If you are injured in a car accident in Pennsylvania, there are a few steps you should take to increase your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries. These steps include reporting the accident to emergency services and receiving medical treatment, gathering evidence from the scene of the accident, documenting your injuries and treatment progression, contacting your auto insurance company, and hiring a personal injury lawyer. You have already been physically injured by the accident; do not allow yourself to be financially injured by taking on the cost of medical treatment as well.
Report the Accident to Police and Get Medical Help
Calling emergency services after a car accident in which you were injured is very important for two primary reasons. First, it is vitally important that you are checked over by medical professionals after an accident. Even if your injuries appear minor, they could be worse than you initially think. Brain injuries, such as concussions, can sometimes take hours, days, or weeks to show symptoms. And if left untreated during that time, they can become worse than they otherwise might have been.
Additionally, your adrenaline levels may be increased immediately after an accident, which may mask the pain of your injuries. Being assessed by a medic after an accident is always a good idea for anything more than the most minor of fender benders.
Second, it is also a good idea to have the accident that caused your injuries documented by police in a report. A police report of the accident can be used later to back up your claims in the event that your insurer tries to deny your claim. The more evidence you can collect regarding your accident and injuries, the better (as we will go over next). And a police report of the accident is about as official as evidence gets.
Have Someone Gather Evidence from the Scene
Any evidence that you can gather from the scene of the accident is going to help your claim. If your injuries are preventing you from gathering accident scene evidence, have someone else do it for you. Evidence to gather includes pictures of the location at which the accident took place, pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved, the contact information of the other motorist and any witnesses, and the time of day at which the accident took place and what the road conditions were like. All of this evidence may be used to show your insurer that the accident happened as you claim it did.
Document Your Injuries
Documenting your injuries is very important to do after any accident. It may not be possible to do so immediately depending on the extent of your injuries, but as soon as you are able to, it is a good idea to take pictures and written descriptions of your injuries. The descriptions should include how you feel (pain, discomfort, etc.), not just descriptions of the injury itself. The more you can document, the better.
Additionally, it is a good idea to document your healing process over time in the same way. This includes what medical procedures or surgeries are performed and any medications that you are prescribed. By keeping records of your treatment, you can more accurately be compensated.
Contact Your Insurance Company
In Pennsylvania, your medical bills are not paid for by the other driver after a car accident. Instead, it is your own auto insurance provider who pays for your medical expenses up to the maximum amount detailed by your insurance plan. This is because Pennsylvania is a no-fault state. Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, each driver’s insurance pays for their bills. And in order for your insurance to pay out, they will need the accident to be reported to them. After you have reported the accident and received treatment, your insurance will be billed by the treating doctors.
Of course, there are also other avenues by which to receive compensation. In car accidents, defective products may have played a role either in causing the accident or making your injuries worse than they otherwise would have been. There are multiple types of personal injury claims that can arise from such accidents.
Hire a Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorney
If you do all of the above and your insurance company still denies your claim, you will need to hire a personal injury attorney with car accident claim experience. Insurance companies are in the business of limiting the amount of money they have to pay out. And to achieve this, they often deny claims in the hopes that the claimant will give up and go away. A car accident attorney will go up against your insurer on your behalf and seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
What to Do After Your Accident
Immediately after an auto accident, you should report the accident to the police and get medical help if you are injured. Next, you should gather evidence from the scene of the accident, or have someone else gather it for you if your injuries prevent you from doing so yourself. You should also document your injuries as soon as possible and keep a record of any treatments you undergo. With all of this information in hand, you will want to contact your auto insurer and report the accident. If your claim is denied after that, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help.
Donaghue & Labrum Trial Lawyers
At Donaghue & Labrum, our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience both settling and litigating car accident injury claims in Pennsylvania. And, if there are any additional claims that arise out of your accident, such as a defective product claim, we can help with those too. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your case.