In the moments after an auto accident, you might feel disoriented, confused, scared, and even angry. These are all common emotional responses to a collision, and they’re responses that can potentially make it difficult to think logically. But in the moments following an auto accident, you need to think logically. The choices you make during this crucial time frame can have a big impact on your physical recovery as well as any damages you’re able to recover.
Get to a Safe Place
Before you do anything else, get your vehicle off the roadway and into a safe place.
Obviously, if you can’t drive your car for any reason, leave it in the spot where the accident occurred.
But when you’re able to move your vehicle, drive it into the nearest parking lot, rest area, or pull-off. The road’s shoulder is not a safe place to inspect your vehicle and wait for law enforcement to arrive.
Check on Everybody Involved in the Collision
Next, check in with your passengers, the other driver, and their passengers. If anybody needs immediate medical attention, call 911 and have emergency medical care sent to the scene.
Regardless of whether anybody was injured, call 911 and have law enforcement dispatched to the scene.
Even if the collision was minor, you want to have an official police report that contains vital information about the crash, like where it occurred, the time of day it occurred, the names and contact information for all parties involved, and how the accident occurred.
Photograph your Injuries and the Vehicle Damage
Take photos of all of the vehicles involved in the collision. Be sure to get photos of the involved vehicles’ license plate numbers.
Make sure you photograph all of your visible injuries. These photos could be important pieces of evidence to support your personal injury claim later, so make sure they clearly show every injury you suffered.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Exchange the following information with the other driver:
- Insurance providers and policy numbers
- Driver’s license number
- License plate numbers
- Contact information
If you choose to file a claim against the other driver, you’ll need their personal information and their policy number when you communicate with their insurance provider. Keep this information easily accessible while your claim is open.
Fill Out a Police Report
Before leaving the scene, complete a police report with the responding officer. Take down the officer’s badge number and contact information, and make sure you take a copy of the police report.
Get Medical Attention
This is your number one priority after you’re involved in an auto accident. After you leave the scene, the next thing you do—and that could mean within the next day or so—should be to seek medical attention.
Receiving a diagnosis and appropriate medical care in a timely manner achieves three things:
- It ensures that you get started on the appropriate course of treatment for your injuries, which prevents minor issues from becoming bigger issues when left untreated
- It demonstrates that you’re taking your recovery seriously
- It starts the paper trail that proves your injuries resulted from your accident. The longer you wait to receive care, the less definitively your doctor can link your injuries to the collision
Work with an Experienced Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer
After you’ve received appropriate medical care, contact an experienced Virginia auto accident lawyer to learn more about your rights, any compensation you may be able to recover, and the process for pursuing this compensation.
Contact our firm today to schedule your free case consultation with a member of the Alvarez Law Firm team. We’re here to answer any questions you have and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.