Woman sitting on the road holding her head

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Nobody anticipates suffering a serious personal injury in a car crash or another type of motor vehicle collision in Northern Virginia. However, serious collisions often seem to happen without sufficient warning when another driver’s negligence or reckless driving results in a devastating crash. If you or someone you love recently got hurt in a motor vehicle wreck, it is important to know what you need to do after the collision in order to remain eligible for financial compensation. The following are the steps you should consider after a serious accident.

Gather As Much Information As You Can At the Scene of the Collision

The first thing you should do after a car accident is to gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident. If your injuries are too severe to take photos or to obtain contact information for witnesses, do not worry. It will still be possible to build a case against the at-fault driver. However, gathering evidence at the scene can help your Virginia personal injury attorney to develop a strong case for you in the weeks and months to follow. If you can, take photographs from multiple angles and distances, and obtain contact information from anyone involved in the collision or anyone who witnessed it.

Get Medical Attention As Soon As Possible

Seek medical attention. Even if you do not have immediate signs of a serious injury, some car accident injuries can be severe even though they do not produce symptoms in the minutes or hours following the crash. For example, it can take a long time for signs of a traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding to appear, but a doctor can assess you and ensure that you receive proper treatment.

Report the Accident to Your Auto Insurer, But Stick to the Facts

You will need to report the accident to your own auto insurance company, but you should only provide objective, factual information. Your insurance company is not on your side, and any subjective information you give could be used against you at a later date.

Determine Whether to File a First-Party or Third-Party Auto Insurance Claim

Virginia’s auto insurance law allows people who are injured in car crashes caused by another driver to choose between filing a first-party claim (with their own insurance company) or a third-party claim (with the at-fault driver’s insurance company). You should work with your Fairfax auto accident lawyer to determine which makes the most sense in your case since there are benefits and limitations to both approaches. Once you file a claim, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement offer.

File a Car Accident Lawsuit

If the insurance company will not offer a settlement offer that you believe is reasonable, you may be eligible to file a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver and any other responsible parties. However, you need to be aware of the statute of limitations. Under Virginia law (Code of Va. § 8.01-243), the statute of limitations for most car accident cases is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your lawsuit within that time window, Virginia can bar you from obtaining financial compensation through a civil lawsuit.

Contact a Manassas Personal Injury Attorney

Do you need help with your motor vehicle crash claim? One of the dedicated Manassas car accident attorneys at our firm can begin working with you on your case today. We can discuss your options for filing an auto insurance claim, we can negotiate with the auto insurer on your behalf, and we can represent you in a car accident lawsuit if you ultimately need to file a civil lawsuit in order to seek fair compensation for your losses. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm. Contact Family Law Group to find out more about the services we provide to injury victims and their families in Northern Virginia.