Did you know that in a typical year, there is a car accident roughly every five minutes in Virginia alone? On top of that, more than 5 million people end up injured across the United States and need medical attention (annually). Car accidents are a serious risk and there’s a good chance that you’ll be in one at some point.
Fortunately, by following this guide, motorists can mitigate risks after an incident.
Check on Folks in Your Vehicle and Call Authorities
The initial step after a car accident is to check to see if anyone is injured. As a driver or passenger, it’s smart to check over the folks in your vehicle first. Check for bleeding and visible signs of injuries first, but remember that many injuries may not be visible. Ask people if they have any pains or mobility issues.
After that, call the authorities as quickly as possible. In Virginia, if the accident is serious, dial 911. For minor accidents, consider contacting the local police department or Department of State Police instead. This is especially true if a car accident is serious or if anyone is injured. Timely intervention can save lives. If you’re unsure of your exact location, see if you can pull it up on your smartphone or another GPS-enabled device. Having the correct location can improve response times.
Consider Evacuating the Vehicle if Necessary
If the car is producing smoke or is severely damaged, you may want to evacuate. If the car is on fire, there is a risk of the vehicle burning down. If folks are immobile, however, or may have suffered a neck, spine, or similar injury, it’s typically best not to move them unless absolutely necessary. Moving someone may result in further injury.
If someone needs to be moved and is potentially injured, it’s best to reduce movement as much as possible. Immobilizing their neck and head can reduce the risk of further injury. Yet once again, unless the situation is dire, it’s wise to wait for emergency responders.
Check On The Other Vehicle
If you’re not injured and can evacuate your vehicle, consider checking on other vehicles involved in the wreck. If another vehicle is on fire or producing smoke, people may need to be evacuated. When possible, try to communicate with people verbally and let them know that they may be in danger.
Generally speaking, if people are communicating with you, it’s best not to go against their wishes. For example, if someone doesn’t want to be evacuated from a vehicle, don’t force the issue. Also, let people know that you have already contacted emergency services and provided any updates provided by dispatchers.
If other people involved in the accident are agitated or are making you uncomfortable, wait for the authorities to arrive instead of approaching.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Right Away
Getting in touch with a lawyer may not be the first thing to come to mind after an accident. However, legal advice could go a long way. This is true whether you believe you’re at fault or not. If drivers aren’t at fault, an attorney can help bring that to light while also establishing the foundations for a personal injury legal case, should one proceed to court.
If a driver may be at fault, legal advice after an accident could ensure that they are not, proverbially speaking, thrown under the bus. While the at-fault driver and their insurance company may eventually pay damages, legal advice can help ensure that any damages are just and not excessive.
Don’t have a lawyer on speed dial? If your phone is working, search for an auto accident lawyer nearby. For example, you might google a Virginia auto accident lawyer. This will pull up results and contact information so you can get in touch with relevant legal experts.