise that your actions could make or break your case if you need to seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
What Should I Do If Involved in a Car Accident?
The Insurance Information Institute provides the following information that may guide you through the most important decisions you need to make after an accident.
Car accident attorneys in Philadelphia say that the steps apply whether you were at fault for the accident or not.
Remain at the Accident Scene
Leaving the scene after an accident is a criminal offense that can result in hit-and-run criminal charges. The penalties can be stiff, mainly if the accident results in severe bodily harm or the death of another person. Be safe and cautious by remaining at the scene until the police arrive.
Check Yourself for Injuries
Assess yourself for injuries to ensure you’re not severely injured. It is common for many accident victims to get shocked and confused by the impact of the collision. If the confusion persists or turns into dizziness, light-headedness, or headache, you could have sustained a severe head injury such as a concussion.
If you can, quickly check the rest of your body for injuries such as severe lacerations. Neck or back pain or a tingling sensation in the extremities could indicate a spinal injury. Depending on the severity of your injuries, take the following steps.
Check if the Other People Involved in the Accident Are Okay
If you’re not badly injured or after ensuring you’re safe, check on the other people involved in the accident and assess them for injuries. If anyone has sustained severe injuries, avoid moving them, which could worsen the situation. Instead, wait until emergency personnel arrive.
Get Out of Harm’s Way
Your vehicles could have collided and rested in a dangerous position that may pose a danger to you and other road users. Pull to the emergency lane or a nearby parking lot if the cars are not badly damaged. If the vehicles can’t be moved, ensure you get out of the car to avoid being hit by oncoming vehicles and mark off the area with safety equipment to warn other drivers.
Regardless of the extent of the injuries, ensure you call 911 to report the accident. The other driver may try to dissuade you from taking this step, but it’s crucial for your safety in the future. The other driver may promise to take care of your car’s damages, but gaining the assistance of a police officer can protect you and others involved in the accident.
The responding officer will investigate the crash to determine who was at fault. They will then make a crash report, which your Philadelphia car accident lawyers may need later in helping you file a compensation claim against the at-fault driver.
Collect Evidence of the Accident Scene
You will likely forget the fine details of the accident sooner or later, yet this information could be crucial when pursuing an insurance claim. So, ensure you preserve the evidence while still at the accident scene. If possible, jot down notes about what you remember concerning the events leading to the accident.
Take photos and record videos of the accident scene. Try to capture as many details as possible, including the angle of the cars after the collision, along with evidence such as tread marks, debris, deployed airbags, and the surrounding environment. Video footage leaves little room for interpretation and could give in-depth insights into what happened.
Once you ensure everyone is safe, and you have collected evidence, talk to the other driver and people involved in the accident and get the following information:
- Their names
- The driver’s license information and plate number
- Their phone numbers
- Information about their insurance providers
- Location of accident
Additionally, you can talk to any witnesses who were not involved in the accident. Get their name and contact information. Doing so could help your Philadelphia car accident attorney collect more information about your case later.
Don’t Discuss the Accident
Philadelphia criminal defense and injury attorneys advise motorists not to say anything about what happened to anyone at the scene. Apologizing to the other driver for the accident could be taken as an admission of fault, and it could be challenging to prove you were not at fault later on. If someone asks what happened, say you are unsure and remain silent.
An Experienced Car Accident Attorney Providing Legal Counsel About Car Accidents
Knowing what to do after an accident is crucial for your safety. Your response can also protect your rights when pursuing compensation from your insurance or the at-fault party’s insurance provider. Once you’ve done everything you should, remember to contact skilled criminal defense and injury attorneys in Philadelphia to handle the legal aspects of your case.
The lawyers at the Liberty Law Team can look into your case and guide you on what to do to avoid making mistakes that could make the situation worse. We can also help you pursue a compensation claim if you or your loved one sustained injuries in an accident caused by another driver. Call us at (215) 826-3314 to schedule a FREE case assessment.