Because vehicles are so prevalent in day-to-day life, it can be difficult
to go without them. And most car accidents are caused, not by
mechanical failures, but by carelessness and inattention. In 2015, there were 753 auto accident-related
deaths in Virginia, while another 65,029 people were injured. And, according
to some estimates, an individual will file a car crash claim every 17.9
years for the rest of their lives. Given these statistics, it may be helpful
to know what steps to take if you are involved in an accident.
Step 1: Check Yourself and Your Passengers for Injury
If you’ve been involved in a collision, make sure you and your passengers
haven’t sustained any grievous harm. A serious injury, such as bleeding,
unconsciousness, trouble breathing, memory loss, or broken bones should
be reported to 911 immediately. If your injuries are not severe, move
your car out of traffic to prevent further accidents from occurring. For
any person who seems to have difficulty moving, leave them where they
are and wait for the paramedics to arrive. The injured person may be suffering
from spinal damage and will need a neck brace to prevent additional harm.
Step 2: Check on Any Other Person Involved in the Accident
In a multiple vehicle car accident, check on the other driver if your injuries
are not severe. If they require medical attention, call 911 as soon as
possible, as they may not be able to reach their cell phone in a serious accident.
Step 3: Exchange Information
Less serious car accidents, such as a fender bender, may not require immediate
medical care. In these cases, it’s imperative to exchange information
with any other drivers involved. Give them your name, contact information,
insurance information, license plate number, and driver’s license
number. They should give you the same information in return. If they don’t
have insurance, it’s especially useful to get as much information
as possible in case you need to take legal action later.
For hit-and-run accidents, or if the other drivers refuse to give you their
information, you will have to contact the police. Law enforcement is trained
in taking statements and recording information accurately, which will
be helpful in making a claim later. A police officer’s presence
will also force the other party to divulge their information. Think about
contacting a police officer in more serious accidents as well, as you
may be able to use his or her testimony against the at-fault driver’s
insurance company in court.
Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company
You will need to report your accident to your insurance company, as they
should help you fix your car, find a rental, and pay for any medical care
you require as a result of the accident. Consult your particular policy
to check on the extent of coverage.
Step 5: See a Doctor
While a bump on the head may not seem serious, you will want to go to the
hospital for an MRI or CT scan. Internal bleeding is difficult to determine,
especially if you’re not a trained medical professional. In Virginia,
you only have 2 years from the date of an accident to file a personal
injury claim. Finding out how much your medical bills are now, and how
much they will be in the future, will determine the amount of compensation
Step 6: Find a Good Lawyer
Even filing a simple claim with your own car insurance can require legal
consult. Insurance companies don’t make money by paying claims,
so they will try and offer you as little as possible. If you’re
filing a claim with someone else’s insurance, the at-fault driver’s
company will likely try and prove the driver was not responsible for the
accident. In order to fight for full compensation, you will need an experienced
Richmond car accident attorney who understands Virginia state law regarding coverage and liability.
If you’re ready to file a claim or pursue a lawsuit,
contact us today for a free case consultation. Our attorneys can help you navigate
the complicated process of seeking compensation for your injuries.