What Should I Do After an Accident or Injury in Virginia?

Knowing what to do in the aftermath of an accident or any incident that causes injuries can make a big difference in the recovery, both physically and financially. Every situation has its own risks and complications, but here are some general guidelines for what to do after an accident or injury.

Secure Your Safety

Whether your injuries result from a car accident or something completely different like a slip and fall, one of the most important factors to keep in mind is that you don’t want yourself or anyone else to suffer additional harm. 

In a car accident, vehicles may still be moving, so check surroundings carefully before trying to get out of your vehicle. Unless your vehicle is showing signs of fire, it is probably safest to remain inside until first responders arrive. If you’ve fallen and you’re in a precarious position, try to move to a safer position if you can, but if moving causes pain, remain still.

Assess the Situation

Examine your body for signs of injury, remembering that the rush of adrenaline after an accident will often mask pain and other effects. You may be considerably dazed, so just remembering to breathe may be the next critical step.

If there are others in your vehicle or nearby, check on their condition. Consider where you are, what you may have hit, and if there are hazards nearby. If you can see other vehicles, write down or take pictures of license plate numbers or other identifying features in case a driver tries to flee the scene.

Don’t assume you or anyone else involved is “fine” even if that is how it appears. Many injuries do not become apparent until later.

Call 911

If you have been in an accident involving a vehicle, it is always a good idea to get a police report of the incident. Calling 911 can get you quick assistance from police, firefighters, and medical personnel. Let the medical professionals determine whether you should be transported to the hospital—they are the experts and can assess your condition better than you can.

Chances are good that the law requires you to file a report for the accident if it involved a motor vehicle. In Virginia, a report is necessary if there are injuries or damage worth more than $1,500, and it is almost impossible to repair any damage for less than $1,500. In D.C., the Department of Motor Vehicles instructs drivers to either call 911 to report the accident or file a report over the phone with the Metropolitan Police Department. Maryland law does not require filing a report if there are no injuries, but remember that it is not truly possible to determine if someone has been injured in a collision until they have had a thorough medical exam. The bottom line is that it is best to call emergency services and get their help as soon as possible.

If you are injured in another situation and it hurts to move, then it is also best to call 911 and obtain assistance from medical personnel. Moving without proper safety equipment could make your injuries worse.

Take Photos and Make Notes

If someone else’s failure to act responsibly caused your injuries, you could be entitled to receive compensation to offset your pain, suffering, and other losses. To recover after an injury, you need evidence of the causation and the injury itself. So to be prepared, it is best to take photos of everything. This includes vehicles involved, the setting, visible injuries, witnesses, insurance cards, and anything that could indicate what happened during the accident and what led up to the accident.

In addition, take notes about what you remember, including the names and contact information of witnesses. Your recollections at the time of an injury will be more valuable than later memories of the event.

Get a Thorough Medical Exam

Regardless of how you feel, after a car accident, fall, or other event that causes trauma to your body, you should get a complete medical exam. Let your doctor know what happened so they know where to look for potential injuries that might not be obvious such as internal bleeding. Serious injuries such as brain injuries may not show symptoms for hours or days, so keep monitoring your condition for any signs of change and return to the doctor if you notice something unusual.

Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC Can Helps You Recover After an Injury

Suffering injuries in a vehicle accident or other incident can completely disrupt your life. The experienced team at Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC is ready to assist. If you suffered injuries in Virginia, D.C., or Maryland, we can help you find the resources you need and work to recover damages to compensate you and enable you to rebuild your life. For a free consultation, contact Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC at (571) 532-9070.