I Was Injured in a Car Accident. What Now?
In the US, millions of car accidents happen each year. As a victim of a motor vehicle incident, you may sustain injuries that need medical attention and that rack up large medical bills. In the most serious cases, a car accident may cause death. These vehicle accidents can have profound impacts of your life and the lives of your loved ones. Below you will find a state by state guide to help you or a loved one navigate the next steps after a car crash.
Colorado | Florida | Maine | Massachusetts | New York | Rhode Island | Tennessee | Texas | VirginiaI was injured in a car accident in Colorado. What now?
Take a minute. Instead of jumping out of your car to see how others are doing, take a minute to inventory how you are feeling. Jumping out of the car right away before you assess your own injuries could make any injuries you have sustained worse. Just take a head to toe inventory and decide if you believe it is safe to get out of the vehicle.
Check on others. If you determine that you are ok and can safely exit your vehicle, check on the other people involved in the collision.
Report the collision. Even if there are no injuries, you need to call 911 to report the collision. Colorado law requires that all collisions are reported immediately. Once you report the collision, you should stay on scene until an officer arrives or until you are told by a 911 dispatcher that you may exchange information leave. If you are told that you may leave the scene, you should first exchange all information such as insurance cards and driver’s licenses. NOTE: If there are injuries, if it is a hit and run, if you suspect drug or alcohol use or if there is damage to public property, you will need to stay on scene until the police arrive no matter how long it may take. Be sure to take photos of all vehicles prior to leaving the scene.
File an online police report. If you are allowed to leave the scene prior to police arrival, you must file an online police report immediately after or as soon as possible. You will need to report all information regarding the collision so, again, it is very important that you get copies of the other driver’s insurance card, their driver’s license, and photos of the vehicles BEFORE you move from the scene. Also note the time of the collision, the direction the vehicles were traveling and any witness information.
Document details of the collision. Even more than what you report on the online police report, you should get a journal and document every single thing that you remember from the collision. Include details such as the weather conditions, statements made by the other driver, statements made by the police (if they arrived) and statements of witnesses. Describe exactly how the collision occurred, how fast you were travelling, how fast you think the other car was travelling, if you were injured in the collision or if anyone else was injured. If you were injured, make sure you detail exactly what you felt and when, if you saw the impact coming, and how your body was positioned at the time of the collision.
Report the collision to the insurance carries. This is true for both insurance carriers. Call the at-fault driver’s insurance company and open a claim. You will be given a claim number. Just give general information at this time in order to open the claim. You will be given a second claim number from your own insurance company. You will be told that an adjuster will contact you later to get a statement. Consider consulting with an attorney before making any statement to the other driver’s insurance company.
Get checked out by a physician. It is very important to understand that just because you do not feel pain at the scene, it does not mean that you are not injured. Many injuries do not make themselves known until hours or even days after the collision so it is important to keep assessing how you are feeling to determine if you should go see a professional. It is a good rule of thumb to get checked out within the first 24 hours after a collision just in case.
Keep up with appointments. If you do determine that you need medical attention, be sure to keep all of your appointments and follow all recommendations. Many times our lives are interrupted by doctor appointments. This is especially true after a collision. However, in order to be sure that you get the treatment needed for your injuries, you really need to attend all appointments. This is absolutely true if you have opened a bodily injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The adjuster will look for any excuse not to settle your claim for what it is worth. They will use breaks in treatment and missed doctor appointments to show that you weren’t really injured in the crash. After all, if you were, why didn’t you go to all of your appointments? Do not give them any additional ammunition to be unfair to you.
Journal. Keep a journal tracking all doctor appointments, how you feel, and how the collision has impacted your life. Be sure to note if you have physical injuries such as bumps, scrapes, bruises, and cuts. Take pictures off all of the injuries you sustained in the collision and put them in your journal. Also note any cognitive problems that you may notice which can include problems concentrating, problems with comprehension, with memory, and/or disturbed sleep.
Consider getting legal representation. There is sometimes a stigma attached to people who hire an attorney for a personal injury. The truth is that sometime people really need an attorney. Sometimes the insurance company will only offer a small amount to settle the claim. Sometimes they try to convince you that you do not have a case or that your injury cannot be related to the collision. Sometimes you do not have insurance and therefore you cannot get treatment that is needed. A personal injury attorney can help in all of these situations. It is not about getting rich; it is about getting better and being treated fairly.
