What to Do If You Are Involved in an Automobile Accident
By Scott Portner, Esq. and Diana Caiafa-English, Esq.
There is an average of 6 million car accidents each year. Sadly, more than 90 people die each day in car accidents and 3 million people a year are injured in same. Two million of those people will have permanent injures.
If you are involved in an automobile accident, protect yourself and your family by doing the following:
- Immediately contact emergency services if you believe you or a loved one is injured and/or go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care right away to be evaluated.
- Always call the police, no matter how minor you believe the accident to be. Obtain a copy of the Police Report. If the local police do not show up, go to the police station and file your own report. You may file your own version of the accident with the Police, if the Police Report does not comport with your recollection of events. You may also file your own traffic ticket against the other driver, even if the Police fail to do so. Your rights may be prejudiced if you fail to make a police report.
- Immediately notify your insurance carrier.
- Cooperate with YOUR insurance carrier.
- Take photographs of your vehicle and the vehicle that struck you.
- Obtain all of the other driver’s information, including their driver’s license, insurance card, and their vehicle registration (take a photograph of these documents with your mobile device if able).
- Do not sign anything from anyone other than the Police.
- Call the personal injury attorneys at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. for a free consultation.
Remember, use hands-free calling, never text while driving, and always ensure everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seatbelt and/or is secured in the proper child safety restraint!
AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE QUICK FAQ’S:
Q: I’m a Pennsylvania resident. Should I opt for full tort or limited tort?
A: Opt for full tort. By selecting limited tort, you give up the right to recover compensation for pain and suffering unless you suffer a “serious injury” or “serious impairment of a bodily function.” This is often very difficult to prove, even with injuries that cause severe pain.
Q: I’m a New Jersey resident. Should I opt for the “verbal threshold” option?
A: No. Similar to Pennsylvania’s limited tort option, the New Jersey “verbal threshold” or “limitation on lawsuit” option precludes you from recovering compensation for pain and suffering unless you suffer one of the following injuries: death; dismemberment; loss of a fetus; significant disfigurement or scarring; displaced fractures; or permanent injury.
Q: Do I really need “uninsured motorist” and “underinsured motorist” coverage?
A: Absolutely. These are the coverages that protect you in the event you are struck by a driver who has failed to maintain an automobile insurance policy or a driver who does not have sufficient coverage to properly compensate you for your injuries. Do not waive these coverages or step them down.
Q: How much insurance do I need? Should I go with a policy that has the minimum limits of $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident?
A: We recommend that you opt for limits of at least $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident. As a general rule, so called “minimum policies” are usually not sufficient to provide adequate compensation even for less serious injuries.
Q: Do I really need to carry collision coverage?
A: We recommend that you carry collision coverage and suggest a $500.00 deductible. In the event of a collision, this will make getting your vehicle repaired much smoother and allow you to work through your own insurance company. Often, your insurance company will seek to recover your deductible from the driver who struck you.
Q: My insurance agent told me I have “full coverage.” That means I have full tort, right?
A: Wrong. Specifically ask your insurance agent whether you have the limited tort option if you live in Pennsylvania or the verbal threshold option if you live in New Jersey.
If you have been injured in a car accident, we can help. The Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. represent clients suffering from accident-related injuries in Pennsylvania and beyond. For a free consultation, call 888-999-1962 or contact us online today. We have offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina to serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.