As a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer I often get asked for advice, usually when its too late, about what people should and should not do after a car accident (or truthfully any accident) – I wrote this blog with the hope of having an FAQ of some of the most common, but important questions and answers.
What happens when the police arrive?
Generally, the drivers will be asked for their driver’s license, registration for your motor vehicle and, proof of insurance. You should answer the questions the police officer asks and try your best to remain calm.
What should I do if the other driver has been drinking?
If you notice the other driver appears drunk has the smell of alcohol on them, make sure to tell the investigating officer.
Do I need to prove that I was wearing my seat belt at the time of the accident?
Usually this is a question that the officer will ask as part of their information gathering process, however, sometimes even the police miss things – Make sure the police officer notes in the report that you were wearing your seat belt.
What information should I get from the police at the scene?
Write down the investigating officer’s name, badge number and whether he or she is a city police, highway patrol, or county sheriff deputy. Most times the officer will provide you with a report, or a case number, in Philadelphia called the DC number.
Is there anything I shouldn’t do?
DO NOT admit fault for the accident to anyone.
DO NOT tell anyone how much insurance you carry.
DO NOT sign anything – except, you will have to sign a citation if you are issued a traffic ticket by the investigating officer.
Remember your signature is NOT an admission of guilt; just that you acknowledge that you physically received the ticket.
If the other driver gets a ticket does that mean that they are at fault and have to pay for the accident?
No. A citation to the other driver does not assign blame for the accident – The investigating officer is only giving their opinion, most times after the fact, as to what happened and whose fault they believe it was. The officer still has to convince a judge or jury that the ticket was justified if the driver does not plead guilty.
How soon do I need to tell my insurance company that I was in an accident?
You should tell your insurance company as soon as you can. Be prepared to tell them the investigating officer’s name and badge number, the report number and what happened in the accident.
When should I speak with an Attorney?
You should contact us IMMEDIATELY, there are many pitfalls in dealing with insurance companies, including you’re own, that we can help you avoid, we help people deal with car accidents (among other accidents) on a daily basis, the Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Firm of KaplunMarx, PLLC is here 24/7. Give us a call and let’s talk!