As you listen to your favorite morning tune and enjoy the freedom of being behind the wheel, you feel optimistic about the day ahead. However, all of a sudden, another driver carelessly crosses the middle line of the road and enters your car's path. You do everything you can do to avoid hitting this car, but the sound of crunching steel quickly reveals how unsuccessful you were. And just like that, your carefree morning has turned into a nightmarish start to the day.
A car accident can happen in Pennsylvania when you least expect it -- while on your way to work or to the store, for example. When it happens, what seems like a million thoughts may race through your mind. However, understanding what exactly needs to be done immediately following the collision may help you to protect your best interests down the road.
Right after the crash
Directly following the crash, seeking medical attention is paramount if you or another person involved in the crash have suffered injuries. Moving your automobiles out of the way of traffic if possible is also important to avoid causing another accident.
Then, collecting information pertaining to the accident is critical. This information includes the following:
- The other motorist's name, telephone number and address
- The name of the other driver's insurance company and his or her policy number
- Statements from witnesses along with their contact information
- Photos of the scene and any damage done to your automobile (also take a photo of the other motorist's license plate)
Your next steps
Contacting the police is a step that needs to be taken if you or someone else was hurt in the accident. It is also imperative if the accident led to significant property damage. Having police come out to the scene and produce a report for you may help to give you some leverage at some point in the future when you are describing your version of the events that led to your accident-related injuries or are trying to reach a settlement.
Although injuries suffered in a car accident can certainly lead to financial and physical challenges, monetary damages awarded from a successfully litigated civil claim may help you to address lost wages and growing medical bills. Any awarded compensation may also help with addressing your pain and suffering along with the emotional distress stemming from the motor vehicle collision.