5 More Costly Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania

June 13, 2024

A couple of years ago, we published an article discussing five costly mistakes to avoid after a car accident in Pennsylvania. In that article, we explained the importance of not posting about your accident on social media, making assumptions, listening to your insurance adjuster or ignoring your medical needs, and we explained why there is no reason to try to handle your situation on your own. In this article, we’re covering five more costly mistakes to avoid—starting with an extremely common mistake that we see far too often.

Mistake #1: Not Reporting Your Car Accident Right Away

In Pennsylvania, drivers are required by law to report any car accident that results in physical injuries or property damage that prevents one of the vehicles involved in the accident from being “driven under its own power in its customary manner.” Calling 911 from the scene of the accident generally satisfies this requirement, but if the police don’t respond, you may still need to file a Driver’s Accident Report with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

Along with reporting your car accident to the police (or PennDOT) promptly, it is also important to report the accident to your insurance company right away. If you have an insurance claim, the insurance companies will be looking for any excuse to avoid covering your medical expenses and repairs (and any other losses you may suffer as a result of the accident). The longer you wait to report the accident, the easier it will be for the insurance companies to claim that you can’t prove your injuries and vehicle damage are accident-related. If you wait too long, the insurance companies may claim that they can’t conduct an adequate investigation, and eventually, you will lose your ability to file a claim entirely.

Mistake #2: Accepting Responsibility (or Partial Responsibility) Before You Know What Happened

After a car accident, it is natural to start questioning whether there was something you could (and perhaps should) have done to avoid the collision. But, while it is okay to have these thoughts, it is not okay to let them influence your decision-making.

Under Pennsylvania law, being partially at fault in a car accident can limit the amount you are entitled to recover, and if you are primarily at fault, it can prevent you from recovering any compensation (aside from any no-fault coverage you may have under your policy). While the insurance companies may try to blame you for your own losses, the reality is that you won’t know who was responsible until you hire a law firm to conduct an investigation. Even if you made a mistake behind the wheel, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your mistake caused—or even contributed to causing—your collision.

Mistake #3: Making Uninformed Decisions About Your Insurance Claim

When you have an insurance claim after a car accident, it is absolutely imperative that you make informed decisions. As we discussed previously, you should not be relying on your insurance adjuster at this stage. Your insurance adjuster’s priority is protecting the insurance company, and while your insurance adjuster cannot mislead you (at least not legally), your insurance adjuster also does not have to provide you with the information you need to assert your legal rights effectively.

If you make uninformed decisions about your insurance claim, you will almost certainly end up with less than you deserve—and potentially much less. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer can help you make informed decisions about things like:

  • How much coverage you should seek for your long-term medical needs;
  • How much you should seek for your other long-term injury-related costs;
  • Whether you should get your vehicle repaired or seek to have it declared a total loss;
  • Whether you should accept partial responsibility for the accident;
  • When (and if) to settle your insurance claim.

When you purchased your auto insurance policy, you had the option to choose between “limited tort” or “full tort” coverage. The type of coverage you chose will play a major role in determining what options you have after a car accident. Your lawyer can explain the differences between “limited tort” and “full tort” coverage in detail—and then you can use this information to make sure you do not unknowingly leave money on the table.

Mistake #4: Failing to Consider All of Your Options

Along with making sure you understand your options for filing an auto insurance claim, it is important to make sure you know your other options as well. Car accident victims in Pennsylvania can file claims outside of auto insurance in many cases. If you have a claim outside of auto insurance—such as a claim for a road or vehicle defect or a claim against a negligent driver’s employer—this will play a major role in determining what compensation is available to you as well.

Mistake #5: Focusing on a Quick Resolution Instead of a Fair One

Finally, while we understand that you may want to move on from your car accident as quickly as possible, we also know how important it is to make sure you receive the full compensation you deserve. With this in mind, as you think about how to handle your situation, you should avoid focusing on a quick resolution instead of a fair one. While it may take some extra time to recover the full compensation you deserve, making sure you don’t settle for too little will ultimately be best for you and your family long-term.

Get Help from an Experienced Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer Today

Do you have questions about what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing after a car accident in Pennsylvania? If so, we can help, and we strongly encourage you to contact us right away. To speak with an experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C about your legal rights in confidence., call us at 888-777-7098 or request a free consultation online now.