One of the more frightening experiences a person can have is being involved in a car crash. The emotional trauma is rattling and that can be compounded if you are injured in the crash. However, if physically possible, there are steps that all car accident victims should take in order to protect legally protect themselves.
The first thing you need to do is stop your vehicle. Under Virginia law, you are required to stop your vehicle if there has been any injury, loss of life, or property damage. The law requires you to report the accident and details to the law enforcement department with jurisdiction in the area where the accident took place. There are exceptions to this law, including the injury of the driver. If you are an adult passenger in a car crash, the law also requires you to report the accident within 24 hours if you know the driver failed to report – or is unable to report – the collision.
The law also requires you to render aid to anyone who has been injured in the crash - calling 911 to summon emergency responders and helping the injured anyway you can. However, it is also important to be aware of any injuries you may have sustained, as well.
Once those involved in the collision complied with the law, there are other things to consider that may be critical to a future personal injury claim against the other party or parties, such as:
- Obtaining the contact information of the driver(s) involved in the crash, as well as their vehicle registration and insurance information;
- Contact information for any witnesses to the crash;
- Photographs of the scene of the crash and damage to any vehicles;
- Photographs of your injuries; and
- Notes on any information you think may be important, such as weather conditions, road conditions, etc.
After police process the accident scene it is also important to go to seek appropriate medical care. It is quite common for symptoms of serious car crash injuries – such as whiplash, concussions, back injuries – to not show up for several hours or even days. People often feel more pain the day after the collision than they do on the day of the collision.
You should also be careful speaking to any insurance companies prior to discussing the collision with an attorney. Do not discuss details of the accident, make statements about your health or injuries, and be sure to request correspondence in writing – either via email or regular mail.
If you were injured in a car crash, contact a skilled Virginia car accident attorney right away. Our VA personal injury law firm has successfully represented many car crash victims.