Colorado Offices in Denver, Colorado Springs
Arizona Offices in Phoenix
I was injured in a car crash in Florida. What now?
Hi, I’m Matt Morgan from Morgan & Morgan, America’s largest personal injury law firm. I’m here to talk to you about challenges you might face as a car accident victim in Florida, and how our law firm is uniquely equipped to tackle them.
A car crash is a distressing experience no matter the circumstances, but a serious accident has the potential to turn your life upside-down. Between medical bills, lost income, and physical injuries, you have a lot to contend with. Throw in an insurance company that doesn’t want to pay your claim, and it can all feel overwhelming.
We fight the bullies so you don’t have to. We’re prepared to take on any insurance company, and go above and beyond to secure full and fair compensation in your case. If that means going to trial because the other side won’t offer a fair settlement, we’re ready and willing. Our law firm takes more cases to trial than any other, because we always do whatever it takes to win.Auto Insurance Laws in Florida Are Complex
Florida has unique insurance laws that create obstacles for accident victims seeking to recover compensation. Notably, motor vehicle operators are not required to have bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance, which is designed to pay for injuries to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians when the policyholder is at fault.
Fortunately, most Florida drivers do carry BIL. But because coverage is not mandatory, there are a fair number of drivers without it. To compound matters, many drivers have BIL insurance but lack sufficient coverage for major injuries.
Florida drivers can protect themselves and their loved ones against motorists without BIL coverage and with low policy limits by purchasing uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage through their insurance company. This coverage helps accident victims recover losses that the liable driver may be unable to pay.We Can Protect Your Rights
As you can see, Florida insurance law poses various hurdles for accident victims. And even if you suffer a serious injury and the other driver was clearly in the wrong, you’ll likely have a battle ahead of you to recoup your losses.
You shouldn’t rely on any insurance company – the other driver’s or your own (in the case of UM and UIM coverage) – to value your claim fairly. Insurance companies want to protect their bottom line, no matter what. To that end, they might claim that your injury was pre-existing, that your symptoms aren’t that bad, or even that you don’t have coverage.
You need a personal injury lawyer to fight back against these corporations, and no law firm does it better than Morgan & Morgan. We understand how to identify the full scope of your losses, we’re seasoned negotiators, and we’re not afraid to go to trial if that’s what it takes to get the best results in your case.
I was injured in a car accident in Maine. What now?
Suffering a serious personal injury because of another person’s negligence is a life changing event that is often overwhelming for clients. Clients tell me that in the aftermath of suffering a serious personal injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, a lost limb, or a complex fracture, it is difficult to balance visits to doctors and specialists, growing medical bills, missed time from work, and property damage issues. In response to these concerns, I advise clients to think of the following five guiding principles:
Treatment: Obtain the Care You Need to Recover
Regaining your health is the single most important priority after you are injured. Your health is priceless. There is no amount of money that the civil justice system will provide that will adequately compensate you for the loss of your health.
Obtaining treatment early is important because it provides a roadmap to understand the extent of your injuries, the treatment you require, and the timeframe for recovery. Additionally, early medical intervention may be effective in resolving issues before they become chronic.
Mainers are often reluctant to seek medical attention and, when they do, they downplay the significance of their injuries and pain. When you treat with your medical providers, it is important to honestly and accurately answer their questions and report your injuries and limitations.
Capture: Preserve Key Evidence
We have all heard the expression that “one picture is worth a thousand words.” This saying rings true in the context of personal injury cases. After you are injured, it is important to take pictures that accurately reflect the damage that is caused to you and your personal property, such as your vehicle. For example, pictures that show casts, swelling, bruising, lacerations, and scars are critical to describing the extent of your injuries to an insurance company or eventually a jury. Similarly, photographs showing damage caused to your vehicle can also demonstrate the severity of your car crash. Finally, pictures that capture what the scene of the incident looked like at the time the incident occurred are important in describing the incident to an insurance company or jury.
Refuse: Do Not Give Recorded Statements to Insurance Companies
Frequently, opposing insurance companies will ask you to provide a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters are creative in cajoling injured victims into providing these statements. You should recognize that these recorded statements are for the benefit of the insurance company, and that such statements will be used at every opportunity to undermine your potential case.
