Any time you are involved in a car accident in Virginia, it is important to contact the police and file a report with them, especially if you are planning to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. The police report, which provides an official account of the accident, can help you establish the negligence of the at-fault driver in court.
Sometimes, however, the police might not show up at the scene of the accident. What should you do in such cases? Let us take a look.
Common Reasons Why the Police Might Not Come to the Scene of the Accident
- If they have more serious criminal matters to deal with, the police might not show up at the scene of your car accident, especially if there are no fatalities or serious injuries.
- If the accident only resulted in property damage, and if the value of the property damaged is too low, the police might not show up at the scene of the accident.
- If there is a natural disaster or a major public emergency underway, the police might be too busy to respond to car accidents.
The important thing to be noted here is that in a vast majority of cases, the police do show up at the scene of the accident. So, do not make the mistake of not informing the police, just because you believe that they might not come out to the scene of the accident. Call them, inform them of the accident, and let them make a decision.
If they choose not to come to the scene of the accident, here is what you need to do.
What to Do If the Police Do Not Come Out to the Scene of Your Car Accident
If there are passengers in your car, check on them and find out if they need any medical assistance. Once you do, start taking pictures of the accident scene with your cell phone.
The list of items that you should take pictures of include:
- Your car, especially the damaged parts
- The at-fault driver’s car
- Other vehicles involved in the crash
- Stationary objects that were damaged in the accident including trees, utility poles, traffic signs, mailboxes, and cement barriers
- The damage caused to the road and the pavement because of the accident
- Skid marks on the road
- Debris at the site of the accident
- Traffic lights
- Street signs
Take as many pictures as you possibly can of the accident scene. Shoot videos too if you can. The more compelling your visual evidence is, the easier it will be for your personal injury attorney to prove the damages caused by the accident.
If you notice a security camera at the scene of the accident, contact the owner as soon as possible and ask for the footage.
Collecting Witness Statements
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence you can present in a personal injury case is the statement from a person who witnessed the accident. So, it’s essential to talk to potential witnesses and find out what they saw.
Potential witnesses whom you should talk to include:
- Bystanders and onlookers at the site of the accident
- People working in business establishments that are located close to the scene of the accident
- Pedestrians and motorists who might have stopped to help the accident victims
You should note down the contact information of potential witnesses and record their statements using your cell phone. It’s pivotal, as people’s memories tend to fade quickly and they might not be able to recollect what they witnessed if they are asked to testify in court.
Once you have all the information you need, contact an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer. With the information you provide, your lawyer can build a solid case against the driver who caused the accident and recover damages through settlement or trial.
Remember – the timeframe for filing a personal injury case in Virginia is two years from the date of the accident. So, any delay on your part in contacting a lawyer can affect your chances of recovering damages from the at-fault party. This is why you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can.
Trusted Personal Injury Lawyers in Virginia
The auto accident attorneys at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn have handled scores of personal injury cases over the last three decades and have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. We have the legal knowledge, experience, and resources to establish the negligence and liability of at-fault parties in personal injury cases.
We will aggressively negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company for a favorable settlement deal or take the case to trial if need be to recover the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at 800-752-0042 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.