What should you do when you’ve been in a car accident?
Accidents are far too common. 2 in 5 accident victims suffer injuries of some kind. Many of the victims are forced to live with these injuries for the rest of their lives. Getting the compensation you deserve is your right, said Philadelphia Car Accident attorney Jeff Killino of Killino and associates. For more information on how you can rightfully claim the compensation you deserve, checkout their website: http://www.killinofirmphiladelphia.com/
First, try to calm down and assess the situation. Determine if it is dangerous to stay in the car, though unless the engine has caught fire, there isn’t a hurry to get out and you shouldn’t rush if there are concerns that anyone is injured. For example, a rear end wreck isn’t going to cause the gas tank to explode like it does in the movies, but rushing to pull someone with a potential spinal injury out of the car for fear it will be a pyrotechnic show could cause paralysis.
Check everyone for injuries, including “I can’t feel X”. If there is anything serious or any doubts, call for an ambulance.
If the accident is minor and you’re able, work on moving the cars out of traffic. Turn on the car’s hazard lights whether or not you can move the car out of traffic. This helps police and ambulances find you and reduce the risk that a passing car will strike the vehicle. Note that this doesn’t eliminate your need to watch oncoming traffic while walking around the car. If you need to help someone out of the car, do it on the side that isn’t facing the traffic.
Call the police to get a police report. This is important whether or not it is major. Only the police can legally perform the tests that confirm the other person is drunk or impaired. Take notes of what the person did during the accident and after. You can exchange insurance information at this point, but do not let the other person leave without a police report being taken. If the person who was driving the car isn’t the name of the insured, ask about their relationship. Don’t apologize about what happened, since this could be taken as evidence of fault, and never offer someone money to avoid an insurance claim.
If there are witnesses, get their contact information. If possible, take pictures of the people involved, the condition of the vehicles, and the condition of the road. If people who live nearby have come out to witness the accident and say this is a regular occurrence, get their information as witnesses. A car accident lawyer could file a claim against the municipal authority for unsafe road conditions even if no one person was found at fault.
Notify your auto insurance agent of the accident as soon as it is convenient to do so, though medical attention for all parties involved comes first.
When someone receives medical attention either at the hospital or visits a doctor, take notes of what treatments you received and record the cost of each. Medical expenses are easy to keep up with and they are reimbursable. Lost wages are typically reimbursed. You may need to consult with a car accident lawyer to receive money for pain and suffering. Don’t rush to accept a settlement from the responsible party or the insurance company, especially if you’re still undergoing medical treatment or receiving repair estimates.
Don’t forget to keep track of the cost to repair the car, since these are also reimbursable expenses. Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to engage a car accident lawyer to receive the full amount you need to repair or replace your car.