Moreover, providing a recorded statement when you are vulnerable and still in the initial stages of your treatment is unwise. At the time you provide your recorded statement, you may not fully appreciate the extent of your injuries. The casual language you use in describing the event or your injuries may be used against you later to suggest that you were at fault for the crash or that your injuries were insignificant. If an insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement, a warning bell should go off in your mind and you should politely decline.
Patience: Resist the Temptation to Prematurely Settle Your Case
We have all heard the saying that patience is a virtue. In the context of a personal injury case, patience is important to protecting your interests. Clients are often pushed into settling their cases prematurely. Insurance adjusters suggest that they simply want to wrap-up the claim and ensure the client receives money. In reality, this can merely be a ploy to entice you to resolve your claim before the full extent of your injuries and damages are recognized.
Before you resolve your claim, it is critical that you understand the full extent of your injuries: are your injuries permanent or will they improve over time; will you require additional future treatment; what ongoing treatment will you require? It is also important to understand whether your injuries will affect your ability to work and reduce your earning capacity/wages over time. Ultimately, the “right” time to settle your case varies from case-to-case depending on your injuries.
Consult: Obtain a Free Consultation from an Attorney to Ensure Your Interests are Protected
Insurance companies are large, sophisticated entities. Their priority is to manage risk and to pay the least amount of money possible to resolve a claim. Insurance companies use varying tactics to achieve their goal from appearing overly friendly and supportive to being overbearing, aggressive, and mean. Regardless of the insurance company’s tact, it is critical to remember that the insurance company does not have your best interest at heart. To ensure your best interests are protected and that you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries, you should consult with an attorney whose practice focuses on personal injury cases. Typically, this consultation is free, and you only pay an attorney fee if the attorney recovers money for you.
No one wants to be injured let alone be forced into a legal process to obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries. If, however, you are injured, it is important to remember these five guiding principles to ensure that your interests and rights are protected and preserved.
I was injured in a car accident in Massachusetts. What now?
Car accidents can be traumatic experiences. As you try to make sense of what has happened to cause the accident, you may not know what to do next. There are several immediate steps that you should take after you get into a motor vehicle accident, both to ensure your own safety, and to obtain the important information you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. After contacting the police:
Ensure that you and the other drivers are safe: if you aren’t badly injured and the car is drivable, avoid any secondary accidents by moving to the shoulder if possible and putting on your hazard lights. If you are seriously injured, wait for medical attention to arrive before doing anything else.
Exchange information: Gather as much information as you can about the other driver(s) involved, including collecting their license plate, their insurance information, and their personal contact information. If it is possible to do safely, you should remember to take photographs of the damage to your vehicle, and any other vehicles involved
File a Motor Vehicle Accident report: if you are the operator of a motor vehicle involved in an accident that resulted in death, injury, or over $1,000 in property damage, you are required to file one of these reports with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. It is not always immediately clear if anyone involved in the accident was injured or how much property damage occurred, so to be safe, complete and file the report regardless of your best estimate for the damages. This report must be filed within 5 days of the accident.
Work with law enforcement: Go over the details of the accident with the police at the scene to ensure that there is a clear accident report available. This report can be used in court if needed to provide additional information about the accident.
Seek medical attention: If you are injured in any way, you should seek out an examination by a medical professional as soon as possible. A medical professional will be able to best assess the severity of your injuries and provide you with the care that you need. A doctor will also provide you with documentation about your injuries which can be crucial for your case in the event that you choose to pursue a lawsuit.
Contact your insurance company: finally, report your accident to your insurance company and provide them with as much information regarding the accident and the other parties involved as you can.
Contact an attorney: Car accidents can cause financial and emotional hardships on the victim and family members of victims of crashes. The personal injury attorneys of Altman & Altman, LLP are here to help. Contact us today and get a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and if you may be entitled to additional compensation for your injuries. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199.
Save all of your documents about your accident in one place: put medical bills, explanation of benefits letters, other forms from your insurance company and any documents related to your accident in one place. This will make it easier for you to access information and provide that to your attorney to support your case.
Take pictures: Photos of injuries from the day of your accident and throughout your healing process can help provide a powerful narrative about the impact of your accident on your life. If your case goes to court, these photos can be shared with a jury to show how your injuries physically impacted you.
Journal: keep a log of your injuries, both the physical as well as the mental impact this has had on your life. This first hand account can help provide a powerful narrative to a jury that isn’t captured in your medical and insurance documents.
I was injured in a car crash in New York. What now?
