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Know your insurance and these safety practices in case of an accident

You purchase insurance for your vehicle because you have to. You also do it to protect yourself. You never imagine that you will get in an accident. Unfortunately, accidents happen. In 2016 nearly 40,000 people died in car accidents. It was one of the deadliest years for drivers in almost a decade. Pennsylvania has specific car insurance requirements that are unique to the state.

You should know these terms if you are an insured driver in Pennsylvania.

No-fault insurance will pay medical bills for you and passengers after the accident. This will happen regardless of who was at fault.

Full tort insurance merits you unrestricted financial compensation for injuries that are caused by another driver.

Limited tort insurance allows you to recover medical costs and other expenses that you may pay for out of pocket. It does not cover non-monetary damages, such as pain and suffering.

Compensatory damages are those that have monetary value. Medical expenses, such as hospital bills, doctor's appointments and on-going treatments are compensatory. If your vehicle was damaged, you may be awarded for lost property.

Non-economic damages are those that can't be determined through bills. Any compensation for pain and suffering would fall under this term.

Punitive damages are damages that the court could order the person responsible to pay as a form of punishment. They are meant to hold a driver responsible for reckless behavior.

It can be difficult to think clearly after an accident. If you are injured, it can be even more difficult to deal with the aftermath of a crash. Know what your insurance policy potentially covers and how it works to avoid added stress.

If you are involved in an accident, try to be proactive. Take early action to help with safety.

  • Check for injuries. If you suspect that you, any of your passengers or others involved in the accident have injuries, call an ambulance.
  • Take pictures. If it is safe and possible, photograph the layout of the vehicles.
  • Move off of the road. If it is safe and the accident is minor, pull the car to safety. This will help emergency vehicles get through and keep traffic moving.
  • Warn other vehicles. Turn on your hazard lights if you are able. If you have a safety kit, use reflective triangles or cones to alert other drivers. 

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