What you do after a car accident can have a significant impact on how the accident affects your life. If someone else is at fault, there are steps you must take to protect your rights to proper compensation for your losses.
The attorneys of Geoff McDonald & Associates can help you if you have been in a serious car accident in Richmond or elsewhere in Virginia. You can help your case as well by taking the following steps after a crash.
1. Get care for the injured.
If you or your passengers are in pain or suffering from injuries, call 911 immediately for emergency medical assistance. Approach the other vehicle if you can and ask whether its occupants are OK. Call 911 for them if they need help and cannot do so.
2. See a doctor soon – regardless of how you feel.
Some serious injuries do not hurt at first but cause problems later. This is why you should always see a doctor in the immediate aftermath of a crash. Records showing that you promptly sought medical treatment will help if you eventually pursue a legal claim for your injuries.
3. Document the accident.
Get photos of the crash scene with a cell phone or camera, including the cars and their damage, skid marks, broken glass and debris and any road or weather conditions that may have contributed to the accident. Write down names and contact information for others involved in the accident (including your passengers) and any witnesses. As soon as you can, write down how the crash happened, including a diagram of the accident scene.
4. Exchange driver information.
You should obtain the name, address, registration number, insurance company name and driver’s license number for all drivers and vehicles involved in the accident. If there are injuries, you must call the police. Ask the officer about how you can obtain a copy of their report. Get a copy of this report as soon as you can.
5. Don’t cast or accept blame.
Do not make accusations about the other driver in your wreck. At the same time, be careful not to say anything that admits your fault. If police respond to your accident, answer their questions honestly but do not volunteer information.
6. Call your insurance company.
You must report the accident to your auto insurance company to initiate a claim. Follow the company’s instructions about filing a claim, obtaining repair estimates and other steps. Again, answer questions honestly but do not volunteer information. Be careful not to say anything that admits fault or downplays the extent of your injuries. Do not sign anything or agree to record a statement. If you hear from other driver’s insurance company, refer the insurer to your lawyer.
7. Start an accident file.
Keep any and all records of your accident. This includes all medical reports, bills and receipts for treatment and medication. You should also keep records and receipts about car repairs. Save receipts for any expenses you have faced because of the accident. You may even keep a journal of your recovery from the accident, documenting your progress and setbacks, missed work or other occasions you missed because of your injuries.
8. Contact a car accident lawyer.
It is crucial to have an experienced attorney in your corner at the earliest stage possible in your case. Your attorney will protect your rights. Your attorney will also work aggressively to pursue full compensation for you.
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, we provide free consultations to help accident victims and their families get the legal help they need. We also offer clients our No Fee Guarantee.® You will not pay anything unless we obtain a recovery for you. Contact us online or call us today at (804) 888-8888 to learn more.