Following a serious accident, the physical and emotional damages may feel like more than you can bear. However, the more purely financial damages of an accident—the cost of medical and rehabilitative care, the cost of pharmaceuticals, and loss of income—will need to be addressed at some point. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you anticipate the full extent of the present and future damages you sustained in your accident. From there, an attorney may help you build a comprehensive legal strategy intended to recover any and all those damages from the party responsible for your injury.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of a third party, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your suffering and related expenses by filing a personal injury claim. In order for your claim to be legitimate, you will have to file it within a certain period of time. This window is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies depending on the state and the crime committed, but usually floats between one and six years. Although there are instances in which the circumstances surrounding the statute of limitations will vary, in general:
- The statute of limitations begins on the day the accident occurs or when the crime is committed.
- You can not file a personal injury claim after the statute of limitations has run its course, nor can you be prosecuted for a crime.
I was injured in a car accident in Rhode Island. What now?
Being involved in a car accident is alarming for more than one reason. Not only have you suffered a traumatic event, but the aftermath of a car accident can be confusing. You are hurt, vulnerable, and trying to navigate your way through an often-complex insurance claim system with no clear direction. Insurance adjusters may seem friendly over that phone and act like they want to help, but are they really putting your best interests first?
At the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD., the number one question we hear from victims of car accidents is, “what am I supposed to do now?” It is a fair question. There is no one guiding you through the process of filing an insurance claim, no one giving you advice on what to do if you’ve been hurt by a negligent driver, and no one looking out for you when the medical bills start rolling in, and you’ve missed work due to your injuries.
The attorneys with the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD. want you to know that step one following a car accident in Rhode Island should be to contact an experienced car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the post-car accident process and help you get the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. You may not have all the answers after a car accident, and that’s okay. Turning to someone who can give you the legal advice you need is the most important step you can take. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Rhode Island, contact us by calling (401) 444-4444 for help.Steps to Take Following a Car Accident
A car accident is a stressful event. From the moment you realize a collision is going to take place, the adrenaline starts to course through your veins. You are no doubt frightened and anxious and in pain; however, the next steps you take can make a significant impact on your health as well as the strength of your insurance claim or lawsuit. It is important to take a few calming breaths and try to clear your head. Next, try to follow these helpful suggestions:
- Call law enforcement or 911: If you or anyone else has been seriously injured, call for emergency services immediately. Your health and safety are the number one priority. Law enforcement can also secure the scene and make a report about the accident that may help you down the line.
- Collect contact information: Make sure to take down all the important information from the other driver, such as name, driver’s license information, car insurance information, and license plate numbers. It is also extremely helpful to gather the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Document everything: If you are physically able, make sure you take pictures of the damage to the cars, debris from the accident, any skid marks that may be present, or damage to the surrounding area. Try to get as many different angles as you can.
- Report the accident: Drivers involved in an accident that results in injury or death, or causes damage to a vehicle that makes it incapable of normal and safe operation, must report the accident to the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles within 21 days.
- Contact your insurance provider: Give only the basic information about the accident to your insurance provider. Facts only.
- Avoid social media: Do not post about your accident or injuries on any social media platform.
- Contact an attorney: Getting an attorney on your side immediately is the best way to secure crucial evidence and negotiate a fair settlement for compensation.
Drivers need to understand that Rhode Island is a “fault” car accident state. That means that the person who is at-fault for causing the accident bears the responsibility for any resulting damage. Living in an at-fault state gives drivers involved in serious car accidents a range of options for recovering compensation after an accident. A driver may pursue compensation in the following ways:
- Filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Filing a claim with their own insurance company
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
Many people assume they only need an attorney if they want to take the other driver to court. That is incorrect. An attorney can gather evidence to help strengthen your claim and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. Insurance companies may take advantage of the fact that you are in a vulnerable physical and financial situation. Having a lawyer working with you means you have the benefit of a strong negotiator who can work to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. In the event an insurance company doesn’t want to negotiate in good faith, an attorney can take the at-fault party to court.
Rhode Island is also considered a “pure comparative negligence” state. So, any driver has the ability to recover damages from an accident; however, their damages will be reduced according to their share of negligence in causing the accident. If you are in an accident and it is deemed you were 20 percent to blame for the crash, you are entitled to collect the total amount of damages calculated minus 20 percent. Even if a driver is found to be mostly at-fault for an accident, they can still recover damages. However, that driver or their insurance company is still on the hook for the other parties’ losses.Find Out More About Your Rights Today
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident, it is important to talk to an attorney about recovering financial compensation for your losses. A skilled attorney is a valuable asset that can help you get the damages you are entitled to.
