Rules of What to do and what NOT to do when in a car accident:
1. Do not apologize. I know this sounds bad, but by apologizing, you are admitting liability. Simply ask the other vehicle operator if they are alright, or say nothing at all.
2. By all means, call the police. When the police arrive, tell him/her what happened, but do not say it was your fault. That is a legal determination that a jury or judge will ultimately decide.
3. If you are injured, go to the hospital. Follow up on any advice that the doctor may give.
4. Make sure you get the name, address, insurance information, etc. from the other driver. Also exchange your information. This means that you must have your insurance information with you at all times. (Note, you should anyway since it is a crime, at least in Pennsylvania, to drive without insurance).
5. Make sure you get the name, phone number, and precinct of the responding police officer.
6. Contact your lawyer if you are injured as quickly as possible. The sooner an attorney gets involved, the smoother the case. Most insurance companies will want a statement from you shortly after the accident. Attorneys are able to advise how to proceed with those statements.
7. Keep a daily diary. Oftentimes, if accidents result in a civil law suit, you will be asked questions about your daily routines and how they changed after the accident. Questioning can sometimes take place over 2 to 3 years after the accident. A diary will help refresh your memory and make sure you don’t say anything that is wrong or misleading.
8. In PA, you have a choice between full and limited tort. If you don’t already have full tort insurance coverage, GET IT. It’s only a few hundred dollars more a year and it truly pays off. Limited Tort insurance coverage limits your ability to recover for pain and suffering.
Most importantly, contact Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. if you have any questions regarding your car accident. Remember, a consultation with Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. is always free of charge.