What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Virginia?

Experiencing a car accident can be both shocking and overwhelming. At Johnnie Bond Law, we understand the confusion and urgency that follow such incidents, especially when you need clarification on the immediate steps to take. 

You might not be aware, but the actions you take immediately following your car accident, as well as in the subsequent hours and days, can significantly impact your personal injury claim.

Here is what you should do if you are involved in a car accident 

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Don’t delay a trip to the doctor. Even if you don’t think your injuries are severe, your safety and security are the most important things. See a medical professional as soon as possible. Looking for medical attention will accomplish two meaningful things. First, it’ll ensure that your injuries are correctly diagnosed and treated. This will protect you from potentially life-threatening complications down the line. Even seemingly minor symptoms can escalate into severe conditions if left unchecked. Early medical intervention is key to both your health and your recovery process. Second, your trip to the ER will generate a medical report. This will help establish a causal link between your injuries and the wreck, which can be vital if you decide to pursue compensation. A detailed medical report provides solid documentation supporting your claim, showing that the injuries resulted from the accident and not another cause.
  2. Report the Accident: In Maryland, reporting a car accident under certain circumstances is essential to ensure compliance with state law and aid in future insurance or legal processes. Maryland law requires that any car accident resulting in injury, death, or significant property damage be reported to the local police immediately. If the police do not investigate the scene, you must file a written report with the appropriate agency within 15 days. If the accident occurs within a municipality, call the city police; otherwise, contact the county police or state highway patrol. If the police did not file a report at the scene, you can also file an accident report online through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) website. Your report should include the date, time, and location of the accident, the names and contact information of involved parties, vehicle descriptions, driver’s license numbers, insurance information, and a detailed description of the accident.
  3. Exchange Information: Gather names, contact details, vehicle descriptions, and insurance information from all parties involved. Also, contact information must be collected from any witnesses.
  4. Documenting the Scene: Your phone can be your best tool at the scene of an accident:
  • Take Photos and Videos: Document the accident scene, vehicle damages, and any visible injuries.
  • Make Notes: Write down your recollection of how the accident occurred. Details can fade over time, so recording them promptly is beneficial.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

Engaging a personal injury lawyer early can significantly affect the outcome of your legal and insurance proceedings:

  • Legal Advice: An attorney will provide you with an understanding of your rights and the legal avenues available.
  • Claim Management: They can handle claim paperwork, negotiations with insurance companies, and, if necessary, litigation.

Consulting Your Insurance Company

While you need to inform your insurance company about the accident, here are some tips to manage this interaction:

  • Initial Report: Inform your insurer about the accident, but stick to the facts.
  • Avoid Recorded Statements: Do not agree to record any statement without consulting your attorney first.
  • Be Wary of Quick Settlement Offers: Insurers might offer a quick settlement that may only partially cover your damages and injuries.

Understanding Virginia’s Legal Landscape

Virginia’s unique legal rules, including the contributory negligence doctrine, can complicate compensation claims. Under this doctrine, you might be barred from receiving compensation if you’re found even slightly at fault. Here, the experience of a knowledgeable lawyer is indispensable.

Our Firm’s Approach to Car Accident Claims

At Johnnie Bond Law, we approach each case with a commitment to personalized service and vigorous advocacy. We focus on:

  • Thorough Investigation: Gathering and analyzing evidence to support your claim.
  • Strategic Negotiations: We aim for settlements that fully cover your needs but are prepared to go to trial if necessary.
  • Comprehensive Support: Helping you through recovery, we manage legal and procedural burdens so you can focus on healing.

If you are reeling from a car accident in Maryland, Washington DC, or Virginia, remember, you’re not alone. The immediate steps you take can protect both your health and your rights. Call (202) 683-6803 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. At Johnnie Bond Law, we’re here to guide you through these challenging times with dedication and a commitment to achieving your best possible outcomes.