The scene of any car accident, even a minor incident, can be chaotic and lead to emotional decisions. Drivers who get into collisions should attempt to avoid doing anything that could make pursuing damages for personal injuries or property damage more difficult.
Can I Leave the Accident Scene?
Drivers who were actively involved in a crash in Pennsylvania are legally expected to stay at the scene. Leaving a crash that caused any kind of injury or damage is usually punishable as a misdemeanor crime. However, if someone has been seriously hurt or killed, a hit and run driver can be charged with a felony, expected to pay a hefty fine, and serve up to several years in prison.
Should I Always Receive Medical Treatment?
It can be tempting to deny medical treatment at the scene of a collision. Some drivers may feel as if they were a little shocked, but not hurt. However, injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and internal organ damage, may not be apparent right after a crash.
Drivers and passengers should always seek medical attention as soon as possible. That way, they can lower the likelihood of an accident-related injury getting worse in the coming days.
Also, a driver who tells the insurance company they feel fine may make it harder to obtain compensation for medical bills and related financial concerns, such as lost wages.
Should I Call the Police?
What happens if the accident seems to be a harmless fender bender? Is it wise for the parties to avoid telling the authorities and their insurance providers? This happens frequently because drivers sometimes worry that their insurance premiums will increase if they report accidents; yet, it is always best to do so.
Having a police report might not seem very important in the moment. If one or both drivers tries to make an insurance claim or file a personal injury lawsuit later, the police report could contain valuable information. Even if the damage to both vehicles, the drivers, and any passengers seems minimal, at least one party should call 911.
Should I Admit Fault?
Drivers may feel guilty, especially if they believe they may have caused the crash. They may not have all the facts, though. The other driver could be technically negligent, which would be important for insurance companies to know.
It is fine to show concern for others involved in the collision, but drivers should always limit offering an opinion as to what they believe caused the accident.
Should I Give Out My Personal Information?
Many drivers will take digital pictures of each other’s driver’s licenses. This is risky because it puts both of them at risk for identity theft.
The only information drivers need to share is the following:
- Insurance account numbers
- Phone numbers
Can I Move My Car After an Accident?
Although it is usually wise to move a car after an accident, it is not appropriate if it puts the drivers or passengers at risk. If a vehicle cannot be safely transported to a nearby shoulder of the road or parking lot, it should be left until professionals remove it.
Should I Document the Accident Scene?
A driver who was in a crash will want to use their smartphone to document the collision scene as much as possible. Pictures and videos taken right after the accident can be useful for proving who was at fault. They can also give a better indication of what the site looked like, such as whether obstacles were in the way of signage or it was a foggy evening.
Should I Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer?
Even if a car accident seems minor, it is important to speak to a lawyer. Medical treatment is often costly as well as property damage repairs. A lawyer will fight to hold accountable parties responsible so that their client gets compensation and can focus on their recovery.
Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Car Accident Victims Get Compensation
Car accidents are often stressful, but it is important to remember to avoid doing certain things after one happens. After a car accident, speak to one of our Chester County car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. right away. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.