A car accident is a scary, stressful event. The steps you take following an accident help to determine how well you will recover physically and financially from the accident. We’re going to attempt to help you decide what steps you should take in the unfortunate circumstance a car accident happens to you.
Step One: Stay Calm
A car accident is a traumatic experience that will only seem worse if you panic. Your best course of action is to remain calm. The calmer you are, the more able you will be to cognitively process everything you must in the aftermath of the accident. Staying calm will also help you recall details should you find the need to call a Philadelphia car accident lawyer.
If you have passengers, particularly small children, they will likely take their cues for the appropriate way to respond from you. The calmer you are, the more likely they are to remain calm as well. Everyone needs to remain calm, so they can coherently communicate with other accident victims as well as emergency respondents.
Step Two: Assess Injuries
In the aftermath of an accident, you should assess the injuries of yourself, your passengers, and anyone else involved in the accident BEFORE you move. A cursory, “Is anyone hurt?” will give you an idea of the severity of injuries. Should anyone complain of an injury that person should remain as still as possible until emergency responders can reach the accident scene. Serious injuries might require assistance from a car accident attorney Philadelphia later, so be sure to document any injuries as soon as they are noticed.
Step Three: Get Out of Traffic
Assessing the damage to both vehicles will help you determine if they can safely be moved—provided they are still operational, and no one is badly injured. Provided the cars can be moved safely you should move them to the side of the highway out of traffic as soon as possible. If the vehicles cannot be moved, you should get all involved parties out of harm’s way by moving away from the vehicles and the oncoming traffic. Placing flares or operating hazard lights is recommended to help other drivers see the accident in time to slow down and help keep them from crashing into the scene.
Step Four: Call Law Enforcement
You should call law enforcement to investigate the accident scene and take statements from all of those involved as well as any witnesses that might be standing nearby. The responding officer will document the scene with photographs, diagrams, and statements from the people on the scene. These reports are then made available to the drivers for filing insurance claims and any future legal action that may be pursued. Calling law enforcement helps to eliminate some of the he said/she said factor of accident claims.
Step Five: Exchange Information with Other Driver(s)
Part of the appropriate protocol following an automobile accident is to exchange information with the other people involved in the accident. You should exchange names, telephone numbers, and insurance information with any other driver involved in the mishap. The exact information you should get from the other people involved varies depending upon the state where the accident occurs. Exchanging this information will help with any claims that you might need to make in the future.
Step Six: Contact the Insurance Company
As soon as possible after an automobile accident, you should notify your insurance company of the occurrence. The status of your insurance claim will depend upon several factors. Those include:
- Who is at fault?
- The amount of damage to the vehicles.
- Injuries of the involved parties.
- The coverage you and the other driver have.
What Kind of Laws Are Involved with Car Accident Claims?
Most states follow a traditional tort liability system in which you can recover compensation when a motor vehicle accident caused by somebody else's misconduct or negligence injures you. (1)
In other words, if the other person is at fault, and you are injured, there could be potential for legal action. Only a car accident lawyer Philadelphia can unequivocally help you determine if you have the potential for a lawsuit.
When Should You Call A Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer?
If you're involved in an accident, it might be difficult to determine the responsible party without professional help. If you've suffered injuries as a result, then act in your best interests and consider discussing your case with an experienced attorney familiar with motor vehicle law who can help you navigate this often-complex practice area. (2)
Contacting a car accident lawyer Philadelphia can help you understand your rights and responsibilities after an unforeseen accident. After years of studying the law and specialization, a qualified attorney understands intricacies within the law that a layman wouldn’t. If you feel overwhelmed dealing with the insurance companies, or with the other parties involved in your accident, it’s appropriate to contact someone who specializes in the legal aspects of car accident law. A Philadelphia car accident lawyer can also help to defend you against legal action resulting from your accident.
Following a car accident, there are some steps you should take to protect yourself from legal action and to prepare in case you need to file a case. Contact a Philadelphia car accident lawyer to find out what legal ramifications you are facing in the wake of a car accident. Here at Morgan and Morgan, we are ready to answer the questions you may have regarding an accident.
1. How can a Philadelphia car accident lawyer help me?
First, an attorney can help you determine if there’s a viable reason to file a lawsuit. The lawyer will do this by reviewing any reports completed by law enforcement, medical personnel, and insurance companies. They can also act as a mediator between you and the insurance companies to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.
2. Will a settlement cover my medical bills?
The answer to this question is possibly. There are no guarantees that you will get a settlement or how much you will be awarded if you do. Likely medical bill coverage will depend on the extent of your injuries as well as if the other party was deemed negligent at fault.