What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Should I Call the Insurance Company Right Away?
Stay at the Scene
You should stay at the scene of the car accident until it is appropriate to do so. If you leave, particularly where someone has sustained injuries or was killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a hit and run driver.
Check on All Drivers and Passengers
Before assessing property damage, make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay. Get medical attention for anyone who needs it. If a person is unconscious or has neck or back pain, don’t move them until qualified medical help arrives, unless a dangerous hazard requires moving the person.
Call the Police
If there’s significant property damage, physical injury, or death, you need to call the police. Ask that a police report be completed to document the car accident. You should try to get the name and badge numbers of the responding officers.
Get the names, telephone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, and license plate numbers from all drivers involved. If there are passengers, also get their names, numbers, and addresses. In talking to other drivers, try to be cordial and cooperative. Note any comments that other drivers or passengers make that indicate who was at fault for the accident.
Talk to Witnesses
If you can, ask every witness what he or she saw. Get their names, numbers, or addresses, if possible. Ask locals if they’ve ever witnessed other accidents in the same place.
Inform Your Insurance Company
Promptly notify your insurance that you were in an auto accident. After your insurance company has been notified, contact attorney Chad Rankin or Bill Gregory from the car accident law firm of Rankin & Gregory (RG Injury Law) to set up a free consultation to explore all of your rights.
Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment
Keep a list of any surgeons, doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals that you receive treatment from, and each medical provider that referred you to other caregivers. Provide your medical providers with your claim number given to you by your own auto insurance company. Under Pennsylvania’s no-fault law, the first, at least, $5,000 in medical expenses will be paid by your own auto insurance policy. Medical Payments thereafter will depend on your individual circumstances. Keep a record of how your injuries have impacted your daily life so that you can demonstrate the pain and suffering that you have endured. List any missed workdays, routine activities you cannot undertake, and describe how the injuries have affected your family life.
Take photographs of any damage to your vehicle as soon as possible after the accident. You should also take photographs of any obvious injuries at different stages of healing and of the permanent scarring if that occurs.
Use Caution in Discussing the Incident
Do not talk to anyone about the car accident other than your lawyer, your insurance company, and the police. Don’t talk to a representative of another insurance company, without the knowledge of your attorney or insurer. If called by the other insurance company, be polite, but ask them to call your attorney or insurer to arrange an interview. Also, tell your lawyer or insurer about the call.
Be Wary of Early Settlement Offers
Be careful if you are offered a settlement from an insurance company. Call the car accident lawyers at Rankin & Gregory for a free consultation about any settlement offers. Never settle your case until you know that you will be compensated for all your injuries, and consult attorney Chad Rankin or Bill Gregory before signing any settlement documents.
If you were injured in a car accident in Lancaster, Pennsylvania or the surrounding areas, it is best to consult an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you maximize your recovery if you are injured. Rankin & Gregory attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means that your lawyer only receives a fee if you’re awarded damages or they settle your case. The attorneys at Rankin & Gregory offer smalltown compassion with big city results. Call today 717.656.5000 for a free case consultation.