Auto Accident Dos and Donts
When you are involved in an automobile accident, there are some important things that you should do to protect your rights, and to assure that you can receive proper compensation, if you are injured through no fault of your own.
- Immediately call the police, and emergency medical care.
- Check your passengers and seek medical assistance immediately.
- If an ambulance attendant or emergency medical technician asks you to go to the hospital, do so.
- Make sure to note the license plate number of the other vehicle, if the other party tries to leave the scene of the accident.
- Be aware of as many details of the accident as possible, including location, events of the accident, witnesses, weather conditions, etc. You will want details for anything that may help substantiate your claim.
- Gather information for all the other drivers, including names, addresses, phone number, insurance company and policy number.
- Get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all witnesses before they leave the scene of the accident.
- If you have a camera, take pictures of the accident scene. While it is best to do so immediately, before moving your vehicle from the road, it is not always practical to do so. Remember to be cautious and protect your own safety first.
- Be completely honest about the incident when being questioned by the police.
- Do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company. Contact an attorney before you provide any details regarding your accident.
- Track all conversations pertaining to the accident. Note who you spoke with, when, and keep confirmation numbers.
- Keep all receipts and other written records in reference to the accident, such as a tow bill or repair bill.
- Most importantly, contact an attorney if you have been injured, because insurance companies are adverse to your interests in bringing any claim which they may ultimately have to pay.
- Don't move your vehicle until the police arrive, unless it is a hazard to other motorists.
- Don't admit fault and don't try to place blame on the other party. Give facts of the accident objectively when being questioned by police.
- Do not discuss the accident with the other driver or the witnesses. Just listen to the driver or a witness explain their version of how the accident occurred.
- Do not delay getting medical treatment.
- Do not sign any documents or provide anything in writing to anyone until you have consulted an attorney.
- Do not agree to settle the dispute privately. You should always seek the counsel of a qualified attorney before accepting a settlement.
- Be careful not to let the time limits to file an insurance claim run out. In Virginia there is a 2 year statute of limitations from the date of the accident.
- Do not accept a settlement, a payment, or sign a release, that states "full or final payment", unless you have consulted an attorney.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident in Virginia and need legal assistance, please use the form at the top right or call us for an initial consultation.
This is not legal advice, but merely intended to be helpful hints for those involved in an automobile accident, until you have the opportunity to contact an attorney. These helpful hints do not create an attorney/client relationship.