Car accidents, even when relatively minor, can be frightening experiences for those involved, leaving many unsure of what to do next. However, knowing what to do after a car accident ahead of time can make all the difference when it comes to being able to successfully obtain emergency assistance, collect evidence, and file a claim for compensation. To learn more about what to do after a car crash, please contact our experienced car accident legal team today.
Contact Emergency Services
The first thing that car accident victims should do after a crash is determine whether anyone is injured, and if someone is hurt, contact emergency services. When paramedics arrive, it is also important for the drivers to tell them of any symptoms that they are experiencing, including bruising, discomfort, nausea, or dizziness. In Virginia, drivers are also required to report any accidents that result in property damage or injuries to the local police department.
Virginia law requires that motorists who are involved in car accidents, in which someone is injured or a vehicle sustains damage, exchange information with the other drivers involved, including:
- Their name, address, and phone number;
- Their driver’s license numbers; and
- Their vehicle registration numbers.
If exchanging this information at the time of the accident is not possible due to the parties’ injuries, those who are involved must submit a report to the state police and make a reasonable effort to locate the other driver and provide them with their information.
Once they have determined that no one is in critical danger, car accident victims should begin the process of collecting evidence to support their claim. This includes writing down information about the vehicles involved, including the make, model, year, and license plate numbers of the vehicles. It’s important to note that any evidence collected at this point can be used to help the parties prove who was at fault for the collision, so it is also crucial for injured parties to take photographs of:
- Any damage sustained by the vehicles;
- Any skid marks at the scene of the accident, as well as any damage to the environment and debris caused by the crash;
- Any relevant weather conditions, such as large puddles of water or icy roads; and
- Any injuries they suffered in the crash.
The testimony of eyewitnesses who saw the accident occur can also play a critical role in proving fault, making it especially important for injured parties to obtain their contact information. Finally, injured parties may want to jot down details about the accident, including the weather and road conditions at the time of the collision, the location of the vehicles immediately before the crash, the exact time and location of the accident, and the approximate speed that the cars were traveling immediately prior to the collision.
Contact Your Insurer
Once the safety of all parties has been guaranteed, the drivers have given their statements to the police, and the parties have taken photographs of the scene of the accident, it is important for accident victims to contact their insurance company, who will then launch an investigation into the crash to determine who was at fault. Eventually, the insurer may offer a settlement to cover the damages incurred caused by the accident. If, however, the settlement is unfair, the injured party should strongly consider retaining an experienced car accident lawyer who can help protect their interests.
Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident attorney will ensure that any settlements offered to their clients are fair. Alternatively, the parties could attempt to recoup the damages from the accident, including compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering, by filing a claim against the at-fault driver in court. An experienced attorney will also be well aware of the important deadlines with which claimants must comply. For instance, in general, in Virginia, plaintiffs must file a car accident claim within two years of the date of the collision. Once this statute of limitations has passed, claimants will miss out on the opportunity to collect compensation for their accident-related losses.
Call Today for Help with Your Car Accident-Related Questions and Concerns
To speak with an experienced Campbell County car accident attorney about your own legal options following a collision for which you weren’t at fault, please contact Herbert E. Maxey, Jr. at 434-969-4873 today. You can also schedule an appointment with a member of our dedicated legal team by completing one of our brief online contact forms.