Five Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident can be stressful and disorienting. The confusion in the aftermath of a car accident can make it difficult to think about what you need to do in the minutes, hours, and days after a crash. Below are five steps for you to take to protect yourself if you’ve been involved in a car accident.
Make Sure Everyone Is Safe
Immediately after a car crash, you should pull off the road or as far out of the way of traffic as possible. However, if you had a collision with another vehicle, don’t drive too far away from where the accident occurred, or the other driver might think you have fled the scene. If you don’t think your car can be safely driven, you can leave it where it is until the police arrive. Don’t remain in your vehicle if it might be in the way of traffic or if you smell gas or other fluids.
Check yourself to see if you may have suffered any injuries. Also, check on the occupants of the other vehicles involved in the crash if you can safely move about.
Contact First Responders
If you or someone else has been injured or appears in physical distress, you should contact 911 to summon paramedics to the scene.
When a car accident results in injuries or substantial property damage, drivers are required by Virginia code § 46.2-894 to stop at the scene and provide personal information including their name, address, drivers’ license number, and vehicle registration number to the police.
When you call the police to the scene of the accident, an officer will typically prepare a police accident report. Make sure to request a copy of this report after the accident, since you will likely need it if you choose to pursue a claim for compensation with the insurance company.
The law also requires you to exchange information with each of the drivers involved in the accident. Record each driver’s name, contact information, license information, and insurance information.
If any bystanders happened to witness the crash, you should also talk to them and ask them for their contact information, in case you later need to reach out to them for a statement or testimony about the accident.
Document the Accident Scene
If safe for you to do so, use your cell phone to take photos and videos of details of the crash scene. These will likely later serve as critical evidence in your claim for compensation.
Try to document damage to the vehicles involved in the accident, skid marks in the road, traffic controls and road lines, the perspective of each driver prior to the crash (and whether anything may have obstructed a driver’s view), the condition of the roadway, and the weather and traffic conditions at the time of the accident. If you sustained any visible injuries, make sure to document them as well.
Seek Medical Attention
Finally, you should make sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after a car accident. Get checked out by the paramedics if they are called to the scene. If emergency medical services aren’t called, you should go to the emergency room or schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible after the crash for a physical exam.
Pain and other symptoms of injuries may not present themselves for several days or weeks after a car accident, but a doctor might be able to diagnose injuries you sustained via a physical exam.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer For Help
If you’ve been injured in a collision, contact the Virginia Beach car accident lawyers of Breit Law PC today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. Learn more about your rights and options and how we can help you seek recovery from those at fault for the accident and your injuries. Contact us online or call us today at 757-456-0333.