What should you do while you’re recovering from your Virginia car accident?

Woman sitting next to damaged car

Most people don’t expect to be seriously injured in a car crash. So, the experience can be overwhelming.  In addition to the physical and emotional pain that you are suffering, the law expects you to take action to maximize your chances of having a successful personal injury claim to compensate you for your experiences.

Yes, this is unfair. And far too often, it’s too much.  Tragically, we get calls from accident victims that failed to take important steps in preserving and memorializing the facts of their case.  Sometimes, we can step in and help, but other times, we can’t.  This article is meant to provide some useful information that accident victims might want to consider as they recover from their accident case.

What should I do right after my Virginia car accident?

We’ve previously written an article providing useful information.  Check it out here.  Our suggestions include (if you’re physically able, or can have someone assist) capture photographs of the accident scene/property damage/your injuries, obtain witness contact information (even if someone saw it, but you can’t contact them, it’s as if they don’t exist), investigating whether there was video of the accident (for example, business surveillance cameras, a witnesses car dash video, etc.)

Ok, so what do I do while I’m recovering? 

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that your accident didn’t just happen. And  you’re not recovering.  Of course, it’s important for you to rest.  But here are some things you might want to consider doing too:

Talk to an attorney.

Even if you’re not ready to hire an attorney, most car accident attorneys will give you a free consultation.  Take advantage of this because they will ordinarily provide useful guidance of things you need to do, and issues you should consider.  And even if you’re not ready to hire, speaking to attorneys will provide you with options down the road should you need an attorney.

Follow your doctor’s orders.

We often represent people that are catastrophically injured.  This means a lot of follow-up appointments, therapy, etc.  I understand that it may feel like too much, and maybe you don’t want to go to that next visit. But remember, if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim, the insurance companies will be happy if you don’t follow your doctor’s orders.

In Virginia, there’s something called “failure to mitigate damages.”  This means that an injured party must take reasonable steps to aid their recovery, and if they don’t, their failure can be used against them.  So, if your doctor tells you to get physical therapy, you need to complete that therapy.  Doing so will maximize your chances of fully recovering from your accident. It will also limit the insurance company’s claim that you failed to mitigate your own damages.

Document your recovery with a journal and photographs.

Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may need to take photographs of your recovery.  This is especially important with injury wounds, surgery wounds, burns, bruising, or other injuries that are visually obvious.  The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” is true when it comes to car accident trials.  And you want to be confident that, should an insurance company fail to properly compensate you for your injuries, you can show the jury what happened with pictures.

You should also consider keeping a “pain journal.” This is really a diary of your pain and recovery, as you’re experiencing it.  Over time, our brains have a habit of forgetting traumatic moments.  It also has a habit of glossing over very trying times.  Often, car accident litigation doesn’t occur form months, even years after an accident.  Having a journal to refresh your recollection later with “real time” entries of what you went through will be useful.

Keep up with your medical bills and health insurance.

If you’re lucky enough to have health insurance, make sure your bills are submitted to your health insurer.  We’ve written a detailed article on why you should use your health insurance after a Virginia car accident case.  Check it out here.

If you suffered a significant injury, there will be a lot of different bills from different providers.  Do your best to keep up with the bills as you receive them.  Confirm that your health insurance paid its part, and if not send it to them.  If there are outstanding amounts owed, not covered by insurance, reach out to the providers, and pay them off if you’re able.  If not, ask them if they do payment plans.  And make sure to keep track of outstanding bills. 

Organize documents for your lost wages.

If you are losing wages, you’ll want to make sure to start putting together the documents to corroborate how much you lost. Here’s an article that helps provide what you may need.

Consider the witnesses you’ll need.

The insurance company won’t simply agree that you were injured.  So, you need to start considering who can corroborate your recovery.  This includes medical doctors who have provided you significant treatment.  This also includes people in your life that have witnessed what you’ve gone through.  People such as spouses and significant others, family members, friends, co-workers, and others. 

We would suggest putting together a list of useful people as well as their contact information.  That way, if you end up having to litigate your case, your attorney has a list of witnesses they will reach out to for help in your case.

No, this is not everything.

Of course, for complex injury cases, a lot more will happen for a successful claim.  And this list is not exhaustive. But completing the above will be a good starting off point to maximize your chances of a successful outcome. 

Still have questions?

Make sure to check out our Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Practice Pages where we’ve answered many other questions you likely have.  Abrenio Law is a Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Law Firm representing individuals in Northern Virginia and throughout the Commonwealth. You can learn more about Abrenio Law by visiting our About Us page. You can also read about some of our Prior Results, and Read Our Reviews.  Make sure to contact us at Ph. 703-570-4180 for your Free Consultation.