I was injured in a car accident in Texas. What now?
A car accident can be extremely traumatic both physically and mentally. Not only have you been involved in a physical accident, but dealing with the steps after the accident can be mentally overwhelming and stressful. What you should do post-accident is often unclear and chaotic, but the lawyers at Steckler Wayne Cochran PLLC. have outlined the steps you should take in order to have the best personal care, and easiest time filing a claim with your insurance.
Call the Police: It is important that you contact the police immediately. You and your passenger’s personal safety and health is of the utmost importance. Also, by contacting law enforcement you are creating an incident report which can help your case later on.
Seek Medical Attention: Depending on the severity of the injuries, you should seek treatment with a medical professional as soon as possible. It is important to report all details of the accident, to the doctor so they can give you the best treatment possible. You should also mention all injuries, minor or serious, so that you can potentially avoid any permanent damage to your brain, nerves, and muscles that might go untreated. The doctor will provide you with a detailed description of your injuries which can possibly contribute to your case later on.
Take Pictures: Take pictures of the accident, the damage to all vehicles, the surrounding setting, the other driver’s car insurance information, their driver’s license, license plate numbers, injuries to yourself and your passengers, and anything else you might find important to refer back to in the future. It is important to remember that pictures can help you present exact information and can oftentimes be more impactful than words.
Exchange Information: Either write down or take pictures of the other driver’s personal information, especially their driver’s license, license plate, car make, model, color, and car insurance. Also present your information to them as well. This can help you regarding insurance payment, and any possible need for a witness to the accident.
Keep track of information and personal injuries: You should consider writing down all personal injuries you face which resulted from the accident and both the physical and psychological effects that the accident caused. Also in the case that you go to trial, it will be important for you to have all your files and accounts organized in a file.
File a Motor Vehicle Accident Report: If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident involving personal injuries, death, or property damages exceeding around $750 in the State of Texas, you must report the accident to the Department of Transportation within 10 days if the accident was not investigated by a law enforcement officer. If you choose to file a claim against another driver, you must follow the Texas Statute of Limitations regarding motor vehicle accidents. This statute states that the injured party has two years from the date of the car accident to file a claim against the responsible party. If you are filing a claim against a government transportation such as a public bus, the time limit is shorter (within 60 to 90 days of the accident).
Contact Attorney: At this time, it is important for you to contact an attorney. Having an attorney by your side will give you a much greater chance at receiving settlement compensation. If you don’t have a personal injury lawyer or are having trouble finding one, consider calling Steckler Wayne Cochran PLLC. at (972) 387- 4040 to schedule a consultation with an attorney. They will be able to help you secure information and give you a professional opinion of where you stand legally.
Call Insurance Company: Finally, you may file a report with your insurance company. Provide details of the accident with them, but make sure you stay clear of taking blame and stick to providing facts only. Although you may think that you are to blame for the accident, you should allow the attorneys and insurance company to determine who is and isn’t at fault. This is important because the state of Texas is a “fault” state, which means that insurance companies determine fault in an accident before they provide coverage.
Texas Car Accident Laws: The State of Texas is a “fault” car accident state. This means that the person who is at fault for the damage caused during the accident is responsible for paying for all resulting damage whether it be to the car to the victims. Under the Texas’ fault system, all drivers must carry minimum insurance amounts at all times, which are as follows:
- $30,000 per person for bodily injury
- $60,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 for property damage
This standard insurance will pay for the victim’s medical bills and property damage if you are at fault for an accident. Likewise, the other party’s basic insurance will pay for your damages if they are at fault. Texas is a “modified” comparative fault state, which means that you receive nothing at all if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the crash.
I was hurt in a car accident in Tennessee. What now?
Take a few seconds and assess the situation. Most importantly, begin with yourself. If you believe you are injured, determine whether you can safely exit the vehicle under your own power. If you are unsure, wait until you can better assess the situation or wait for help to arrive. Do not move your vehicle unless it is a serious hazard or you are told by the officer. If you are able to exit the vehicle, then do so and check on any other persons involved.
