What To Do Immediately After An Accident
Chances are that at some point during your life as a driver in Virginia, you will be involved in a car accident. Indeed, statistics show that the average driver is involved in about three to four crashes from the time they get their license to the time they stop driving.
If you are involved in a crash, knowing what steps to take right after an accident can help you to stay calm, feel prepared, and improve your chances of recovering compensation from an insurance company. Here’s a list of things to do immediately following a collision:
Stay at the Scene, Check for Injuries
One of the most important things to remember if you are involved in a crash is that you have a legal duty to remain at the scene of the accident; if you leave the scene, you may face legal consequences.
If you are physically able to, you should pull your vehicle to the side of the road or other safe location where it is not at risk of being hit a second time. You should immediately check for injuries – ask your passengers if they are okay, and determine whether you have suffered any injuries (sometimes, adrenaline that is produced in a crash prevents injuries from being immediately obvious). You should also check to see if the driver or any passengers in the other vehicle have been injured.
If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately to report injuries. Remain at the scene until the police arrive.
Gather Information and Evidence
While you are waiting for the police to arrive and document your accident, you should gather information about the other driver and vehicle, as well as any evidence from the crash that you can. Make sure you get the other driver’s name, driver’s license number, insurance and registration information, and vehicle make, model, and license plate number.
This is also the time to gather any available evidence that may be useful in your car accident claim. If you have a smartphone or camera, take pictures of the angles of vehicles (if they haven’t been moved), any damage to vehicles inside and out, and any injuries you can see. You should also photograph road signs, skid marks, debris in the road, and weather conditions. Make sure your photos have a time and date stamp.
When police arrive, give an accurate description of your version of events, and request a copy of the police report.
Seek Medical Care
Even if you don’t think that you have injuries that necessitate emergency medical attention, seeing a doctor as soon as possible after a crash for an examination is important. In fact, if it turns out that you do have injuries and you don’t seek medical care, the insurance adjuster responsible for processing your claim may dispute the validity of these injuries.
When you seek medical care, be sure to thoroughly document all care received. You should also heed your doctor’s orders – if you do not follow prescribed treatment, compensation from an insurance company may be denied.
Report Your Accident and Injuries to the Insurance Company
Because Virginia is an at-fault car insurance state, the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident will be responsible for paying for property damage and medical expenses. As soon as possible after a crash, you should call your insurance company and let them know what happened. In most cases, you can file a claim directly against the at-fault driver’s insurer, a process that your own insurance company should be able to help guide you through.
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
The sooner that you contact a car accident lawyer after a crash, the earlier that your attorney can get to work investigating your claim and seeking compensation on your behalf. At the law offices of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., our Virginia auto accident lawyers will aggressively fight for your right to your full compensation amount. Please visit us today to schedule a free consultation. You can also send us a message or call us at 434-977-7977.