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Be Prepared: Know What To Do If You Are In a Car Accident

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
9 steps to follow after a car wreck

No one thinks that they will be in a car accident. When it happens, it is usually a complete surprise to you and the person who hit you.


While it may not be intentional, the negligence of the other driver causing your accident gives rise to legal liability in Virginia to pay for your damages including medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, inconvenience, etc. You should be prepared for the most unexpected event by reviewing the following list of things to do if you are in a car accident:

  1. Always call the police so a report will be made.
  2. Gather your thoughts so you can be coherent and organized. Review the scene and reconstruct what happened in your mind.
  3. Tell the officer what happened. The other driver may spin the facts differently so you need to be heard. If you can’t do this at the scene, the officer may come to see you in the hospital or you should call him or her.
  4. If you are able, take photographs or have a friend do so at the scene showing the damage to both vehicles and the scene. If you are unable to take photo’s at the time, take a lot of photos from different angles of the damage later. Use a camera rather than a cell phone if possible.
  5. Check the speed limit and be sure you were not speeding.
  6. If you think you may be hurt, do not tell the officer that you are ok. He will check a box on his report that there are no injuries. Soft tissue injuries often exhibit stiffness or no symptoms at the time of injury but usually get worse later. The adrenaline pumping through you at the accident scene may mask injury symptoms.
  7. If you think you may be hurt, seek treatment as soon as possible. Delays may lead to the insurance company saying you were not hurt in the accident. Think carefully when you relate your injuries to a health care provider. Often only the major area of immediate pain is related and other minor injuries become problematic later but were not mentioned at first.
  8. Call you insurance company as soon as you can. We recommend that you call within 24 hours.
  9. Pay attention to potential witnesses. If someone saw the accident, get their name and phone number.

If you are injured, see an attorney as soon as possible.  At our firm, the first consultation for a personal injury case is free.  For more information call 1-800-201-9987 or (434) 332-5155 or fill out a consultation form here.