Contact the authorities. If witnesses are present, ask them to wait for law enforcement to arrive. If they refuse or are unable to wait, get their contact information. The police may request or need it later. Even if they speak to police, it may be a good idea to save the witness's contact information in case they are omitted from the police report. Always report the wreck to local law enforcement. Do not agree to exchange information and leave the scene without contacting law enforcement unless explicitly directed to do so by the authorities. If you are able, take photos of the scene and all vehicles involved.
Do not forego medical treatment if injured. If injured, request transport to the nearest emergency room. Do not remain at the scene or decline medical attention just because you are concerned about leaving your vehicle or other personal property at the scene. The authorities will secure your vehicle before clearing the scene. Although it sounds counterintuitive, it cannot be understated - follow the instructions you are provided at the Emergency Room. If instructed to follow-up with a physician or other provider, do so.
Property damage. We find that clients' first concern is often the property damage to their vehicle or their lack of transportation. The other driver's insurance carrier owes their insured the obligation of investigating the wreck before making any payments or agreeing to make any reimbursements to you for losses or expenses incurred. For this reason, it may be best to present a claim through your own insurance company. Even if you are required to use your deductible, it may be possible to recoup this later from the at fault insurance carrier. If nothing else, you may save yourself significant delay.
After the wreck. It is important to understand that injuries do not always manifest themselves until time has passed. There is nothing wrong with getting checked out just to be sure. If you do not initially treat at the emergency room, but later feel pain or are concerned you may be injured, follow-up with a physician. Do not ignore those symptoms.
Follow your physician's instructions. Treat until you are discharged. This is important to ensure you make a full recovery from your injuries. Also, if you intend to make a personal injury claim, a failure to follow physician's instructions, missed appointments or stop treating prematurely can be detrimental to your claim.
Hire an attorney. If you do make a personal injury claim, consider hiring an attorney. The law can be difficult to navigate without competent representation familiar with the process. For example, it can be dangerous to discuss your injury claim or provide a statement to an insurance adjuster without someone available to prepare, counsel and protect your rights. Also, there may be additional coverages available which you are not aware of or able to locate without an attorney. Do not, under any circumstances, agree to resolve your case before you are aware of the full extent of your injuries. A rushed resolution can cause you to forfeit other monetary reimbursement you may have otherwise been entitled to receive. It never hurts to consult an attorney to be sure. Our firm provides free consultations to victims of car crashes and other events that cause personal injuries.
Beware of the statute of limitations. Finally, be aware that if you are unable to resolve your claim voluntary, you have a limited amount of time within which to file suit. Failure to file suit may result in your claim being barred for all time.
I was Hurt in a Car Crash in Virginia. What now?
Check yourself and passengers for injuries. If you or anyone in your car is seriously injured, do not move. For serious injuries, wait for emergency medical personnel.
Call 911. Even if the collision is minor, you should always call the authorities so that there is an independent witness and a record of events, statements, location, and damage to vehicles. The police will gather the information required to create a police report and issue any necessary citations. 911 will also dispatch ambulance and emergency medical personnel if there are injuries.
If you are in an unsafe situation or are interfering with the flow of traffic, move your vehicle off the roadway to a safer location. If your vehicle is not interfering with the flow of traffic, remain where you are. Always turn on your hazard lights and use flares if they are available.
Document the damage. If it is safe, take pictures and/or video of all vehicles involved, the damage to the vehicles, and the accident scene. If you are unable to take pictures or video at the scene, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
Exchange contact information with the other driver and, just as importantly, any witnesses to the accident. Many cases rise or fall based upon the testimony of an eyewitness or independent bystander, so make sure to get their information! The information obtained from the other driver should include:
- Full name and contact information, including address
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver's license and license plate number
- Type, color, and model of the vehicle
- Location of collision.
Seek medical treatment. Unless you are sure that you were not injured in the accident, seek medical attention. Even a minor collision can cause injuries and often these injuries are not immediately apparent. The failure to seek prompt medical assistance will be held against you if you later make a claim for personal injuries.
Notify your insurance company. Even if you believe you were not at fault for the accident, most insurance companies require that accidents be reported immediately, and require your full cooperation. Your insurance will also be able to tell you whether you have coverage that may assist you. For example, Medpay is an optional coverage many people have that can help with out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Consult with a personal injury attorney. Under Virginia law you may be entitled to monetary damages if you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another person. An attorney can advise you of your rights and make sure they are protected.
Commonwealth Law Group
Virginia Office in Richmond