There are several steps drivers should take after they are involved in a car accident to protect their best interests.

Car accidents are a common occurrence every day in Virginia and throughout the rest of the U.S. In 2017 alone, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 127,375 car accidents occurred in the state, which was a 0.9% increase from 2016. Additionally, car insurance industry estimates state that the average driver will file a claim for a car accident approximately every 17.9 years, which makes knowing how to handle the aftermath of a collision imperative.

How to handle a collision

There are several steps driver should take when they are involved in a car accident to effectively make decisions and protect their best interests. These include the following:

  • Check for injuries - After involvement in a car accident, drivers should call 911 or ask someone else to take this step if they are injured. Drivers who are not too hurt to move should check passengers, bystanders and others involved to determine if they need emergency medical assistance.
  • Remove vehicles from traffic-If possible, all vehicles involved in the collision should be moved to the side of the road or out of the way of traffic. If this is not possible, drivers should leave their vehicles where they are and head to a safe area to wait for law enforcement to arrive.
  • Contact emergency professionals-Regardless of whether the accident is major or simply a fender-bender, drivers should call the police to report what occurred. After law enforcement officials arrive at the scene, they should document what happened and fill out an accident report.
  • Exchange information - Once drivers affirm no one has been injured, everyone involved in the accident should exchange their information. The most important information to collect includes the full name and contact information of the other drivers as well as their insurance information, driver's license information and license plate number, type of vehicle and where the accident happened.

Those who are involved in a vehicle collision should also put together as much documentation about the accident as possible. Drivers should ask the law enforcement officials where they contain a copy of the accident report, take pictures of the accident scene, write down the names of all parties involved and talk to witnesses about the collision.

Contact an attorney

On top of taking these steps following a car accident in Virginia, drivers should reach out to an attorney in their area. Taking this important step can help drivers protect their legal rights and ability to attain fair and proper compensation in the aftermath of the collision.