Residents of Philadelphia know how common car accidents are. Knowing your rights and the proper procedure afterward can help you greatly in case you need to sue for financial compensation for damages to your car or severe injuries you have sustained. After the accident, you may feel a bit helpless. Assistant VP of Liberty Mutual, Bill Brower, recommends following this nine-point checklist after an auto accident:
- STAY CALM. Be aware of what’s going on around you, including your own personal safety and the safety of anyone in your vehicle. Before going any further you should always make sure everyone involved doesn’t have a serious injury and is out of harm’s way. Safety should be your first priority. It’s important to never admit blame. You should always be polite to the other driver, but apologizing for something immediately can severely hurt your car accident case in the long run.
- CALL 911. If someone has an injury, call for medical assistance. It is also very important to have an official fill out an accident report. Call emergency personnel, such as a police officer, so they can fill out the form and have it filed right away. If you do not call for help you can visit your local precinct and request to fill out an accident report.
- TAKE NOTES. Be sure to take down notes of the time and location of the auto accident. You should also write down the year, make, and model of the car along with a short description of how the accident occurred.
- TAKE PHOTOS. Document the scene with your cell phone or a disposable camera. Show where the two cars are positioned as well as the other cars’ license plates. Be sure to photograph the damage done to your vehicle AND the other vehicles involved.
- EXCHANGE PERSONAL INFORMATION. Write down the other person’s name, phone number, drivers license number, and insurance details.
- TALK TO WITNESSES. Get names and numbers of people who saw the auto accident. Write down what happened in their words. It may also be a good idea to get their mailing address if they are willing, since some people may change their phone numbers during the duration of your case.
- RECORD A DESCRIPTION. Take a photo of the other driver (with their permission). Unscrupulous drivers have been known to deny involvement weeks after the car crash.
- REMOVE VALUABLES. Don’t leave valuables in your car if it is towed. I have heard entirely too many horror stories of drivers who have had some of their electronics or other valuables taken out of their car after they hand it over to a towing company.
- CONSULT WITH A LAWYER. Before speaking with an insurance agent, it is a very good idea to seek legal advice. The Heslin Law Firm has been handling car accident and personal injury cases in Philadelphia for over 30 years. We will give you our honest opinion and fight to get the compensation you need to cover your costs of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Schedule a free consultation with an auto accident lawyer at The Heslin Law Firm.
*source: Liberty Lines, Volume 16 Issue 3 Fall 2012