In Pennsylvania, there are an average of almost 400 car accidents every single day. Statistics show that even cautious drivers are involved in at least four accidents throughout their lives. In other words, it happens to everyone eventually.
When it happens to you, JPP Law’s personal injury lawyers in Scranton, PA, want you to make sure you’re safe, educated, prepared, and ultimately well-compensated. That’s why we’ve put together the following list of steps everyone should try to abide by in the event of a car accident.
Check for Injuries
Before anything else, in the immediate aftermath of a car accident, it’s important to check yourself and your passengers for any injuries. This might seem obvious, but the shock of such a traumatic event can blur priorities, and surging adrenaline can distract you from the pain that would normally have your mental alarm bells ringing.
It’s a good idea to keep a First Aid Kit in your vehicle for this very purpose. In the case of serious injury, failure to apply bandages or get medical help as soon as possible could mean the difference between life and death.
Get to Safety
Car accidents don’t always happen on the open road. Sometimes they happen in parking lots, driveways, garages, or other unexpected places. Wherever an accident occurs, whether on a busy highway or a small side street, that place is no longer safe.
That much is clear on an active street, where other vehicles pose a significant danger. However, many overlook the danger of a crash site far removed from moving traffic. Don’t forget, cars made of metal and glass, generate tremendous heat and electrify, and they require toxic and flammable substances to run. All of these things are potential hazards.
Call Emergency Services
Once you’ve gotten to a safe place away from active traffic and your own damaged vehicle, the next step should be to call 911. If you follow the instruction on this list, you will have already checked yourself for injuries, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a second opinion from an on-site medic.
Firefighters will also be on hand to ensure that your car doesn’t pose a threat to public safety while police help redirect passing motorists, file a report of the incident, and keep all parties calm.
Exchange Insurance Info
One part of dealing with a car accident that everyone dreads is interacting with the other drivers involved. Will they be apologetic or accusatory? Will they try to start a fight or weasel out of exchanging insurance information?
The truth is that most people will be in the same mental state you are, namely shaken up and a bit nervous. As for those individuals who do react badly, having the police with you goes a long way towards making sure cooler heads prevail and helping you get the insurance info that you not only need but which is also legally required.
Document the Accident
Exchanging insurance information is a crucial step when preparing to file an insurance claim and pursue legal action. Another big one, though, which is all too easy to forget in the chaos following a car accident, is to start documenting the accident.
The sooner you begin, the better; if you’re not seriously injured, ideally, you should start documenting things right away. That means getting a copy of the police, taking note of the officers’ names and badge numbers, getting names and contact information for potential witnesses, and taking photographs of the crash site, vehicles, and other evidence (i.e., tire marks, road signs, license plates, etc.).
Contact a Lawyer
Last but not least, don’t forget to get in touch with a personal injury attorney. Even if your car accident is only “minor,” chances are you will have to deal with medical bills, repair costs, lost income, and more. You may be entitled to compensation that can ease your burden.
If you’re hurt in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, or if your insurance company denies your claim, a lawyer from JPP Law may be able to help. We can provide expert advice on what constitutes a personal injury claim, who is liable for damages, and what your rights are following a car accident.