Knowing what to document following a car accident could provide crucial evidence if you are injured because of someone else’s negligence. Follow these steps after an accident to help ensure you will have the documentation you need:
- Call the police to the scene. They will make an official report of the accident; that is the first step in documenting what happened.
- Exchange contact, license, and insurance information with the other driver. Get contact information from any eyewitnesses. Ask them to write down what they saw.
- Document what happened by taking as many photos and videos of the accident scene as possible. This includes damage to the vehicles, damage to personal items inside the vehicle, your injuries, property damage to any surrounding buildings, trees or signs, road conditions, weather conditions, skid marks on the road, and lights or stop signs at the accident location.
- Capture different angles of the same scene, and do close-ups to show details of vehicle damage. Be sure that the photos capture some type of landmark so that their veracity cannot be questioned. A landmark can also help show distance, location, and scale in your photographs.
- Get yourself checked out by a medical professional, even if you do not think you have significant injuries. Minor injuries often turn into major ones, and you should not skip this step. Tell the doctor you were in a car accident, and discuss in detail any symptoms. The resulting medical report is an important document. If you have injuries such as bruises that appear later, document those as well by taking photos that are time-stamped.
Pennsylvania Car Accident Laws
Pennsylvania allows drivers to opt for no-fault car insurance. This type of insurance requires you to file a claim for compensation after an accident under your own personal injury protection, no matter who caused the accident. Only in certain cases and for those who opted out of no-fault insurance is it possible to bring a suit against the at-fault driver to recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other out-of-pocket losses.
If you were injured in an accident and are seeking to bring a claim directly against the at-fault driver, you should know about the Pennsylvania statute of limitations for personal injury claims. You have two years from the date of the accident to file your case in court. If you miss the deadline the court will dismiss your case except for very specific circumstances that can extend the deadline. For wrongful death lawsuits, the limit is two years from the date of the person’s death, which can be different from the accident date.
Pennsylvania also applies comparative negligence when awarding damages. This means that when the court hears your case, you and the other party are assigned a percentage of fault. The damages awarded are reduced by the percentage determined to be your fault. In other words, if you are awarded $100,000 but are also found to be 10 percent responsible for what happened, the amount you can receive is $90,000. Note that you can only recover damages if you are less than 51 percent at fault.
West Chester Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Will Gather the Right Documentation Following a Car Accident
If you have been injured in an accident, speak with one of our West Chester car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. We will thoroughly investigate your case and gather all possible evidence. Call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients across Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.