What To Do After an Auto Accident in Virginia

Virginia auto accident attorney Thomas Soldan answers questions about what to do immediately following an auto collision in Virginia, and important steps to take after the accident.

What Are the Top Eight Things to Do After a Virginia Auto Accident?

For a person to do following an accident:

  1. Seek emergency medical treatment for themselves or for their loved ones and anyone else in the accident.
  2. Contact law enforcement as soon as possible to generate a police report with all the identifying information about the incident.
  3. Follow up on any medical treatment referral from the providers in step one.
  4. Talk to their insurance company to report the accident and let them know what is going on right away.
  5. Contact an experienced Virginia auto accident attorney to find out what their options are and make sure they are following the steps that they would advise. Each and every attorney will have some of their own steps that they would follow, but these are some general things.
  6. Keep a journal of your recovery. Oftentimes there will be peaks and valleys in terms of someone’s health. Somebody might be feeling very good one day, then very bad the next day, and very good the day after that. If somebody keeps a daily journal, it can be very simple to keep track. I usually recommend that clients get a notebook because it’s useful to keep track of certain things including how they are feeling, sleep, appetite, mobility, lack of mobility, moods, and all the things that are really important throughout the process.
  7. Keep track of any time they have missed from work either due to the injury or missing work to attend medical appointments. Keeping track of that is extremely important.
  8. Again, keep track of steps for medical care and what their long-term prognosis is.

If There Are No Injured Parties or Extensive Damage, Should an Individual Contact Law Enforcement?

That is certainly a case where I put on both of my hats as a personal injury attorney and a criminal defense attorney. Virginia code requires that law enforcement be contacted under certain criteria when a motor vehicle accident occurs. If there is no property damage and no personal injuries, the parties often exchange information, meaning that they give each other their names and phone numbers, and that is often allowable under Virginia law. But if there is any question about whether or not there is property damage or any question about whether or not there are personal injuries, law enforcement should be contacted.

Does a Person Need to Tell Their Insurance Company If They Are in an Accident?

Yes. Most insurance policies have a requirement that people cooperate with their own company in terms of an investigation. People often get nervous about that. They think that if they let their insurance company know that they were in an accident, they’ll raise their rates. The answer to that is that it won’t necessarily raise their rates if the accident was not their fault. To trigger their insurance company’s policy, which may include uninsured coverage or medical payments coverage, it is important to notify the insurance company as soon as possible.