Injured in a Suffolk Car Accident? Here’s What You Should Do
May 02, 2022
The National Safety Council reports that approximately 15,000 vehicle collisions happen each day in this country. If a negligent driver injures you in a car accident in or near the Suffolk area, immediately contact a Suffolk car accident attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.
If you’re injured in a car accident, you should take some steps to protect yourself – both medically and legally – at the accident scene and after the accident. Here is a checklist of the measures that you should take after a car accident:
#1: Stay at the Crash Site
If you leave a car accident scene in Virginia, and especially if there is a serious injury or fatality, you could face criminal charges for hit-and-run or leaving the scene of an accident. The police officers who conduct an investigation of the crash will let you know when you can leave.
#2: Report the Accident and Call for Medical Assistance
The highest priority immediately after an auto accident is to determine if anyone is injured and to call for medical assistance if someone needs it. Never move an injured or unconscious person unless that person’s safety requires it – such as moving someone from a burning vehicle.
The law in Virginia requires drivers to report most car accidents. Failing to report an accident to the police is a Class 4 misdemeanor in this state, with this exception: You are not required to report a car accident that caused no injuries or deaths and less than $1,500 in property damage.
When police officers arrive, ask for their names and their badge numbers, how to acquire a copy of their written accident report, and when that report will be available.
#3: Exchange Contact and Car Insurance Details
Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license, license plate numbers, and car insurance contact information from the other driver (or drivers) involved in the accident. Also try to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any passengers or eyewitnesses.
Be cooperative and cordial with the police and the other parties who are involved in the accident, but don’t apologize for anything, don’t admit to anything, and don’t sign any legal or insurance document before you consult a Suffolk car accident lawyer.
#4: Take Photos
If you can, take photos of the accident site, vehicle damages, and your injuries. If you can’t, ask someone to take photos for you. You can’t take too many photos.
In many car accident cases, photographs make the difference between prevailing and failing with a personal injury claim.
#5: Inform Your Car Insurance Company
Call your car insurance company as soon as you have left the accident scene and inform the company about the accident. Cooperate with the company and tell the truth about the crash and about your injuries.
Later, you will need to obtain a hard copy of the written accident report. If you were not at fault and the other driver was negligent, your auto insurance company needs to know.
#6: Keep Notes Regarding Your Medical Care
After a car accident, even if you do not seem to be injured, have a medical examination. Injuries that might not be visible or even apparent – or injuries that seem trivial – may slowly (or sometimes, rapidly) develop into serious medical situations.
Keep a record of your medical treatments and the doctors and other medical professionals who treat you. Also, keep a detailed list of any medications prescribed for you.
Ask for, make, and store copies of test results, hospital bills, and other paperwork that may help you confirm your medical expenditures. Also, keep a record of the days you miss from work, any activities you’re unable to perform, and how your injury has affected your family and your life.
#7: Let Your Lawyer Do the Talking
Don’t speak to anyone about the accident except your car insurance company, the police, and your Suffolk car accident attorney. Never speak to anyone from the other driver’s insurance company before you have consulted with your attorney.
If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, refer the company to your own insurance company or to your lawyer, and promptly inform your lawyer about the call. Anything you may say could be misinterpreted, twisted, and used against you, so it’s better to say nothing at all.
#8: Do Not Accept a Quick Settlement Offer
If the other driver’s car insurance company offers a quick settlement, do not accept it. You must be sure that all of your injuries have been treated, that no latent injuries remain, and that you are on the path to a full recovery.
Your Suffolk auto accident lawyer will be an experienced negotiator who routinely obtains settlements from auto insurance companies. Your lawyer knows the tactics insurance companies use and knows how to obtain a generous settlement on your behalf.
Put the case in your attorney’s hands and never settle a personal injury claim until and unless you are sure that you are being compensated completely for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and related damages and losses.
#9: Select the Right Attorney to Represent You
Most car accident cases are settled out-of-court, but if your claim is disputed, or if no reasonable settlement amount is offered, your attorney will take your case to trial, explain what happened and how badly you were injured, and ask the jurors to order the payment of your compensation.
Car accident lawyers in Virginia work on a contingent fee basis, so your lawyer gets paid later, and only if you recover compensation with a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict. If for any reason your claim does not prevail, you owe no attorney’s fee.
Call an attorney as soon as you have been examined and/or treated by a medical professional. The statute of limitations for accident claims in Virginia is two years, but your lawyer needs to see the evidence before it deteriorates and speak to any witnesses while their memories are fresh.
#10: Stay Safe on Virginia’s Streets and Highways
Wear a seatbelt whenever you are an automobile driver or passenger. Be certain your tires, lights, and brakes are in working condition whenever you drive. Obey all of the traffic rules and regulations, and drive defensively.
Do not let another driver’s negligence turn your life upside-down. If you are injured by a negligent motorist in a car accident in or near the Suffolk area, contact a Suffolk personal injury lawyer at once and put the law to work for you.
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