3 Common Questions After a Car Accident in Philadelphia
1. Do you have to call the police?
After any car accident in Philadelphia, no matter how minor, you should always call 911. In Philadelphia, the 911 operator will ask you a series of questions to determine whether to dispatch an officer to the accident scene.
It is important to note that in some situations, even if there is no damage, it is still best to call the police. For instance, late at night in an isolated area, drivers who are alone should call the police and wait for instructions. This is especially important in areas of Philadelphia with high crime rates.
As of May 2010, for a car or truck accident in Philadelphia, you are not required to wait for the police for very minor accidents (i.e., low impact rear-end accident) where no one is injured, no surrounding property is damaged and the cars can be driven from the accident scene. All drivers/parties involved in the accident must agree to exchange insurance information (name, address, date of birth, insurance info, make/model of the car, etc.).
If no police officers are dispatched to the accident scene, you are required to report the accident either in person or by telephone with the specific Philadelphia Police district.
To find out what district your car accident happened in, you can visit http://www.phillypolice.com/districts (enter your location in the search box, hit enter and the district information will be provided).
2. Should you seek medical treatment?
Even low impact collisions can cause serious injuries. Whiplash, while it sounds minor, can cause cervical pathology, like a disc protrusion or herniation. If you experience any type of pain, it is best to call the police and wait for medical attention.
In many instances, drivers and passengers involved in seemingly minor car or truck accidents can develop serious symptoms in the hours or days after an accident occurs. For instance, it is not uncommon for a driver hit from behind in a rear-end accident to feel neck pain the next day. Adrenaline and shock from the accident can cause the body to mask these symptoms. If you feel any pain in the hours or days after the accident, it is important to at least, call your family doctor. If pain increases significantly, it may be best to seek emergency care.
3. Who pays for medical bills?
Because Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, like New Jersey, medical bills are paid by your own car insurance company, up to the amount purchased. PA requires a minimum of $5,000 of medical benefits on every car insurance policy issued in this state; these are known as PIP or personal injury protection benefits. PIP benefits are available without regard to fault. In other words, if you caused a car accident and need medical treatment, your medical bills will be paid by your car insurance company. The same thing goes, even if you didn’t cause the accident. This is precisely how no-fault works in the context of car accidents in Philadelphia.
Accordingly, it is important to provide your own car insurance policy information to your medical treatment providers. Many people make the mistake of providing the other, at-fault driver’s car insurance information or their own private health insurance information. Providing the wrong insurance information can cause a delay in payment and increases confusion in the weeks and months after the accident.
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.