As much as we wish we were never party to an auto accident, such calamities do happen. No matter how lawfully and carefully we drive, external factors can lead to an accident. Whether it is irresponsible drivers on the road or inclement weather conditions, there are outside influences that can cause a car accident.
Since complete avoidance is impossible, it is important to know what to do when an accident occurs. So, here is a brief checklist that covers the main duties one must perform.
Let's make one thing perfectly clear: it is not always a crime to cause an accident. However, it is ALWAYS a crime to flee the scene of an accident. So, unless the other party to the accident is threatening your well being, DO NOT depart the scene of an accident!
- Acquire the vehicle license plate, driver's license number, insurance provider, and, of course, name and number of the other party to the accident.
- DO NOT angrily confront the other driver under any circumstances. This is both dangerous and foolish. Let the police be the mediator in the situation. This brings up to our next point...
- Call the police immediately. It is important to summon the police to the scene of the accident and fill out an accident report with them.
- Be sure to acquire the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. This will prove critical in the case of any legal or insurance adjustment proceedings.
- Contact your insurance agency as soon as possible. Inform the insurance agency of the accident and report to the agency all the necessary facts surrounding the situation.
- Do not discuss anything with the other party/parties to the accident. Actually, try to avoid discussing the facts of the accident with your own passengers as well. The main people you should discuss the accident with are the police, your insurance provider, and your lawyer.
- Seek medical attention. Please do not assume that you are "ok" in the aftermath of an injury. Serious injuries sometimes do not reveal themselves until much later. In the case of an undiagnosed concussion, for example, a fatality can occur soon after the accident.
- If you have a camera on your person, it may be wise to take pictures of the accident scene. These photographs might prove very helpful if the time comes where you are required to corroborate your version of the accident.
- Contact a car accident lawyer. PA law regulates the time that you have to file a case after you have been injured in a car accident. If you do not contact a lawyer or file your case before the statute of limitations expires then you may not be able to make a financial recovery.
These few points go a long way in making sure that your response to a car accident maintains both your safety and legal protections. So, do not let anyone them slip your mind if you are involved in a car accident.