What to Do if You are in a Car Crash: A Guide from MyPhillyLawyer
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on January 12th, 2018
Vehicle crashes can happen anytime, especially when winter weather turns slippery and nasty. That’s why it’s a good idea to periodically review the correct steps to take to protect you and your passengers if you are ever involved in a vehicle crash with another motorist who is drunk, distracted or making bad choices on our roadways.
These kinds of crashes happen when innocent drivers least expect them.
Here’s what you can do if you are involved in such an incident, according to the Insurance Information Institute:
- First, evaluate yourself and any passengers in your vehicle for any injuries, and then tend to any injuries first. Call 9-1-1 immediately to get police and rescue workers to respond if anyone is hurt.
- Pull your involved vehicle to the side of the road, if possible, to get to safety and to minimize any additional exposure to danger from other vehicles.
“If the accident was triggered by road rage, take extra cautions when engaging with the other driver,” the Insurance Institute adds. “If you are bumped from behind and think you might be the intended victim of a carjacking, make sure to pull off in a safe place” where others can see you.
3. Wait for help to arrive from the police or other emergency officials. Stay in a safe area near the disabled vehicles, but remain aware of other traffic nearby and stay far enough away to be out of danger. Use your vehicle’s hazard lights and set out warning flares or reflective triangles to let other drivers know to use caution near the scene.
4. Assess the damage to your vehicle and other vehicles after checking to be sure that other motorists are also OK. You should always be prepared for a post-crash emergency by having a pen and paper, disposable camera or cellphone camera, and a copy of your insurance card easily accessible to minimize your stress if an accident occurs.
5. Record the details of the accident, including the make and model of the car and the address where the accident occurred. Get the names of and contact information for everyone involved in the crash, including witnesses. Ask the other driver or drivers (if you are involved in a multi-car accident) for a license, car registration and insurance ID card, and get the makes and models of the cars involved. Note of the location of the accident, time of day and the weather conditions. Obviously, if you have been seriously injured you won’t be able to take the steps listed above. Most of that information will be available later through police reports and insurance documents.
6. Don’t discuss the crash with other drivers beyond providing your contact and insurance details. Provide details about what happened to police officers investigating the incident, and with your insurance agent and attorney when you contact them.
7. Even if the police can’t come to the scene, you should file an accident report promptly with a local police department to bolster your legal standing in any resulting legal cases that might come out of the crash. Having an official report can help in case the other driver decides to sue for damages or medical injuries, or there is more damage done to your car than initially thought, according to the insurance Institute. You will also need to have the report when making an insurance claim.
8. As soon as possible after the crash, you should notify your insurance company about the crash and what happened so they can begin a claims process while the details of the incident are still fresh in your mind. Many insurance companies today have staff available 24/7 and can assist immediately. Have your agent’s phone number in your cellphone for such emergencies.
9. Call your attorney as well to advise them about the situation, your injury status and any pending legal cases.
10. Before a crash occurs, it’s also a good opportunity to make sure that you have enough insurance coverage to protect you, your family and others if you are ever involved in a motor vehicle crash. Read the details of this critical issue in a related MyPhillyLawyer blog post.
11. Also, be sure to keep up-to-date vehicle registration and insurance documents in your vehicle, as well as any important medical information (allergies, doctor’s names) for you and your family members.
Being involved in a vehicle crash is stressful and not pleasant, but taking these steps to protect yourself and any passengers can help reduce such stresses and make your recovery easier.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in any kind of vehicle incident anywhere in the United States. We pledge to make sure that you and your family get the compassionate, dogged and experienced legal representation that you deserve and expect from a professional legal team which works hard to uncover every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.
We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.
When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.