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When Can You Leave the Scene of an Accident?

You’ve been in a motor vehicle accident. Maybe you’ve taken a quick look at both vehicles and there appears to be no damage. Maybe you are in an unfamiliar area or have concerns for your safety if you get out of the vehicle. Do you have to stay at the scene of an accident? When is it appropriate to leave the scene?

As a general rule, you should always stay at the scene of an accident until you have assurances that no one was hurt, that injured parties have either been transported by ambulance or have sought appropriate medical treatment, or you have gathered all necessary information to protect your legal rights in the event of a lawsuit. If, however, you have legitimate concerns for your safety, you may want to either stay in your locked car and call the police, drive to the nearest police station, or simply drive somewhere that you feel safe and call the police.

The first thing you want to do after a motor vehicle accident is verify that you are okay. If you have any soreness or stiffness, or if you had impact with the steering wheel or any part of the car, you will want to stay until police arrive, so that you can get an accident report to provide to your insurance carrier. If anyone else was hurt, you also need to stay. It’s in your best interests to stay, even if you were at fault, as the police report will be a record of what happened, preventing other parties from falsifying testimony about what happened. If you don’t stay, you may have liability for far more than you were actually responsible for, and even worse, you could face criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident.

If it appears that no one was hurt, and that there was no damage to the vehicles, it is still best to stay long enough to gather information about the other driver, and to get contact information from any witnesses. Though you may agree at the scene that no one was injured and there was no damage, the other party may later claim injuries and seek to hold you responsible.

Contact the Attorneys at Metzger & Kleiner

To schedule an appointment with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 215-622-2210 in Philadelphia, 610-563-2186 in the Lehigh Valley, or toll free at 800 228-1760.. There is no charge for your first consultation.

We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. We won’t charge attorney fees unless we recover compensation for your losses.

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