Car accidents are intensely difficult experiences to live through. In the moment, you may be overcome by the seriousness of what just happened. It’s hard to know exactly what to do when you’re so stressed.

At Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney, we put our clients first. We’re focused on your long-term best interests and not a short-term quick fix. Our team is devoted to our client's needs, and we will use our years of experience to help you seek the best possible outcome for your case. Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney is proud to represent clients in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and throughout the state.

Steps to Take After an Accident

In the aftermath of a car accident, it’s important to take the right steps to protect both your health and your case.

Get to Safety and Seek Medical Care

First, you should immediately get to safety and make sure that any passengers are safe too. Then, seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are injured. For your own sake, you should see a qualified healthcare professional who can help you begin treatment for your injuries.

Some people believe that because they were only in a minor accident, they don’t need to seek medical attention. However, even after a minor accident, you may not be able to identify or diagnose your injuries. Sometimes, injuries don’t appear for days or weeks afterward. Seek medical attention as soon as possible so that you have the best chance of recovering.

It’s also important to see a qualified healthcare professional because you will need the records for your insurance claim. The insurance company may use the fact that you didn’t see a doctor against you. They often argue that, if the injury was not serious enough to warrant immediate medical intervention, then the later medical treatment for injuries arising from the collision must not be related.

Call the Police

Do not hesitate after the collision to call the local police department or 911.  An official record of the accident and how it happened is often important in your case.

Gather Documentation

Next, gather documentation of the accident. If there were any witnesses, write down their names and phone numbers. If possible, take pictures of the vehicles and the scene of the accident, as well as your injuries.

Take down the other driver’s information, including his or her name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, insurance company’s name and number, and license plate number. 

Write down your own account of the accident in detail. Make sure you keep copies of all the documentation related to the accident, including the police report and your medical bills.

Notify Insurance

Your next step should be to notify your insurance company and, possibly, the other driver’s insurance company. Check with your insurance company or your personal injury attorney about who you should notify in your situation. Pennsylvania insurance law can make this complicated.

It’s important to notify the insurance company as soon as possible because some insurance agencies require that you notify them as soon as two to three days after the accident.

Hire an Attorney

Finally, consider hiring a personal injury attorney to guide you through the legal process of seeking financial compensation. A personal injury attorney can provide a legal strategy to help build your case and help you seek the best possible outcome for your financial situation.

Potential Complicating Factors

After the accident, there are several factors that can make it difficult to receive the full financial compensation you need.

Uninsured Driver

If the other driver was uninsured and at fault for the accident, you will not be able to collect compensation from his or her insurance company since they do not have one. However, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, then you may be able to collect compensation from your own insurance company. Still, there can be exceptions even if you do have uninsured motorist coverage. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more.

Consider All Costs

Medical bills and vehicle repair bills quickly add up, and they may not be the only costs you encounter after your accident. The chances are high that you’ll need to miss work to see your doctor or other healthcare provider and to focus on your recovery. Lost time at work leads to lost income, which is another cost you’ll have to bear.

Making Sure Medical Costs Are Final

It happens to many people: they think they’ve received the last bill for a medical appointment, but then a new bill arrives in the mail. When you accept a settlement from the insurance company, make sure that you know the total final cost of your medical bills related to the accident.

Low First Settlement Offer

Insurance agencies operate on the basis of settling quickly and cheaply. It’s likely that your first settlement offer will be lower than the value of your case. Speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to learn more about how to respond to your first settlement offer. 

Statute of Limitations

It’s important to know that there is a deadline for bringing a personal injury claim to court. The deadline, known as the statute of limitations, differs from state to state. In Pennsylvania, you must file your case within two years of the date of the accident for it to be considered.

How a Knowledgeable Attorney Can Help

Your recovery should be your top priority after a car accident. At Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney, we use our decades of experience to build your legal strategy. We work to help you secure what you need to fully recover, both mentally and physically, from your car accident. Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney proudly represents clients in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and throughout the state. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.