FAQ: What You Should Do After a Car Accident

The period immediately after a crash may be confusing and frightening. It can help to know what to do and to prepare ahead of time.

Car accidents are a common occurrence every day across the country. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 57,652 motor vehicle collisions in the state resulted in injuries in 2014, and 1,107 accidents were fatal. These figures illustrate how it is important for every driver to know how to react after a crash, both for their legal and their physical protection.

State Farm Insurance has provided tips on what to do after a car accident.

What should I do immediately after a crash?

If it is possible, everyone involved should move the vehicles to a safe place nearby, such as the side of the road. This should keep them out of the way of traffic and provide a place to wait for law enforcement to arrive. If anyone is injured, an ambulance should be called.

How should I respond to others wanting information?

It is acceptable, and a common practice, to exchange insurance information with other drivers after a crash. However, it is important to remember not to offer any additional information to anyone other than law enforcement or insurance agents. Discussions about the accident should be limited only to officials who need to know the details. It is also important not to apologize, which may be seen as an admission of fault.

What kind of evidence should I get at the scene?

It can help to take pictures of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles involved, injuries and skid marks on the pavement. Witnesses may also be interviewed, and the drivers involved might benefit by taking down their contact information.

Can I be prepared for an accident ahead of time?

While knowing what to do after an accident may save a lot of hassle and headaches, it can be even better to be prepared before an accident occurs. It is a good idea to include copies of medical insurance cards in the glove compartment, along with the vehicle insurance cards and registration. Vital medical information, such as a list of prescription medication regularly taken, medical conditions and drug allergies, can also be included. In case there are serious injuries that have incapacitated the driver, a list of instructions and emergency contact information can be helpful to emergency personnel.

A small first aid kit is another helpful item to always keep in a vehicle. This may help if there are minor injuries in a fender-bender, which don't necessitate a trip to the hospital. However, it is important to note that any injury after a crash, no matter how seemingly small, should always be checked out by a doctor within a few days. Minor injury symptoms may worsen over time.

Those who are hurt in an accident caused by another driver have the right to pursue compensation. It may help to contact an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney.