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What to Do After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania

The moments after a car accident can be frightening and confusing. That’s why you must know what to do before one happens (and hopefully it never does). The following list offers rules mandated by Pennsylvania state law, as well as widely accepted practices to effectively and safely navigate the scene of an accident.

Immediate Action
You are required by law to remain at the scene of an accident. Neglecting to do so can be grounds for the suspension of your driver’s license and other more severe charges depending on the circumstances.

Pull your vehicle to the side of the road if possible and stay out of the way of traffic. Be aware of your surroundings, including any problems with your car, such as fire. Notify 911 to report any injuries at once. Do your best to provide immediate help but refrain from moving an injured person unless you have professional medical training. After calling 911, inform the local police if the accident involves personal injury or property destruction.

Legal Information
All parties involved in a Pennsylvania accident are required to exchange pertinent information, including:

  • Name and contact information.
  • Car insurance for all drivers.
  • Driver license number.
  • License plate numbers of the vehicles involved.

It’s advisable to take relevant pictures of vehicle damage at the scene of the accident. Also if possible, obtain the contact information form any eye witnesses including name, address, and telephone number.

When to Report an Accident to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)
You must submit an official report to PennDOT within five days of an accident if:

  • The accident resulted in injury or severe damage to any vehicle involved, and
  • The police did not document the accident on site when it happened.

PennDOT will check this report with the insurance companies affiliated with the crash, so make sure it’s accurate. Always retain a copy of your report for your personal records. Contact a Pennsylvania automobile accident lawyer for guidance.

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