What To Do After a Single-Car Accident in Philadelphia

If you’ve been involved in a single-car accident in Philadelphia, you may be wondering if there is any legal recourse to help you pay for your medical bills, or make up for lost wages if you had to take time off of work. Below, the attorney’s at Thistle Law have compiled a quick tutorial on what to do immediately following your single-car accident in Philadelphia.

“Teen Texting vs. Telephone Pole” by jurvetson is licensed under CC BY 2.0


What Is a Single-Car Accident?

Single car accidents occur when only one vehicle was involved in the crash. Common examples of this include when a vehicle:

  • Hits a deer, or other large animal
  • Loses control and overturns, rolls, or spins
  • Hits a pedestrian
  • Hits a cyclist
  • Collides with a mailbox, pole, tree, road sign, guard rail, or any other stationary roadside object


Do I Need To Report a Single-Vehicle Crash in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania there are reportable crashes and non reportable crashes. While you absolutely can and should report a non reportable crash, Police are not required to submit a police crash Report about the accident. While they may choose to file a report as a courtesy to you, they are not obligated by law to do so. 

  • Non-reportable crash: A non-reportable crash is a crash with no injuries or deaths, and the vehicle does not require a tow after the accident. If the accident occured on private property as a result of a deliberate action, or a natural event such as a tree branch, the crash is non-reportable
  • Reportable crash: A reportable crash is one where the accident causes any injuries that require medical attention. If a victim dies as a result of the crash within 30 days of the accident, the accident is considered reportable. Additionally, if a vehicle is damaged to the point where it must be towed after the crash, the crash is considered reportable. 

You can see from the above that any single-vehicle crash that causes injuries, death, or damages to a vehicle that requires towing, would need to be reported to the police immediately, even though only one car was involved in the accident. 

“Accident: Cycling In Dublin Is A High Risk Activity, Or Is It?” by infomatique is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


Pennsylvania Single Car Accident Statistics

The most recent reporting data from Pennsylvania is from 2020. In 2020, there were roughly 286 reportable crashes, with 3 people fatally injured, every day in the state. This means that one out of every 57 residents of Pennsylvania were involved in a crash in 2020. 

Nationally, about 85-90% of all traffic crashes involve some sort of driver error that causes or contributes to the crash. Young drivers (ages 16-21) and older drivers (aged 65 and up) are both over-represented in multiple-vehicle crash data around the country. 

In Pennsylvania, younger drivers were the ones responsible for the highest percentage of single vehicle crashes, causing nearly 40% of all single vehicle crashes. In total, there were 49,655 single vehicle accidents in 2020 in Pennsylvania. 


Who Can Be Held Liable in a Single-Car Accident?

While most people assume that the driver of the vehicle will always be held liable for a single-car accident, there are several situations where that may not be the case. 

Some examples of this include:

  • Another driver’s recklessness caused the vehicle to swerve and hit a roadside object
  • A city or municipality failed to maintain or design their roadways properly, causing the crash
  • The vehicle manufacturer knew, or should have known, about defects in the car that caused the crash
  • An unsecured load fell off a truck and caused the accident


Do I Need a Lawyer To Represent Me for a Single-Car Accident?

Not every single-car accident needs legal representation. If the driver of the vehicle was clearly reckless, negligent, or in violation of traffic laws, then they will likely be liable for damages. However, if any of the above factors are present in a single-car accident, it can be beneficial to speak with an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer

The attorney’s at Thistle Law can help you navigate how to properly file an insurance claim for your single-car accident, and help you identify and negotiate with any parties that may hold liability for the accident. Call us today for a free consultation for your single-car accident, at 215-525-6824 or fill out our form here.

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