Immediately following a car accident, you may be overwhelmed, scared, and injured.
However, if you are able, there are essential steps to take after a car accident to protect your rights.
These steps may be especially vital in situations where you suffered injuries due to no fault of your own.
Virginia Law and Car Accidents
Virginia law outlines essential steps for drivers to take after a car accident.
For example, Virginia law 46.2-894 requires drivers to stop after any car accident.
If police arrive at the scene, they must obtain the following information from you and the other parties involved:
- Your name,
- Your address,
- Your driver’s license number, and
- Your vehicle’s registration number.
The law also requires drivers to provide “reasonable assistance” to those injured in an accident, including taking them to a doctor or hospital.
In most cases, call 911 and request an ambulance or law enforcement.
What Steps to Take After a Car Accident
An experienced personal injury attorney may recommend additional steps after a car accident.
1. Call the Police
After a car accident, one of the first steps to take is calling the police.
When law enforcement reports to the scene of an accident, they create an accident report detailing the events.
An accident report is a valuable tool that your personal injury attorney and any insurance company may use.
Additionally, a reporting office may even determine fault in an accident which can significantly influence the outcome of your case.
2. Preserve the Scene
Car accident steps also include preserving the scene of the accident.
In addition to ensuring your safety until law enforcement arrives, preserving the scene also assists reporting police officers in creating their accident reports.
Set out flares to protect the vehicles involved. Maintaining the hazard lights on involved vehicles also warns other drivers of an accident and to proceed through the accident scene with caution.
3. Create an Accurate Record
Many believe they may never forget the events leading up to a car accident. However, memories fade.
Therefore, create an accurate record. Maintaining this document may be as simple as quickly writing down the details of the events leading up to the accident soon after the accident occurred.
Additionally, if a police officer takes your statement, be sure to tell the officer exactly what happened without including any guesses or speculation.
4. Photographic Evidence
If physically able, obtain photographic evidence of the scene, including photos of your car and any other cars involved in the accident.
It may also help to take photographs of the surrounding environment and any other property damages that may have occurred due to the accident.
If you suffer any physical injuries, take photographic evidence of these as well.
5. Exchange Information
Exchange information with all parties and witnesses involved in the accident.
Specifically, obtain all drivers’ and passengers’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
Obtain their insurance coverage information and ask to see proof of insurance so you can write down that information for yourself.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, obtain their contact information.
Their statements may help establish liability if you decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
6. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe you escaped from a car accident injury-free, one of the most critical steps to take when in a car accident is seeking medical attention.
Some injured victims do not experience symptoms until hours, days, or weeks after an accident.
Obtaining immediate medical treatment provides documentation of any injuries and safeguards your health.
7. Report the Accident
Anyone involved in an accident in Virginia that causes injury or death must immediately contact a law enforcement officer.
Additionally, anyone involved in an accident involving injury, death, property damage, or an uninsured driver must make a written report.
8. Consult an Attorney
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you have a right to seek compensation from the liable party.
However, auto accident cases can be complex and require the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney.
Contact a Top Car Accident Attorney in Virginia
Suffering a severe injury after a car accident can devastate your life.
There are many essential steps to take after a car accident to protect your rights if you decide to file a lawsuit to recover your losses.
At River Run Law, our attorneys aggressively pursue justice and fair financial compensation for our injured clients.
We provide passionate advocacy when you need it most. Contact our office today for a free consultation.