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What should you do if you’re in a car accident?

By Ken Gibson on May 2, 2017

It’s getting more dangerous to drive in Virginia. The Commonwealth had 125,800 vehicle crashes in 2015, an increase of 4.6 percent over the previous year, according to the Virginia Office of Highway Safety’s 2015 report. Injuries in Virginia rose to 65,029, an increase of 2.6 percent. We had 753 fatalities among these collisions, a 7.6 percent increase.

With the growing likelihood of being in an accident in Virginia, do you know the correct steps to take after a wreck?

  1. Stop and stay calm. Immediately stop your vehicle safely near the scene of the accident. Pull as far off the road as possible. Take a breath and try to maintain mental clarity. Remember that driving away from the accident could have criminal repercussions.
  2. Assess your injuries. Your health and that of your passengers should be your first concern. Exit your car if possible, and determine if you or your passengers have any severe injuries. If anyone has a moderate to severe injury, contact emergency medical services as soon as possible. If anyone has neck or back pain, be careful not to aggravate the injury by moving too much.
  3. Secure the scene and contact authorities. If your vehicle is preventing traffic flow, move it as far out of the way as possible. Warn oncoming traffic of your presence by raising your car’s hood, using hazard lights, or activating flares.Contact the police, who will generate an accident report to document the wreck. Help others who are injured, and perform first aid if you’re properly trained to do so.
  4. Gather and exchange information. Gather the other drivers’ and passengers’ names, addresses, and phone numbers, and the other drivers’ auto insurance companies’ names and policy numbers. Share your information with them.If possible, take a photo of the other driver(s)’ license plates to ensure they can be located later. (Sometimes, drivers do not share accurate information.)

    Take pictures of all cars and the area of the wreck. Determine if anyone witnessed the accident whom you could contact later. Make a note of the accident report number from the police, and take pictures of the accident scene road.

  5. Avoid giving opinions or making statements. You aren’t required to issue a verbal or written statement at the scene. Avoid sharing opinions on the cause of the accident, or admitting any fault. With the anxiety caused by an accident, your perception may not be completely accurate.
  6. Notify your insurer. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If you require medical care, your policy may include a MedPay or similar coverage that can be used. Review the details of your insurance policy to determine your options. Gather and retain any relevant paperwork or photos for future reference regarding your injuries or those of your passengers.
  7. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you or your passengers had moderate or severe injuries, contact a law office that handles personal injury cases. Let your lawyer contact the other insurance companies involved.

Unfortunately, many on Virginia’s roadways drive negligently or carelessly, but the legal team at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys is here to help you. We represent injury victims on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck, and beyond. For a free consultation with one of our Virginia car accident attorneys, contact us at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free (855) 781-6777.

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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
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