Being involved in a public transportation accident is different from being in other types of traffic accidents. Unlike a simple two-car collision, a SEPTA accident often involves a large number of people, greater emergency response, and mass confusion. For these reasons, it is more difficult to know what to do after a public transit accident and easier to make a key mistake that could harm your ability to collect the compensation you need and deserve.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey H. Penneys, we believe that everyone in Pennsylvania should be educated about SEPTA accidents, even before they happen. Knowing what to do in the minutes, hours, days, and weeks after a crash can both speed your recovery and increase the likelihood that you get justice.
Below are seven actions you should take after a bus, trolley, subway, or train accident in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania:
- Stay at the scene and speak to police. In the confusion and panic after a mass transit accident, a surprising number of victims leave the scene even if they have been injured. Some might not be thinking clearly. Some might not realize the extent of their injuries. Some might simply be overwhelmed by the accident and the response. However, it is critical that you remain at the scene of the incident and speak to authorities about your involvement.
- Get immediate medical assistance. Again, perhaps due to the shock of the accident, many mass transit accident victims refuse treatment or slip through the cracks after an injury. They might feel embarrassed, overwhelmed, or confused. They might wish to be treated in their own time by their own doctor. However, from a both a healthcare and legal standpoint, it is a much smarter idea to be treated immediately. Many accident victims don’t realize the full extent of their injuries, and some injuries need immediate treatment to avoid serious complications and promote full recovery.
- Collect information and evidence. Do not assume that because the police respond to the accident that they will collect all pertinent evidence! If you are able, don’t hesitate to take pictures, get the names of witnesses, and write down everything you remember about the crash shortly after it happens. Be sure to get the name of at least one officer who responded to the crash. It is also very important to get an “incident card” from the SEPTA driver.
- Follow doctors’ orders. If you want to make a full recovery, and if you wish to recover compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering, you must follow the directions that your medical team lays out for you. Go to follow-up appointments, see any specialists you are referred to, and take all prescribed medication as directed. Also, be sure to consistently engage in any rehabilitation programs and therapies.
- Use caution when talking about the accident. When you are speaking about your accident, you are speaking about a private legal matter. You are also speaking about a topic in which you might not yet know the full story. Some accident victims have a tendency to blame themselves out of embarrassment, or to accuse others while angry and frustrated. The best plan, though, is to write down the facts and only discuss them with your attorney. While you can inform an insurance company of your injuries, don’t make a recorded statement until speaking with an injury lawyer.
- Don’t assume you know exactly what happened. Even more than in other types of motor vehicle accidents, mass transportation accidents can be difficult to understand, even if you were present at the crash. For example, what could at first appear to be an accident that wasn’t anyone’s fault could actually be an accident caused by an untrained driver or a lack of vehicle maintenance. Don’t take for granted that you have all of the facts. Instead, wait for a full investigation to be completed before taking sides or coming to your own conclusions.
- Speak to an experienced SEPTA accident attorney. An experienced SEPTA accident lawyer can help you through most of the above steps and guide you through the process of filing an injury claim and receiving compensation. SEPTA attorneys have dealt with similar cases before, and they understand both how you are feeling and how you should proceed.
Are you ready to make the call and speak with a SEPTA accident lawyer about your case? Contact injury attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esquire today to schedule a free, private consultation by calling 1-800InjuryLaw (1-800-465-8795) or filling out our free, no-obligation case review form.