Imagine you're driving along I-64 or I-264 in Virginia Beach, VA, when a drunk driver comes out of nowhere and slams into your car. The impact of the crash is so severe that you suffer serious pain in your neck and wrist. What should you do? Who should you call? This article provides preliminary answers to these questions along with some details on the steps to take in Virginia to get fair compensation for your personal injury.
Step 1. Get medical attention
An ambulance should arrive at the scene of the car crash in a timely manner. Get a full examination by a doctor. Why? Because you may have suffered a head injury and the symptoms of this type of injury may not appear for days or weeks. The only way to get diagnosed is to see a medical professional.
Step 2. Write down your account of the car wreck
As soon as possible after the accident, write down every detail you can remember about events leading up to the car accident and what happened immediately after the crash. This is really important since the crash is fresh in your mind and the small details you may forget a few days or weeks after the wreck should be more easily and clearly recalled.
Step 3. Consult with a personal injury lawyer who practices in the Virginia city where you got hurt
Why? Because soon after the accident, sometimes within 48 hours, you may receive a call from your insurance company and the other driver's insurance company seeking a recorded statement about what happened. Consulting with an attorney will give you expert advice and the guidance of someone who is focused on your best interests.
Step 4. File a personal injury claim
If you suffered a serious injury like whiplash or a broken wrist and the other driver was at fault for the accident, you should file a claim to pursue compensation for your medical expenses, any lost wages from missed time at work to recover, and any decrease in your quality of life due to the wreck. In some cases, we can also pursue punitive damages since the driver who hit you was drunk; it depends on the driver's blood alcohol content at the time of the wreck. Punitive damages are a form of compensation meant to penalize the at-fault driver for their reckless, irresponsible behavior. These damages are meant to dissuade other citizens in the community from behaving in a similar manner.
Step 5. Follow your doctor's advice
During the personal injury claims process, follow the guidance of your doctor in terms of rehabilitating from your injury. Why? Because any deviance from your doctor's rehab recommendations may be used against you by the at-fault driver's insurance company. They try to argue that your decision to perform activity X or exercise Y exacerbated your injury. To avoid this, follow your doctor's advice and prescribed rehab plan word for word.
When these five steps are followed, the injury claims process usually goes smoothly and you should be able to receive compensation for your personal injury.