If you were in an accident that injured someone, after you seek medical attention, call an experienced accident attorney right away. They can help you understand all the complex legal issues at play and help you navigate any legal challenges that arise.
Immediately After an Accident
If you were involved in an accident that results in an injury, death, and/or property damage, Virginia Code Section 46.2-894 requires you to stop as close to the accident scene as is safe without obstructing traffic, and give your name, address, driver’s license, and vehicle registration numbers to responding law enforcement. You also must provide this information to the other driver or person who was injured if they request it. Failing to follow these rules can result in criminal charges.
If you are in an accident where someone is injured, make sure to stop, call the police, provide your information, and help anyone who was injured as much as possible. You must stop and assist any person injured in the accident. This generally means calling 911.
Start Collecting Evidence
Just because someone else was injured in the accident doesn’t necessarily mean you were at fault. After your accident, try to document as many details as possible to help support your case.
These things could prove particularly important:
- The date and time of the accident. This could help if the other person was texting or on their phone while driving, which could make them partially at fault (and in violation of Virginia law). The date and time will also be important if weather played a part in your accident. Was it snowing or icy, and they drove too fast for conditions? Was the sun setting so they couldn’t see clearly, but they proceeded anyway?
- The location of the accident, and especially any details that may have contributed to visibility problems, such as embankments or trees, road construction, or poor lighting.
- The condition of the road. Were there any potholes? Did this accident occur in a work zone? Was the road paved or gravel? Were the lanes clearly marked?
- Note whether the other driver seemed intoxicated or under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Try to observe any alcohol bottles or drug paraphernalia in their vehicle.
- Make sure to get contact information from the other parties, any witnesses, the responding police officer, and any Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) at the scene.
If at all possible, take pictures and videos at the scene of the accident, including any vehicle damage and injuries. If you talk to the other party, police, or witnesses, make a voice recording of your conversations. As soon as possible, write down everything you remember about the accident, including how fast you drove and the posted speed, whether you wore a seatbelt, whether the other driver or any passengers wore seatbelts, and whether any pedestrians were nearby or hurt.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Whether you think you caused the accident, never admit fault. Never apologize for the accident or the resulting injuries. You might feel bad that someone was hurt, but you will not know you did anything wrong until after a full investigation. Admitting fault can lead to both civil liability and criminal charges against you—even if you ultimately did nothing wrong.
While you are legally required to exchange information with the other driver, make sure that you don’t get too friendly with them. Provide reasonable assistance as necessary, but do not divulge anything about your finances or personal circumstances.
Additionally, do not give the police or insurance adjuster more information than they need to file their report. If you believe you contributed to the accident, you should speak to an experienced accident attorney before talking to an insurance adjuster and before answering additional questions from the police. This is especially true if you were drinking and driving or using controlled substances.
Seeking an Attorney’s Help
Being in a car accident is incredibly stressful, and adding an injury to the mix makes it even more so. If there were multiple vehicles involved, figuring out who was at fault becomes even more complicated. Factors including your and the other driver’s behavior, weather, road construction, and automobile malfunctions can play a part in determining the outcome of your case.
If you were in an accident in which someone was injured, you should consult with an accident attorney right away. Vehicle accidents are legally complex, with many potential causes or people who could be at fault. Consult an attorney today to understand your legal options.