No one expects to be involved in a car accident or an accident involving a truck. However, if you ride the roads and highways of the Philadelphia area long enough, eventually you may be involved in a car accident. No matter how defensive a driver you are and how careful you may be, there are still a number of reckless and careless drivers on the roads. There are many drivers who do not follow the rules of the road and drive in aggressive ways. If you have been involved in your first accident ever, there are certain things that you should focus on at the scene of the accident and things that you should do after leaving the scene of the accident.
Things You Should Do at the Scene of the Accident
These are the things that you should focus on at the scene of the accident, if possible:
- Call 911. As soon as possible, make sure that you are safe. The first thing that you should do after making sure that you are safe is to call 911. The sooner you get police and EMS and an ambulance to the scene of the accident, the better. Getting an ambulance and EMS technicians at the scene as soon as possible will be able to help anyone who is injured. In some cases, car accidents can cause serious personal injury. The sooner someone gets treatment, the better chances they will have to survive. Also, having a police officer at the scene will be able to help with directing traffic so that there are no secondary collisions or impacts. The police officer will also be able to take statements from all the parties involved as well as any witnesses. The officer will be able to obtain everyone’s name and address, contact information, and write it up in a police accident report. This report can be used later in litigation if necessary. Also, the police officer will be able to issue citations and tickets to anyone who was deemed at fault for the accident.
- Take photographs. It is helpful to take photographs of the scene in the accident as well as any damage to all the vehicles. Make sure your photos show all the damage to every vehicle, not just major portions of the damage. Make sure that the photographs show the entire scene of the accident, not just the impact point. Take pictures of any traffic control devices such as stop signs, stoplights, yield signs, or other traffic control devices that may have played a part in the accident.
- Obtain insurance information. Drivers should obtain the insurance information for every vehicle that was involved in the accident. Do not just get the insurance information for the vehicle you think caused the collision. The other vehicles’ insurance policies may come into play. The more insurance policies available to you, the better the chance that you will be fully compensated for your injuries and not restricted to only the one policy that is available.
- Look for DUI evidence. Take note of any evidence that might suggest that the at-fault driver was driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If there were any empty beer cans or alcohol bottles in the person’s vehicle, try to get photographs of that. Take note if the other driver was acting erratically after the accident, such as slurring their speech or stumbling or acting in any way that might think that they were under the influence of some kind of substance. Make sure to alert the police officer of any of these things as well.
- Obtain witness Information. Even though the police officer will be investigating the accident and taking down everyone’s information, you should also get information from every driver who is involved in the accident, including their insurance company and policy information, pictures of their driver’s license, addresses, and contact information. Also, get the names and contact information of any witnesses who might be able to testify about the accident and what they saw. An experienced car accident lawyer will want to contact these witnesses as soon as possible to take recorded statements so that their account and memory of the accident is as fresh as possible. As time passes, peoples’ memories fade and they may not have the most accurate description of what they saw. Therefore, the sooner this recorded statement is taken from witnesses, the better.
- Note security cameras. Take note of any security cameras that may have been able to record the accident. In some intersections, there are cameras on the traffic lights. Take note of that, as well as any security cameras that you notice in nearby businesses or on the front of nearby homes. Anything that could be used to show how the accident happened and who was at fault could be helpful.
What You Should Do after the Accident
When you are allowed to leave the accident scene, there are certain things that you should do in the short term and long term after the collision.
- Seek medical treatment. The first thing that you should do is seek medical treatment. Even if you believe that your injuries are minor, you should still see a doctor. There have been many instances in which people think that their injuries are not serious and they go home, and it turns out that they have serious medical problems. Seeing a doctor and medical professionals as soon as possible not only helps you get better faster, but also, it will help your case. If you are being treated by a doctor on a regular basis, that will demonstrate that your injuries are serious and real. If you wait days or weeks to see a doctor, the defendant’s insurance company will likely believe that your injury was not that serious to begin with and offer you less compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Listen to your doctor. Follow through with the treatment recommendations of your doctor. After you initially see your doctor and they prescribe a treatment regimen, make sure that you comply with that treatment. If they prescribe medication for you, get that prescription filled and take the medication as prescribed. If they believe that you should undergo a round of physical therapy, attend every therapy session that is recommended. If the doctor wants you to undergo diagnostic testing, make sure that you get the testing performed. All of this will help you get better and to make sure that there is proper diagnosis and treatment of your condition. Also, it will help your car accident litigation. If your treating doctor has recommended a treatment protocol but you failed to do any or only some of the treatments, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not believe that your injury is serious. If you want to make sure that you receive the full and fair compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering, you need to do everything that your doctor and your treating medical professionals recommend.
- Hire an experienced car accident lawyer. Not every lawyer is the same. There are some lawyers who handle of variety of legal matters. Your goal should be to hire a lawyer who has years of experience representing people who have been seriously injured in car accidents. Not only must you be comfortable with your lawyer, but also you must make sure that they answer all your questions in a compassionate and honest way and make sure that the lawyer will fight for your rights to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.
- Do not fight the insurance company by yourself. Some people believe that they can handle the case on their own and deal with the defendant’s insurance company without using a lawyer. This would be a big mistake. Most people do not know the true value of the injuries that they have sustained. The insurance company will have a small army of insurance adjusters, investigators, and lawyers fighting to make sure you receive as little money as possible. You have the right to have your own representation who will fight for you. Your lawyer should have the knowledge, skills, and resources to make sure that you recover money damages that will cover all of your unpaid medical bills, any lost wages that you have experienced, and an amount of money to compensate you for the pain and suffering and loss of life‘s pleasures that you have had to endure.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, Help People Who Have Been Injured in Car Accidents
If you have been injured in your first car accident, you need someone fighting for your rights. The Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, are here to help you through this confusing process and to make sure you do not have to deal with the insurance companies. We will make sure your medical bills are paid, lost wages are reimbursed, and you receive a fair amount for your pain and suffering. Call us today at 215-569-4888 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.