Regardless of fault, car accidents are stressful experiences. Between property damage and injury, it may be hard to remember what to do in the wake of an accident.
Keep the following guidelines in mind after a traffic collision. Following these steps should protect your legal rights.
Steps to take following a traffic collision
Responsible drivers in Pennsylvania find these steps helpful in navigating the legal landscape of a traffic accident:
- Remain at the scene: Do not leave before speaking with authorities and exchanging information with other drivers. Anyone who left may face a hit-and-run criminal charge.
- Help the injured: If anyone needs medical attention, call 911 or help, if possible.
- Take photos and video: Photos and video of the scene may help determine liability and identify all involved parties.
- Exchange information: Collect the names, addresses, vehicle registration and driver’s license information from all involved drivers. Refrain from discussing the details of the accident or apologizing.
- Inform the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDOT): If the accident caused injury, death or enough damage to a vehicle that requires a tow truck, drivers involved in an accident must inform PDOT. Submit Form AA-600 within five days of the incident.
- Contact an attorney: Regardless of how serious the accident may be, many Pennsylvania drivers may have legal questions. Consulting with a local attorney familiar with Pennsylvania vehicle law should be able to provide answers.
Liability and financial responsibility
Pennsylvania uses a “choice no-fault” system for liability and insurance in personal injury cases. With no-fault insurance, a driver’s insurance covers their medical bills, regardless of fault. No-fault insurance prohibits drivers from suing, unless the accident results in severe or permanent bodily impairment. However, Pennsylvania drivers also have the choice of more traditional liability insurance. In both cases, the at-fault driver is still responsible for property damage.
Drivers involved in an accident may find success by having their claim reviewed by an experienced lawyer.