The moments after a car accident are important to collect information from the other driver. Asking the right questions and following the right procedure can make a big difference in how your case is handled.
Some questions you should ask the other driver at the scene of your accident are:
- Do you need medical help? Don’t assume that just because you see no injury that no injury exists. If the driver can’t speak or seems unstable, call 911 for an ambulance. If uncertain, call 911.
- Did you call the police? You must do so if there is property damage to a vehicle preventing it from being driven, if there are injuries, or if there is damage to other property like road signs, etc. You can obtain a copy of the police report later.
- Do you have insurance and if so, what is the insurance company and policy number?
- What is your contact information, meaning your address and phone number?
- What state issued your driver’s license?
- Is your car registered in that state?
- Who owns this car?
- Are you currently performing job duties? If so, the driver’s employer may be liable for damages.
The above questions are inspired in part by state law, specifically Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code §3744, Duty to Give Information and Render Aid. The law requires those involved in an accident stop, exchange information and render aid, and that occupants of the car provide pertinent information if the driver can’t.
Also be sure to jot down the license plate number as well as a general description of the vehicle, e.g., make, model, color, number of doors, and any other pertinent information.
If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information so you, your attorney, or the police can contact them later to get a statement regarding the cause and circumstances of the accident.
Other On-the-Scene Tips
Stay polite and calm to avoid confrontation. If the other driver threatens you or you feel uneasy, call the police and explain the situation even if you don’t have any injuries or damages.
Avoid making any statements beyond the simple facts of the case. Insurance companies are notorious for turning the most seemingly unimportant utterances into proof of fault.
Call the police if the other driver flees. Fleeing the scene violates Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code §3744. The other driver may be have an outstanding warrant or be in the process of committing a crime, or have no insurance. It’s important to inform police of a runaway driver.
Avoid stepping into traffic. Only move your car if it presents a danger to other drivers and it is safe to do so. Use this time to take photos of the scene with your cell phone camara.
Get Help from Cordisco & Saile after a North East Philly Accident
Learn more about your rights under Pennsylvania state law, including whether or not you can collect damages. Cordisco & Saile LLC can assist you with your car accident claim. Just call 215-642-2335 to set up your free consultation so you can get started on your case.