What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

Car accidents are upsetting. Even after a minor accident, you will probably be shaken up, angry at yourself or the other driver (or both), and maybe even injured. So what should you do if you’re involved in an accident?

Safety First

  • Drive onto the road’s shoulder and out of the way of moving traffic.
  • If your car is disabled, you and your passengers should exit your vehicle and move away from the road.
  • If anyone is injured, call 911 for an ambulance.
  • If any of the injuries are serious, use your judgment about the safety of moving anyone. It may make sense to stay in the car and wait for first responders.

Carefully Choose Your Words

  • Don’t argue with the other driver about who was at fault. Let the police and insurance companies sort that out.
  • Do your best to not apologize or say that the accident was your fault.
  • Provide a neutral, truthful version of facts of the accident to the police and insurance company without admitting that you were careless or negligent.
  • Don’t tell anyone you’re weren’t injured in the accident. Injuries can take time to reveal themselves.
  • Don’t negotiate a deal with the other driver that involves not reporting the accident to the police or your insurance companies.

Call The Police

  • Call the police about your accident even if it’s a minor fender bender.
  • Even though Pennsylvania law only requires an accident to be reported if it results in injury, death or major vehicle damage:
    • Your insurance company will want an official police report when you file your claim.
    • A police report can protect you from fraud (a driver who doesn’t want to call the police may be trying to use the accident to commit insurance fraud).
    • The police report can be a more reliable version of the facts than your memory when you file an insurance or legal claim.
  • Tell the police about the circumstances of the accident as you understand them at the time.
  • Don’t create facts if you’re not sure about something–just tell the police that you don’t know.
  • Get a copy of the report (payment of a small fee is sometimes required) and use your cell phone to write down the names and badge numbers of the police officers on the scene.

Exchange Information

Exchange the following information with the other driver (cell phones are good for this):

  • Name (and the name on the car’s registration card if different)
  • Home address, phone number and email address
  • Driver’s license number
  • Insurance company and policy number

Take Photos

Use your cell phone to take photos of:

  • All of the vehicles involved and their damage
  • Any vehicle parts and other accident-related debris on the ground
  • Skid marks
  • The accident scene — street, intersection, parking lot or other location
  • Any injuries

Report The Accident To Your Insurance Company

  • Whether or not you’re at fault, file a claim with YOUR insurance company as soon as possible after the accident.
  • The insurer will tell you how to send all of the accident information you’ve gathered.

Contact A Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the lawyers at Aversa & Linn can deal with the insurance companies and their doctors and lawyers so that you don’t have to. If a lawsuit needs to be filed to fully protect your rights, we can handle that too. Call us at 215-715-1515 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation.