According to Census.gov, in 2009, there were more than 10.8 million car accidents in the United States. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 3 in 10 Americans will be involved in a serious car crash in their lifetime. Nobody likes to think about the possibility of being in an accident, but given those odds, you want to be prepared and know how to react if you’re involved in one.
- Call 911: If the accident is serious and medical attention is needed, you want to get an ambulance there ASAP. Receiving medical attention within the first hour of an accident is crucial in saving lives. You also want to file a police report. Don’t simply exchange names or information with the other driver and then leave the scene. Be sure to get the name and badge number of the officer who takes the report, as well.
- Don’t Discuss Fault: Don’t hop out of your vehicle and blame the other driver, as that can start a fight, nor should you admit fault yourself at the scene. Fault involves complicated laws, and you’ll want to leave that discussion to the police and/or your attorney.
- Exchange Information: You’ll want to be as thorough as possible in getting information from the other driver(s) involved. Get their name and telephone number, as well as the make, model, license plate number, and color of the vehicle(s). Get the name of their insurance company, and their policy number.
- Identify Witnesses: As you’re waiting for the other driver(s) to give you their information, identify any witnesses (pedestrians, other motorists, etc.) to the accident. Ask for their names and contact information, as their testimony can play a large role when determining fault.
- Take Pictures: Almost all cell phones these days are now equipped with cameras. If there was any damage whatsoever, take photos of the damage and make sure to email them to yourself. If you have injuries, you’ll also want to take photos of them, as well, after you receive the appropriate medical care.
- Write It Down: When you get home, take a few minutes and write down what happened while it is still fresh in your mind. Collect all of the information you’ve received (other driver(s) information, police offer name/badge number, witness information, information about the date, time, weather conditions, etc.) and place it, along with your story, in one envelope. This way all of your paperwork stays together.
- Call Your Insurance: You’ll need to file a claim with your insurance company about the accident. Keep all of the documents you’ve collected handy as you make the call, as they’ll likely ask you a number of questions about the other driver(s) and vehicle(s) involved.
Getting in a car accident is stressful, both emotionally and financially, especially if the accident results in serious injuries or death. If you need someone to advocate for your rights, you’ll want to call on an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Lenard Cohen today at 215-765-8181 for a free consultation.