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After a Car Accident: Your Next Steps

Being in a motor vehicle accident can be traumatic and distressing, but knowing what to do amid all of the stress and chaos can make your life much easier in the long-run. If you should find yourself dealing the aftermath of a car crash, make sure you are prepared and know what to do in order to handle the situation properly. It is important to look out for your safety and the safety of those around you, but it’s also vital that you know how to protect your legal rights and do what’s necessary to evaluate any damages.

After an accident, our attorneys at The Warren Firm, PLLC encourage you to follow these steps to better handle the legalities of a crash.

1. Protect Yourself

While you want to maintain the integrity of the scene of the incident, it’s more important that you and your passengers find a safe place to recover after a car crash. If you are on a highway or freeway where another vehicle could crash into you, move to a safe location, like the shoulder of the road. However, if someone is killed or seriously injured, you should stop your vehicle immediately at the scene of the incident. After you are safe, evaluate yourself for injuries and ask everyone else in your vehicle if they are alright, and if they need medical attention. If anyone needs help, call 911 immediately for medical assistance.

2. Show Proper Care to the Other People Involved

Whether the other person involved in the crash was at fault or not, always ask if they are okay and if they need medical attention. You may be angry if their carelessness caused the incident in the first place, but after ensuring the safety of the people in your vehicle, your next duty is to offer assistance to the other people involved. Even if injuries seem minor, or if anyone complains of neck, back, or head pain, call 911 for medical help.

3. Call the Police

Even if there was no significant damage or injury in your car accident, it is always best to notify the police. The responding officer will be able to write up an official police report for your records, which will make filing a claim through your insurance infinitely easier. Also, the officer will be able to lend an unbiased opinion about the fault or cause of the accident.

4. Exchange Information

Talk to the people involved in the accident and write down their full name, contact information, and insurance company. Do not discuss anything other than key information regarding the accident, and do not apologize. The other driver could interpret this as an admission of guilt, which would not help your insurance claim or your legal case, if you end up involved in a lawsuit. Even if you think the accident was your fault, there could have been other key factors contributing to the crash that you were not aware of. Instead, stick to exchanging information and taking pictures of the scene and any other damages. Take note of every detail you can, including damages to your vehicle or belongings and any damage to the other vehicles involved. This information could help you recover damages later.

Once you’ve handled everything you can at the scene of the accident, make sure you handle matters quickly. Call your insurance company and report the incident without delay. Most policies have a specific time frame for reporting accidents, so don’t risk losing coverage because you didn’t file a claim in time.

Also, seek medical attention as soon as you are able, even if you don’t feel any symptoms. Sometimes the adrenaline coursing through your body after an accident can mask symptoms of injury, so it’s best to have a medical professional you trust see to your health. Keep a copy of the doctor’s visit for your records.

After the immediate concerns have been addressed, contact your attorney. An experienced auto accident lawyer can make all the difference in your case, adding valuable legal counsel and expert resources to help you through the legal aftermath of your accident. Our legal team can assist with filing insurance claims, identifying the negligent party at fault for the incident, and even pursuing a lawsuit to seek compensation for damages and justice for your injuries.

Contact The Warren Firm, PLLC for help with your personal injury claim after a car accident in Charlottesville, Virginia.