First Steps to Take After Being Injured in a Fairfax Car Accident

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident in Fairfax, Virginia here are the first steps you should take.  For more information or for assistance filing an injury claim call today and schedule a free consultation with a Fairfax car accident lawyer.

1) Call 911

Well, the first thing that we want to do is always make sure that everyone’s safe and taken care of, so if we receive a phone call in our office while someone is out on the road for instance, we’ll tell them hang up the phone, call 911, and you can call us back later after they’ve been attended to. Typically, the most important thing is to call 911, stay calm, check for injuries to yourself and anyone else in your car, and make sure that you have your hazard lights on if you’re still on the roadway.

2) Exchange Insurance Information With Others Involved

Once you do those things, it’s important to make an effort to figure out who else was involved. Oftentimes there is just one other vehicle and you can exchange insurance information with them, but in many cases there are additional parties involved and it’s important to identify them all.

3) Contact Police

In any accident, you should make sure that the police are contacted, even if it seems to be a small accident without much property damage and without any real obvious injuries right away, it’s a better idea just to get the police on the phone, have them show up at the scene, even if it’s just for an information exchange just to facilitate the sharing information and to make sure that there’s a record of what happened. That way there will be an incident report or in some jurisdictions just the information exchange, but at least there will be some document memorializing where and when the accident happened, who was involved, et cetera.

4) Exchange Critical Information, Including License Plate Numbers of Other Vehicles

It’s always important to exchange critical information with the other driver or drivers and to try and get the license plate numbers of all the vehicles involved in the accident.

5) Don’t Make Statement

In addition to what I just said, it’s important not to admit fault for the accident. This can be something as simple as saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.” It’s okay to be concerned about how other people are doing, and if you believe another driver or passenger has been injured then you should try to get them medical attention, but it’s often hard to determine what exactly happened immediately after an accident. Trying to explain what happened to another driver will almost never help your case. You can’t go back and stop the accident from happening, if the police show up on the scene, they will probably want to interview you at that time.

6) Take Notes of Details

Take very close notes. Pay attention to detail as far as who might have been around at the time, for instance, if there were witnesses that saw what happened, what was the weather like, was this a busy intersection, a controlled intersection, who had the right of way, going which way, that sort of thing. All sorts of details like that can be very helpful. If you are in a place where it’s safe to do so, I recommend taking pictures of the vehicles at the scene so we can see where the vehicles came to rest. Now I understand in the practicalities of modern-day life, especially in the D.C. metro area if you’re on the Beltway or another busy thoroughfare, that’s just not going to be an option. That’s fine. It’s helpful to get pictures of vehicles at the scene where they were when the accident happened or as close there to as possible, but safety is the first priority…

7) Turn on Hazard Lights, Avoid Any Further Damage

It’s most important to stay safe and make sure that you’re able to avoid any further incidents which is part of why it’s important to get the hazard lights turned on right away. If you’re on the side of the road and you’re out looking at property damage, you don’t want to be exposing yourself to potential further harm by standing in the roadway or anything like that, so your hazard lights can at least send the message to other drivers on the road that this vehicle’s inoperable or stopped.

8) Don’t Make Any Recorded Statements Until Lawyer is Contacted

The last thing I would say other than the advice to call an attorney would be not to make any recorded statements without first speaking to a lawyer. A lot of the time, an insurance company for the other driver will want to get a recorded statement as soon as they can after an accident, and that seems like it would make sense because memories fade and people want to have the clearest understanding of what happened. They might suggest to you that they are just investigating and the easiest way to do that is to get someone’s recollection while it’s still fresh, but that being said, if you’re contacted by the other party’s insurance company, you’re not obligated to make a statement. You don’t have any obligation to the other party’s insurer. If you are considering giving a statement, talk to a lawyer first, even if you believe that it is clear that you were not at fault.