What to do after a car or truck accident

The moments after a car or truck accident can be overwhelming and frightening. As you process the shock of the collision and assess your well-being, a flood of questions and concerns may rush through your mind. At Allen & Allen, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial challenges you face in an accident’s wake. We’re here to provide legal guidance as well as the compassion and support you need during this difficult time.

After law-enforcement officials have discharged you from the scene of an accident that caused injury or damage to anyone’s vehicle or property, you should contact your insurance company and report the accident immediately. Contacting the insurance company to report an accident is required by your auto liability insurance policy. If you fail to do so, the company may deny you insurance coverage!

Information to provide when you file your insurance claim

Here is what you should tell your insurance company:
• That the accident occurred;
• The date and time of the accident;
• The location of the accident; and
• The vehicles involved and names and addresses of anyone involved in the accident.

Information to withhold until speaking to a car and truck accident lawyer

There are certain things you do not want to discuss with your insurance representative until you have first contacted a car and truck accident attorney. These include:
• How or why the accident occurred; and
• Issues concerning fault.

As a general rule, do not give a recorded statement about the accident to anyone (including your own insurance representative) without first discussing the case with your lawyer.

Dealing with the other driver’s insurance company

When you talk to other drivers involved in the crash you will likely exchange information including insurance information. You do not have to contact the other person’s insurance company, but you may do so if you choose. Additionally, the other person’s insurance company may contact you. Here are the only things you should tell the other person’s insurance representative:

• The name and address of its insured;
• The current location of your vehicle; and
• Information regarding damage to your vehicle.

Here are some things you should never do when talking with another person’s insurance representative:
Never discuss how or why the accident occurred;
Never admit fault; and
Never give a recorded statement.

If you do not feel comfortable speaking to the other person’s insurance representative, tell them to contact your insurance company or your lawyer, if you have one. And you should. Any time you are involved in a car or truck crash with serious injuries, or even minor injuries, you should consider talking to a personal injury attorney. Lawyers have experience negotiating with insurance providers on car and truck accident claims. We can protect your interests.

Costs associated with car and truck accidents

There are certain costs associated with motor vehicle accidents, be it vehicle damage or personal injury. If you were not at fault in causing the accident, the person who did cause the accident may be liable to pay for your:
• Vehicle damages;
• Bills for medical treatment; and
• Lost wages.

Hopefully the negligent party will have had liability insurance at the time of the accident. If so, his insurance company may pay for your damages. If the negligent party was uninsured, your own uninsured motorist coverage may pay for your damages.

What to do if you are sued

Unfortunately, there may come a time after the accident when you are served with a Complaint and Summons that relate to the incident. This means that one of the parties involved in the accident is suing you. Here is what you should do next:
• Notify your insurance company immediately;
• Ask where you should send copies of those legal papers;
• Ask for and write down the name and phone number of the person with whom you are speaking; and
• Keep all this information.

Once you have received this information you should:
• Send or deliver the Complaint and Summons to the address given you by your insurance company, making sure to keep a photocopy for your records;
• Call the insurance company after a few days to make sure the company received the papers;
• Ask for the name, address, and telephone number of the lawyer the company has hired to represent you;
• Call the lawyer; and
• Once he confirms the insurance company has engaged him to represent you, give him your (1) name; (2) address; (3) and phone number; and (4) answer any questions he may have.

Seeking legal assistance

If you were injured in the accident and believe you were not at fault in causing it, you may need a lawyer to investigate the accident. Experienced car and truck accident attorneys can help determine whether you have a case of negligence against any of the other drivers involved in the accident.

It’s a good idea to talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer if you were in a crash with a semi-truck. These cases are particularly complicated. A trucking company must follow many state and federal laws that may affect their liability. For example, a truck driver can only work a certain number of hours. An attorney familiar with handling these claims knows what to look for in collisions involving passenger cars and heavy trucks.

Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation to determine if you can file a personal injury claim or a car or truck accident lawsuit. If you do have a case, you may want to engage the lawyer to pursue your legal claims against the negligent drivers.

What information should I collect to discuss with a lawyer?

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident and are considering hiring a lawyer to represent you, you need evidence to support your potential claim. Even if you’ve already left the accident scene and days or weeks have passed since the incident, you can still help. It’s important to document the incident so your lawyer can assess the strength of your case.

Write a detailed account of the accident while it’s still fresh in your memory. Don’t share this account with anyone but your lawyer.

If you couldn’t get the names and contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident, your lawyer may be able to assist in tracking them down. Their testimony can be invaluable in supporting your claim.

Take photos of your injuries as soon as possible. Continue documenting your injuries as they heal to show the progression of your recovery. If you received medical treatment for your injuries, gather all relevant medical documentation, including:

  • Hospital and emergency room records
  • Doctor’s notes and treatment plans
  • Diagnostic test results (e.g., X-rays, MRIs)
  • Prescription medication records
  • Therapy and rehabilitation records

Similarly, take photos of any damage to your vehicle, both interior and exterior. If you’ve already had your vehicle repaired, obtain copies of the repair bills and invoices.

If your injuries have caused you to miss work, keep a record of your lost wages and obtain documentation from your employer verifying your absence and lost income.

Once you’ve gathered all the available evidence and documentation, provide copies to your lawyer. They will review the information and use it to assess the merits of your case and develop a strategy for pursuing your claim.

Trust Allen & Allen to fight for you

For over a century, Allen & Allen has been committed to providing exceptional legal representation to our clients. We understand the challenges you face after an accident, and we’re here to guide you through the process with compassion and skill.

Our values of integrity, respect, and trust drive us to fight tirelessly on your behalf, ensuring that you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. When you choose Allen & Allen, you gain a partner who will stand by your side every step of the way. Let us make your fight our fight – that’s the Allen & Allen promise. Call our Virginia lawyers at 866-772-1384 or schedule a consultation online.

About the Author: Since joining Allen & Allen in 1991, Virginia personal injury lawyer Chris Guedri has focused his practice on complex traumatic brain injury cases, car accidents, trucking accidents, and product liability cases . He has handled cases in across the state of Virginia and nationwide. Chris Guedri is AV Peer Rated by Martindale Hubbell and is listed in Best Lawyers in America.