What should I do right after my car accident here in Virginia?

If you’ve recently been involved in an accident, or want to know what you should do if you’re involved in a car accident here in Virginia, we recommend you do a few things to protect your rights.  If you’re physically able, here’s a list:

  • Make sure to get the defendant’s (the person that hurt you) contact information, insurance information, and ask them about why they caused your accident.  Obtaining this information will be important when pursuing your claim to prove they were at fault.
  • If there are witnesses around, make sure that you get their contact information, including a phone number and address.  If there is a dispute about how the accident happened, witnesses can be vital in helping you establish your claim.  Virginia applies Contributory Negligence, which means that if the defendant (the person that hurt you) is 99 percent at fault and you’re just (1 %) at fault, you  are barred from recovery in Virginia.  That means that a dispute by the defendant can bar your claim unless you have objective evidence proving how it happened.  The best way to do this is by witnesses.
  • Call the police.  Reporting the accident will not only help ensure your safety, but it will also hopefully lead to law enforcement investigating the accident, taking witness statements, and if appropriate, charging the defendant with a traffic violation.  This will result in a police report, which, while not admissible at trial, can help establish the facts for insurance companies about how the accident happened.  If the defendant is charged and they admit to fault in their traffic case, in many instances, this can be used in court should you need to prove they were at fault for the accident.
  • Take photographs of property damage to both your car, their car, and the accident scene.  The saying that “a picture is worth 1,000 words” is right when it comes to car accident cases.  Photographs can help establish fault, but also be very compelling to an insurance company or a jury should you have to present your claim.

Of course, this is not an extensive list, but these are essential things you can do to help preserve your claim.  Virginia can be very harsh when it comes to accident victims pursuing their claims in court, and it will inherently be an uphill battle in most cases.  Therefore, obtaining the foundational evidence of your case yourself can be hugely important when pursuing your claim.

Should you have any questions, reach out to Abrenio Law for a FREE consultation.  You can reach us at 703.570.4180.  Also, take time to review the other blogs, articles, and videos we have created and will continue to create.  We look forward to hearing from you.