Because most people are rarely in very many car accidents over the course of their lives, they tend not to think of the best way to act if they find themselves in one. Instead, most people tend to deal with the trauma and tension of a car accident in the moment. While most people tend to have a general idea of what to do after a crash, it is all too common for them to overlook important responses to a car accident. Unfortunately, these oversights can lead to problems, in the long run.
Here is what to do, if you find yourself in an auto accident in Philadelphia:
Assess Your Injuries
If there is a car accident and you were in one of the vehicles that was involved, the first and most important thing to do is to make sure you do not have any serious injuries. It is common for the shock of the collision to confuse you. However, if that confusion lingers or turns into dizziness, a headache, or light-headedness, you could have a significant head injury like a concussion.
If you are able to quickly comprehend what happened, then take note of the rest of your body. Some injuries, like broken bones or severe lacerations, will make themselves known immediately. Others, however, are less apparent. If you have neck or back pain, or if there is a tingling feeling in your extremities, then you could have suffered a spinal injury. Stay still and wait for emergency personnel to get to the scene.
In the aftermath of the crash, be sensitive to any changes in how you feel. The adrenaline of a crash can mask your injuries so you do not even notice them until days afterward.
Call for Help
If, after your self-assessment, you can call 9-1-1, do so. Getting emergency crews to the scene as quickly as possible is paramount, especially if there are serious injuries. Tell the dispatcher that there was an accident, describe where it happened as thoroughly as you can, and tell them how many vehicles were involved and whether there were any injuries. If some of these injuries are serious, say so. Additionally, if there is liquid coming out of one of the vehicles in the wreck, mention that, too. It could be gasoline, which would require the fire department to send a crew, as well.
Do Not Leave the Scene
Leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal charges for hit-and-run. If your car was involved in the accident at all, you need to remain on the scene of the crash. This is especially important if someone is seriously hurt or was killed in the crash, as it could make a hit-and-run charge a felony.
Make Sure Others Are Okay
After making sure you are not seriously hurt and calling 9-1-1, check on the others who were involved. If anyone is at risk of being hurt more in the wreck, help them as much as you can without endangering yourself too much, as well.
Once everyone is safe and emergency crews have arrived, you should get the following information from the others who were involved in the crash:
- The names of everyone involved in the accident,
- Driver's license information,
- Phone numbers,
- Information about their insurance.
Additionally, if there were any witnesses to the accident who were not involved, it can help your case in the long run to get the following information from them:
- Their name,
- Their phone number or other contact information.
Finally, if you have a camera on hand, taking pictures can provide evidence about what happened in the collision.
What Not to Say After a Car Accident
One of the most important things that you can do after being involved in a car accident is to not say anything about what happened. Making a mistake and apologizing for something that you did not do can make it difficult to show that you were not at fault. If someone asks you what happened, respond by saying you are not entirely sure, that the police will figure it out, or staying silent.
Call a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney
After a car accident, getting legal representation can make a huge difference in protecting your rights and interests, both with your insurance company and with other drivers who will claim the crash was your fault.
The personal injury attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help. Contact our law office online or at (800) 529-6162.