What to Do After a Car Accident
Goodrich & Geist, P.C.’s Legal Team Provides Guidance for Victims of Car Accidents
Over 30,000 people lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents every year, and these accidents cause tens of billions of dollars of damage that affects millions of people. It’s not uncommon for victims to wonder just what to do after a car accident. After an accident, you should document the scene by taking pictures, capturing video, speaking with any bystanders or witnesses, and contacting the police. You should also inform your insurance company about the accident and undergo a physical. Contact our team as well for assistance with the important steps you must take to secure compensation.
Doing this can help you protect your rights and will make the claims process easier. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, and you must file a claim for accident-related damages with your insurer. However, not every case is straightforward, and there are many ways and many reasons for which your insurer may deny your claim or offer a less-than-fair settlement amount. By following the guidance below from the auto accident lawyers on the Goodrich & Geist, P.C. legal team, you can save yourself from such an eventuality.
Knowing What To Do After A Car Accident Can Be The Difference Between Winning And Losing Your Claim
Several things can affect your rights after a car accident. A failure to protect your rights can cause you to lose the right to claim different forms of compensation that you might have otherwise been legally entitled to claim. Here is what you should do after an accident.
Move to a safe place such as the side of the road and call 911. In many jurisdictions, the law requires you to contact the police after an accident; leaving the scene without doing so can have serious consequences. You should also share your contact and insurance details with the police who arrive at the scene, as well as with any drivers who were involved in the accident. The police will write up a report of the accident and this document is an important piece of evidence that you can use when filing a claim.
Next, document the scene of the accident. Take pictures, record video, or take notes of what you remember about the accident. Notes can include the make and model of other vehicles involved and what you and other vehicles nearby were doing right before the crash such as speeding, switching lanes, driving recklessly, or swaying and swerving.
After documenting the scene yourself, you should try to find witnesses, if any. Your accident may have been seen by a passer-by or other road users, and your accident may have been captured on a dash cam or CCTV/ surveillance footage from cameras installed near where the accident occurred. The only way to obtain this evidence is to speak with other drivers and road users after the accident and to visit nearby homes or businesses to inquire about any recording devices they may have in use.
Be sure to undergo a thorough physical examination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the treatment and hospitalization costs for vehicle accidents can cost several thousand dollars, with serious injuries requiring treatment and care that can easily exceed $100,000. Have yourself checked by a doctor to identify any injuries that may be accident-related. Injuries such as whiplash and muscle bruises may only show up days or weeks after an accident, and you may lose the opportunity to include treatment costs for these injuries if you wait for the injuries to manifest before filing for compensation for them.
The next step is to contact your insurer. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state and requires no-fault insurance. Unless you suffered catastrophic, life-changing injuries or were involved in an accident caused by wanton negligence or recklessness, you typically cannot sue for damages after an accident. Contact your insurer and inform them of the accident. They will inform you about what you need to do regarding seeking compensation for your losses and damages.
Finally, you should contact an attorney who will help you file a claim. Insurance companies earn profits by paying less in damages than they earn in premiums. They may try to offer you a settlement that is lower than what your claim is worth. Having an attorney on your side can improve your chances of being dealt with fairly. An attorney can also help you quantify your damages and understand the intricate nuances of personal injury and vehicle accident law as well as the specifics of your insurance policies so that you are compensated for all covered losses and damages.
Contact the Trusted Pittsburgh Car Accident Attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. Today
Contact our team today here for a free case evaluation. We can help you with your claim and will walk you through every step of the process so that you can get your life back on track as quickly as possible. Our caring and understanding team can be reached by phone, text, or email, and we strive to make the claims process as smooth and seamless for everyone as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions About What To Do After A Car Accident
Pain and suffering are classified as non-economic damages. Medical and economics experts will estimate the value of your pain and suffering damages using a multiplier – usually a number between 1 and 5 – which is multiplied by your economic damages to arrive at a figure for your non-economic damages. Remember that the pain and suffering you wish to claim compensation for must be accident-related.
In most cases, you do not have to pay tax on the settlement you receive for personal injuries sustained in a car accident, but you will likely owe taxes on any awards offered that compensate you for lost income and pain and suffering.
We provide free consultations, and our legal services are provided on a contingency fee basis. We may collect a small retainer fee to formally take on your case, but we only collect if you win your case. Attorney fees are usually 33% of your settlement, or 40% if you are awarded damages via a lawsuit.