June 8, 2020
Statistics show most people will be in at least one auto accident by the time a driver is in their mid 30s. They also show there are six million accidents in the USA every year. Of these accidents, roughly 1 in 3 involve personal injuries. A small percentage of these accidents result in fatalities.
Hopefully, you will not be involved in an auto accident, but if you are, here are the steps to take after your accident.
1. Assess your Health and Injuries
Immediately following the accident, your health and safety should be your first consideration. Have you been injured? If so, this is your first priority.
If you have other passengers in the car with you, this is the moment to come together and help each other. Ask them if they are okay. Care for all of the passengers in your car before doing anything else.
2. Be safe
In Virginia, you are not supposed to move your cars after being in an accident before the police arrive. Carry flares or cones with you in the car, and put these out to alert other drivers of the danger ahead. Turn on your flashers if you find yourself in an accident of some sort.
3. Call the police
As soon as possible, call the police. Don’t assume the drivers or passengers in the other vehicle will call. You don’t know the intentions of the other people, or if they may be injured. The police will give you the information from the other driver so you can file a claim with their insurance company.
4. Write down your statement to the police
Think about what happened in the accident. Write down all of the facts of your accident as best you can remember. Even if you think you might be at fault for the accident, it is not for you to decide.
Do not admit fault even if you think it may have been your fault. The police officer will collect the facts of the accident at the scene to make determinations about who is guilty. If you believe you are not guilty and still get a ticket, you will still have the opportunity to plead your case with the judge in court.
5. Take Photos If Possible
It is a great idea to take photos after the accident. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to only take photos of the damaged vehicles. It is better to take as many photos as possible.
You may have to do this inconspicuously, but take photos of every individual involved. If there is a family in the other car, take note of the number of passengers there. Take pictures of the intersection where the accident occurred. If blinding sunlight or other weather conditions played a role, take a photo of these too.
The goal is to gather as much evidence as possible for the accident attorney who may be reviewing your case.
6. File a Claim With the Insurance Company
Your insurance company expects you to file a claim for your auto accident. If you know the other driver was at fault, you should contact the other driver’s insurance company first before getting your company involved. If the other driver is at fault and doesn’t have insurance, you may have coverage under your own policy’s uninsured motorist coverage.
7. Hire an Attorney and Protect Your Rights
Remember, the insurance company is always looking out for themselves first, and they will try to pay out as little as possible. This is why you need legal representation in an automobile accident.
Cravens & Noll has decades of experience in dealing with insurance companies. We know the strategies they use to try to minimize their losses, and this is where we can help.
Contact our offices today in Richmond or Harrisonburg to speak to one of our representatives and protect your legal rights after your auto accident.