What To Do in Case of a Motor Vehicle Accident
A motor vehicle accident is a situation no one ever hopes to be involved in, but it happens. In Pennsylvania, where residents log more miles than most states, the law of averages is against us – particularly in cities like Philadelphia.
When an accident occurs, most people don’t have a clear state of mind to do what’s in their best interest. Between the shock of the accident, emotions, adrenaline and inexperience, it’s common for people to make a bad situation worse.
Much like a fire drill, the best thing you can do is train and prepare to handle a tough situation.
We’ve put together a simple checklist that we recommend you follow in the event of a car accident. We even recommend that you print this list out and keep it with your other important documents. If you are ever in an accident, a quick reference guide can help keep yourself and your thoughts organized.
- When possible, move your vehicle out of the way of other vehicles and/or hazards and turn off the engine. If there is smoke, leaks or other apparent danger, get out of the car. Check your surroundings before opening the door to ensure that you are safe.
- Stay calm. Do not let emotions get the best of you. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts and get your mind in check before interacting with anyone.
- If possible, check on others involved to ensure that there are no emergencies. Do not touch or move anyone who is severely injured.
- Call for medical assistance and 911 if necessary. A police report may help protect you from potential liability and legal action.
- Document the scene:
- Take pictures of any and all vehicles and objects involved in the accident
- Record weather conditions
- Record your location
- Try to speak with and document witnesses and get all contact information including full name, address and phone numbers
- Take pictures and/or write down any and all documentation, such as driver’s licenses, insurance information, license plates, badge numbers of any responding police officers.
- Do not say more than needs to be said, and do not admit guilt/fault. Saying something like ‘I’m sorry I hit you’ can be a legal admission of guilt.
- Seek medical attention, even if hours or days after the incident. If emergency services aren’t called to the scene but you feel different in any way, seek immediate care. Dizziness, as an example, can be a sign of a more serious issue such as a concussion or more serious trauma.
- Contact an attorney.
- Do not speak with anyone about your accident other than the police, your insurance company and your attorney and follow your attorney’s advise when dealing with 3rd party inquiries, such as another person’s insurance company.
There are several measures that you can take to be prepared in the event of an emergency. By following these tips, you can help prevent making a bad situation worse.
- Keep a safety kit – roadside flares, strobes or flashlights can help if you are ever on a highways or in low visibility conditions, such as a sharp curve, bad weather or in the dark of night.
- Keep a blanket, gloves and/or hat handy – if your car is inoperable or unsafe, these items can be life savers during winter months. Depending on the circumstances, you can be outside for a very long period of time.
- Have your cell phone charged – ensure that you phone is well charged or have a phone charger in your car. A cell phone is the primary way to contact 911 and a convenient way to help document an accident.
- Keep your documents at the ready – know where your documents are, including medical/insurance information in the event of an accident.
If you are ever in an accident, call Murray L. Greenfield and Associates for a free consultation. Our trusted team of attorneys have been assisting clients involved in motor vehicle accidents for over 30 years.