- The steps you take immediately after your auto accident will have a real impact on your case as it proceeds in the future.
Keep the following ideas in mind if you're involved in an auto accident.
Make sure you get as much information about the driver of the other vehicle
as you can.
The insurance policy number is not enough. While you can still make a claim
using just the insurance policy number, if the claim is denied, you will
have to proceed in litigation against the driver of the vehicle.
- Since the insurance policy is connected to the vehicle itself - and the owner - not necessarily the driver - you may run into a problem if you don't have the driver's name.
- Make sure you get the other driver's name spelled correctly, and an address. This will be useful to you in case the insurance company is uncooperative. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the name and address is more important than a phone number.
- A simple way to make sure you get all the information you need is to contact the police to do an exchange of information.
- If you really do not want to contact the police, take a photograph of the other driver's license.
- The insurance policy number is not enough. While you can still make a claim using just the insurance policy number, if the claim is denied, you will have to proceed in litigation against the driver of the vehicle.
Take photographs of the scene and of both vehicles.
- Immediately after an accident, you may think that it's clearly the other driver's fault and you will have no problem making your claim.
- Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, except in standard rear-end accidents.
- Having photographs of the scene - especially where the vehicles came to rest and in what position - can be extremely helpful to either prove to the insurance company that it should accept liability or to prove your case to a judge.
- Photographs of the property damage on your vehicle and the other vehicle, as well as photographs the layout of the scene, are also useful to prove you were not at fault.
If there are any witnesses, get their information.
- If there is going to be a dispute as to fault and there is a witness, you really want to call the police to make sure the witness's identity and contact information, including their address, gets logged in the officer's report.
- Be aware that while the police listen to witnesses, they don't always get their information or note it in their report. It's a good idea to ask the witness for their card so you know you have the information secured.
- The reason the address of the other driver and any witnesses are so important is that if the claim is denied on liability and you have to file suit, you will have to serve the defendant with the lawsuit, and serve any witnesses with subpoenas to appear at trial.
- Make sure you get as much information about the driver of the other vehicle as you can.
If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a car accident in Virginia caused by the fault or negligence of another person and would like to consult an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney for free, contact us at (855) 954-4141 to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Manassas or throughout Virginia or visit us online.