Despite 16 percent less traffic, motorists have engaged in more distracted and unsafe driving since 2020. Phone use and driving was up 38 percent, speeding increased by 27 percent and hard braking rose by 25 percent. Being prepared for a car crash can help keep you and others safe and preserve your rights in a personal injury lawsuit.
If practical, immediately pull your vehicle to a safe, nearby, and well-illuminated area where you and your passengers are visible. Move the vehicle, even to a sidewalk, if it may cause a road hazard. Turn on the emergency flashers.
If you cannot move your vehicle, you and your passengers should go a safe distance away. Do not leave the accident scene.
Regardless of the severity of the accident, make sure that young children, non-ambulatory or disabled adults or pets are not left in a hot, locked vehicle. They can return to the vehicle when it is safe. Do not remove young children from car seats until they are assessed by a first responder if they have injuries that are not visible.
First-responders and police
Once your car and you are in a safe location, see if anyone in your vehicle is injured. If anyone suffered even minor injuries, call first-responders immediately.
Have someone give you the location of the accident when you call 9-1-1. You will likely need to provide your name, closest street name and house number, mile markings, traffic signs or signals or other landmarks. Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you.
If someone appears injured, need immediate help, or you do not know the numbers for first responders, you should call 9-1-1.
In Virginia, an automobile accident must be reported to the State Police or local police if anyone was killed or injured or if there was any property damage. If police do not come to the accident, file an accident report at the nearest police station as soon as possible. Obtain a copy of the report because it may be helpful if there is a lawsuit.
Many insurance policies have roadside assistance, towing services and rental car coverage that may help you after an accident.
Make sure it is safe to talk to the other driver and use caution if there is any sign of road rage. Secure and hide your valuables before leaving your car.
You may ask if the other driver needs assistance and engage in small talk. Do not admit anything, apologize, express anger, or accept or place blame for the crash.
Do not discuss the extent of your injuries, car damage or insurance coverage. It may take hours or even days for injuries to appear. State that only doctors can assess your health.
Never maker any side deals with the other driver. Do not pay or accept cash instead of filing an accident claim.
Always have your vehicle registration, license, proof of insurance and the contact information for your agent when you drive. Take important medical information for yourself, family members and pets such as allergies and medical providers.
Insurance and contact information are the only information that should be exchanged with the other driver. This includes identity and contact information, insurance company and policy number, and operator’s license and license plate number.
Note the accident location and the color and make and model of their vehicle. With your I-phone, you should take video and photographs of all the vehicles involved in the accident and the crash scene. Obtain statements and contact information from witnesses.
Document injuries, road and weather conditions and anything that may have contributed to the accident. Write down anything that you remember. Save bills for medical treatment, vehicle repairs and other expenses related to the accident because these may be important for a lawsuit or insurance claim.
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Ask for clarification for questions or statements you do not understand. Find out about what documents you need to provide and when claims must be filed.
Refer any contacts form the other driver’s insurer to your company or your attorney.
Attorneys can assist you with obtaining information and determining whether there are grounds for a lawsuit. They can help pursue compensation in a lawsuit.