What Should You Do After a Car Accident in Virginia?
Despite your best efforts to drive defensively and avoid a collision, statistics suggest that the average person will be involved in approximately three to four car accidents during their lifetime. For this reason, it is wise to become familiar with the steps to take immediately following an accident.
It is important to remain calm after a car accident. However, staying calm after a frightening experience like a car crash is not always easy. Deep breathing is one of the simplest and quickest ways to relax the body and reduce tension.
Move Your Vehicle Out of Traffic
If your car is drivable and it is safe to do so, pull over to the side of the road and out of traffic. You should never leave the scene of an accident completely until police have arrived and made their official report.
Call for Help
Once you are out of traffic and have assessed the scene, call 911. Clearly relay the details of what happened and tell the dispatcher what sort of assistance you need, such as police and/or medical.
EMTs will attend to any injured parties in immediate danger, treating them at the scene or transporting them to the hospital. Even if you do not have obvious injuries, tell them if you notice any pain or have trouble moving parts of your body. Even if you feel okay immediately after a car accident, it is always a good idea to see a doctor and get a check-up to rule out hidden injuries.
File a Police Report
When police arrive, they will ask everyone involved to explain what happened to the best of their recollection. Share your experience as clearly as possible. Tell the facts of what you know. If you noticed the other driver speeding, swerving, or looking down at their phone, you should mention that to the police officer. These actions are not only careless and likely to cause an accident, but they are also illegal.
This step is important. You need a way to contact the other individuals involved in the accident after the fact. Whether you file a claim through insurance or sue the negligent driver, you need their name and phone number. Give your contact information to the other driver as well. If others witnessed the accident, take down their information too.
Take pictures of any damage to vehicles as well as injuries. Document the weather, road conditions, or any hazard that may have played a role in the accident. All of these details tell the story of how and why the accident happened. Once you leave the scene, this evidence may be lost.
Call an Attorney
After you are home safe, consider contacting an attorney for legal guidance. If you are injured or have costly auto repairs, it may make sense to file a claim and pursue compensation for these losses. All of those costs can potentially be recovered through a personal injury claim. Your attorney can advise you based on the facts of your case.
Notify Your Insurance Company
After speaking with your attorney, the next call should be to your insurance company to report the accident. State the facts simply and clearly. It is recommended to speak with a lawyer first because insurance companies representing the at-fault driver will often offer a quick, lowball settlement. Your attorney can advise on whether or not you should accept an offer.
Alexandria Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Who Have Been Injured by Negligent Drivers
If you have been injured in a collision, speak with one of our experienced Alexandria car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 202-331-1963 or complete our online form. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we serve clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.