After a car accident, it’s common to feel confused and unsure of what you should do.
One of the first and most important things you should do after your accident is exchange information with the other driver.
Additionally, you should always consult with a qualified car accident attorney after an accident.
Virginia Law Regarding Responsibilities After a Car Accident
Under traffic laws in Virginia, drivers have specific responsibilities after a collision.
Drivers have a legal duty to stop after an accident that injures or kills a person or damages an attended car or property. Virginia law even requires drivers who hit unattended property to make an effort to find the owner and provide them with their information.
Virginia drivers must report the following after a car accident:
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle registration number
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, drivers must report this information to:
- Law enforcement
- A person struck and injured (if they are capable of understanding)
- The driver or occupant of the other vehicle involved
- The owner of the damaged property
Virginia law makes it illegal for drivers to flee the scene of an accident without stopping and providing the other party with their information. If someone strikes you and flees the scene, that person faces a lawsuit and criminal penalties.
Why Is It Important to Exchange Information After a Car Accident?
It’s crucial to exchange information after an accident. You want to ensure you have the other driver’s contact and insurance information to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.
When you get into an accident and don’t get the other driver’s info or the other driver commits a hit and run, it makes the process much more difficult. Without this critical information, you’d have to search for the other person. A long search can delay your case and hinder your chances of recovering financially.
Your car accident attorney can use the information you gather at the scene of your accident to help file your claim and build a strong case.
Info to Exchange in a Car Accident
Virginia law dictates what information drivers must provide at an accident scene. You may need additional information. Below you'll find in-depth details.
First and foremost, get the other person's contact information.
This can include:
- Phone number
- Email address
Ensure you have the correct spelling of the person’s name, as that can make a significant difference.
It helps to get multiple types of contact information in case you need to contact the individual and cannot reach them through one method or another. Additionally, you can ask the person their preferred contact method.
Looking For a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you have been personally injured recently one of the best decisions you could make right now is to hire a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will be able to go over your case details and provide the crucial steps you need to have a chance of winning your claim. Emroch and Kilduff is here to support you, reach out to us!
Insurance information helps in car accident cases.
You'll often pursue compensation from the other driver's insurance company. Therefore, the other driver's insurance information, including the company's name and the policy number, can help tremendously. You can ask to take a photo of their insurance card, as that may be easiest for both parties.
Also, make sure you check that the name of the driver and the name of the insured match. In some cases, the person who caused the accident is not the person who has car insurance for that vehicle.
Vehicle and Driving Information
Get as much information about the car as you can, including:
- The vehicle identification number (VIN)
- The license plate number
- The make/model/color of the vehicle
If possible, take photos and videos of the vehicle, including any damage to the car. Do the same for your vehicle.
Get the other person's driver's license information. While you may believe this is unnecessary because you already got their contact information, it's helpful to have their license number. Also, the other driver could easily lie, so taking a photo of their driver's license can ensure you get the correct info.
Your car accident lawyer may need the other party’s vehicle and license information for your claim.
Even if You Exchange Information, You Should Still Call the Police
Some individuals, especially those who have never experienced a collision, believe exchanging information is all they must do after a car accident.
It is not.
You must call the police and report your car accident, especially if an accident injures or kills another person.
It is common for drivers to try to deter you from calling the police, as they fear getting in trouble with law enforcement. However, it’s always best to call 911 and request law enforcement assistance. If anyone involved is injured, you can also request emergency medical aid.
When the police arrive at the scene of an accident, they gather information and details regarding the collision. Then, they take the information they collect and turn it into a police report. Police reports are usually available a few days after the accident, and either you or your car accident lawyer can request a copy to use for your case.
Police reports can play a significant role in your car accident cases. These reports can provide important information regarding cause and liability, two critical parts of an accident claim that your car accident attorney must prove.
You Should Also Get Witness Information
Getting the other driver’s information is critical after a car accident, but you may also have the opportunity to get witness information.
If there are witnesses to your accident, they can be helpful to your case. Your car accident attorney may find it beneficial to reach out to them to ask questions and get their perspective of the accident.
If possible, ask for witness contact information before leaving the accident scene.
After an Accident, Consult a Car Accident Lawyer
After a car accident, consult with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. A car accident lawyer can take the information you collect at the scene of your collision and use it for your claim.
Exchanging information might seem insignificant, but it can help your case. Once you gather the details after your accident, consult a car accident lawyer immediately.