You are on your way home from work when a vehicle rear-ends you at the stop sign.
The damage to your vehicle is minor, consisting of some dents and scrapes on the rear bumper. However, your car is by no means totaled, and it drives just as fine as it did before.
Immediately after the accident, you have some pain but it is minor; nothing some Tylenol cannot handle. You can even walk around the scene, and you know you will get home just fine afterward.
In this accident, you know the other driver was at fault. They might even admit it to law enforcement. However, with everything pointing to this being a minor, simple incident, do you really need to contact an attorney?
Generally, yes you should. It makes sense to explore your legal rights any time you are dealing with a situation that involves filing a claim or seeking compensation. Furthermore, it would help if you underestimated your injuries at the scene. A few days from now you may notice more pain, migraines, and chronic issues that could result in numerous medical expenses and even missed wages.
Bottom line, there is no harm in meeting with an attorney. Most accident attorneys offer a free consultation, too. This means you can meet with them, discuss your rights, and they can tell you if your case needs an attorney or not.
What To Do at the Scene of a Philadelphia Car Accident
Right now, you do not know if you will end up hiring an attorney. Instead, you are staring at your vehicle, which is slightly mangled, and wondering what to do next.
After an accident, it is easy to become confused but it is also essential you follow these steps. In the event your injuries are more serious than you realize, you will have prepared the evidence necessary to get a reasonable settlement for your accident.
- Call the police and report the accident. Never leave the scene, even if you think the accident is minor. Call and report the accident to the local precinct and they can inform you of what to do next. They may take the report over the phone or dispatch an officer to your location. Regardless, reporting it means you have met your obligation to report the collision.
- Get a copy of the police report. A police report helps in any accident case and provides crucial information like the other driver’s name and contact information, witnesses at the scene, and what the officer reports happened.
- Take photographs of the accident. Minor accidents often go without many photographs from law enforcement. This means you should rely on your photos to show vehicle damage, the scene of the crash, and any visible injuries you incurred at the time.
- Find witnesses and get their information. Find any witnesses present who saw the accident and get their contact information. There is no need to interview them at the accident scene; you can follow up later, if necessary.
- Report the incident to your insurance company. You might not be at fault, but you are still required to report the accident to your insurer. In the event the other party does not have insurance, this ensures you can file a claim with your insurance company for compensation. Also, failure to report may give your insurance company grounds to drop you from their plan entirely.
- Seek medical attention regardless of how “minor” it feels. You may have a bump on the head and a minor headache, but you feel fine. Regardless of the severity of the accident, medical attention is a must-do. Not only will it ensure you do not have any serious injuries that adrenaline is covering up, but it starts a medical record for your accident and injury. That way, if you feel worse in a few days, you have already shown the link between the initial symptoms and your accident.
When Should You Hire an Attorney?
Sometimes, a case, indeed, does not need an attorney’s help. Other times, you might be unaware that an attorney is required.
As stated before, there is no harm in speaking with an attorney. The law limits how long you have to file a suit in an accident case. Therefore, the sooner you consult with one, the better.
Some circumstances that might warrant hiring an attorney include:
Insurance Company Agrees to Settle but for Less Than You Need
The insurance company from the at-fault driver has offered a settlement, but it doesn’t even cover your medical expenses and only covers the cost to repair your vehicle with subpar service. Insurance companies assume that, if you are negotiating for yourself, you do not know how much compensation you are entitled to. But the moment an attorney takes over, you may notice that the settlement that was offered goes up.
There Is a Dispute about Liability
Some accidents have straightforward explanations, while others may result in a dispute about who caused the crash. When this happens, you need an attorney. Do not rely on a police report or witness statements alone. Often, insurance companies will try to push some of the fault onto the other party as a way to lower how much compensation they owe – an attorney knows how to fight against this tactic.
The Injuries Became Serious
You felt fine at the scene, and the next day you were just a little “off.” However, a few more days pass and you start suffering severe migraines, mood swings, and chronic pain. Once you see a doctor, you are diagnosed with nerve damage.
In this case, you just went from an incident that was nothing to one that is taking you out of work, requires surgery, and your bills are going unpaid. An attorney will seek compensation for these costs so that you can focus on recovery – not battling compensation values with an insurance company.
Find an Attorney in Your Area Today
Whether you have experienced a car crash or motorcycle accident in Philadelphia, regardless of how “minor” the accident seems at the time, it is in your best interest to at least consult with an attorney. Attorney, Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq., can meet with you for free and discuss your rights and options.
To get started, schedule a free case evaluation by calling 800-465-8795 (office), 215-771-0430 (cell), or by filling out an online contact form.