What To Do After A Car Accident In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Car accidents are a common occurrence on Pennsylvania roads, resulting in a significant number of fatalities, injuries, and property damage every year. Based on the latest available statistics data, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that there were 128,420 reportable traffic crashes in the state in 2020, resulting in 1,202 fatalities.

Causes of Car Accidents in Pennsylvania

One of the most common causes of car accidents in Pennsylvania is distracted driving. In 2020, distracted driving was the cause of 14,618 crashes, accounting for more than 11% of all reportable traffic crashes in the state. Distracted driving occurs when drivers divert their attention from the road to focus on other activities, such as using a cell phone, eating, or adjusting the radio. This can lead to reduced reaction times, poor decision-making, and other driver errors that increase the likelihood of a crash.


Another major cause of car accidents in Pennsylvania is speeding. In 2020, speeding was the cause of 27,411 crashes, accounting for over 21% of all reportable traffic crashes in the state. Speeding occurs when drivers exceed the posted speed limit or drive too fast for the prevailing road conditions. This can reduce a driver’s ability to react to unexpected events, such as a pedestrian crossing the road or another vehicle suddenly stopping, and can increase the severity of a crash if one occurs.


Following too closely is another common cause of car accidents in Pennsylvania. This occurs when drivers fail to maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them, which can lead to rear-end collisions. In 2020, following too closely was the cause of 16,380 crashes, accounting for over 12% of all reportable traffic crashes in the state.

Consequences of Car Accidents in Pennsylvania

Car accidents can have serious consequences for those involved, including fatalities, injuries, and property damage. In 2020, there were 1,202 fatalities resulting from car accidents in Pennsylvania. Pedestrians and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to fatal injuries in car accidents, as they have less protection than occupants of passenger vehicles. In 2020, there were 308 pedestrian fatalities and 198 motorcyclist fatalities in Pennsylvania.


In addition to fatalities, car accidents can also result in injuries. In 2020, 31,951 crashes in Pennsylvania resulted in some form of injury. The severity of these injuries can vary widely, from minor cuts and bruises to traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries that can lead to long-term disability.


Car accidents can also cause significant property damage, including damage to vehicles, buildings, and other structures. In 2020, there were 94,622 crashes that resulted in property damage only.

What should I do if I've been involved in a car accident in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there are several steps you should take to ensure your safety, protect your legal rights, and get the help you need. Here’s what you should do:

1. Check for injuries: The first thing you should do is check yourself and any passengers in your vehicle for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately.

2. Move to a safe location: If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location, such as the side of the road or a nearby parking lot. This will help prevent further accidents and keep you out of harm’s way.

3. Call the police: Even if the accident is minor, you should call the police and report the incident. The police will create an official report of the accident, which will be helpful if you need to file an insurance claim or take legal action.

4. Exchange information: Get the name, contact information, and insurance details of the other driver(s) involved in the accident. You should also get the names and contact information of any witnesses.

5. Take photos: Use your phone or camera to take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicles involved, the location of the accident, and any visible injuries.

6. Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t feel injured, it’s a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not be immediately apparent but can cause serious problems later on.

7. Notify your insurance company: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and report the accident. Provide them with all the information you gathered at the scene of the accident.

8. Consult an attorney: If you were injured in the accident or if there was significant damage to your vehicle, you may want to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help protect your legal rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Legalities governing car accidents in Pennsylvania

1. Insurance System

  • Pennsylvania follows a “choice no-fault” system of insurance for car accidents, which means drivers can choose between a traditional tort liability insurance policy or a limited tort insurance policy.
  • If a driver chooses a limited tort insurance policy, they are limiting their right to sue for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, unless they have suffered a serious injury as defined by Pennsylvania law.

2. Fault and Liability

  • If a driver is found to be at fault for causing the accident, they are responsible for paying damages to the other driver or drivers involved in the accident.
  • Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence system, which means that if a driver is found to be partially at fault for causing the accident, their compensation for damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them.

3. Minimum Insurance Requirements

  • Pennsylvania requires drivers to carry minimum liability insurance coverage of $15,000 for bodily injury per person, $30,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $5,000 for property damage.
  • Pennsylvania also requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, which provides coverage in the event that the other driver involved in the accident is uninsured or underinsured.

4. Statute of Limitations

  • In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim related to a car accident is two years from the date of the accident.

5. Reporting Requirements

  • If a driver is involved in a car accident that results in injury, death, or property damage over $1,000, they must report the accident to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation within five days.
  • Drivers involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania must exchange their name, address, vehicle registration number, and insurance information with the other drivers involved in the accident.
  • If a driver is unable to exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident due to injury or other circumstances, they must report the accident to the nearest police department.

It’s important to remember that laws can vary by state and specific circumstances of a car accident, so it’s always best to consult with a qualified attorney for guidance.


Benefits of hiring a car accident lawyer in Pennsylvania:

  • A car accident lawyer can help protect your legal rights and interests after a car accident, including negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf and advocating for fair compensation.
  • A lawyer can help gather evidence to support your claim, such as medical records, police reports, witness statements, and expert testimony.
  • A lawyer can help determine the value of your claim and ensure that you are seeking appropriate compensation for your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.
  • In cases where liability is disputed or shared, a lawyer can help investigate the accident and determine who is at fault, which can impact the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.
  • If your case goes to trial, a lawyer can represent you in court and provide skilled legal advocacy to help you achieve a favorable outcome.
  • A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your claim is filed within the appropriate statute of limitations.
  • Hiring a car accident lawyer can help alleviate stress and uncertainty during an already difficult time, allowing you to focus on your recovery.


It’s important to choose a lawyer with experience and a proven track record of success in handling car accident cases in Pennsylvania. A qualified attorney can help guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.

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