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1. Call the police, and wait in a safe area. Be smart about where you are and what time it is. If it’s after dark and you’re alone, make sure you are in your car and in a well lit area while waiting for the police. Wait times often exceed 30 minutes.

Related: How to Request a Traffic Accident Police Report in Philadelphia

2. If you’re injured, make sure you let the 911 operator know that you are injured. This will speed up police response time, and the 911 operator may call for an ambulance, which usually arrives within a few minutes.

3. Call your insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible. This will speed up the claims process for property damage and personal injury protection (medical bills), if needed. Remember to take notes of all phone calls, including the names of your agent and other insurance company employees you speak to.

Related: Philadelphia Auto Accident Insurance Glossary – Commonly Misunderstood Terms

4. Review your auto insurance policy. If you can’t locate it, ask your insurance agent for a copy of your most recent “declaration sheet” and your policy. The declaration sheet spells out the specifics of your policy, i.e., what type of coverage you have, your policy limits, etc. Also, remember to look for other sources of insurance coverage. For instance if you’re in an accident in Philadelphia and were just visiting, your credit card may carry a traveler’s insurance policy which might apply.

5. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle as well as any physical injuries. Also, be sure to keep all receipts, such as parking receipts for the doctor’s office, miscellaneous medical supplies, etc.

6. If your insurance company asks you for an interview, make a reasonable attempt to comply. You can and should speak to a lawyer before doing so. Note that you are obligated to comply with your own insurance company. However, you are under no obligation to comply with requests for information from insurance companies of other drivers and parties. In fact, if you are asked for an interview by another driver’s insurance company, you should be sure to speak to a car accident lawyer before you agree to do so. In fact, we advise our clients not to speak to other drivers’ insurance companies and we contact the other drivers’ insurance companies on behalf of our clients. Many times, what you say may be used against you later on during litigation. Get more info about dealing with insurance companies after an auto accident in Philadelphia.

7. Don’t sign anything until after you’ve spoken to a lawyer. Oftentimes, the insurance company for the at-fault driver may make an initial, quick offer to settle the claim for substantially less than it’s actually worth. If you sign a release which relinquishes all claims against the responsible party, you will be barred from bringing a car accident lawsuit against that party later on.

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