How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident?
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It is best to report a car accident as soon as possible. Under certain circumstances, Virginia requires that you file a police report within 24 hours of the accident.
How long you wait to report your accident can affect your ability to pursue compensation. You will want to report the auto accident to both the local police and your insurance provider.
Reporting an Auto Accident to the Police
The state of Virginia requires that you report a car accident to the police if any of the following situations are present:
- A person was injured or killed
- A vehicle was damaged
If medical injuries prevent you from reporting, you are then expected to report the accident as soon as possible.
Reporting an Accident to the Insurance Company
This specific timeline depends on the insurance provider. However, most providers require that you report the accident as soon as is reasonably possible.
Many insurance providers have 24-hour hotlines so you can report an accident immediately. This is especially important if you plan on filing a claim with your insurance provider. It can also be helpful to go over your insurance policy to check for any claim limitations.
Important Steps to Follow After an Auto Accident
Auto accidents are often very hectic. It can be difficult to remember the appropriate steps to take following an auto accident. The steps you take, however, can affect your ability to seek compensation. The following steps are important immediately following an auto accident:
Prioritize the safety of everyone involved. Get yourself and others to safety before anything else. Sometimes, this requires pulling off the road to a safe area where you can get out of your car. Do not attempt to move or reposition anyone who suffered injuries, as this could lead to further harm.
Call for Help
Call 911. The responding officers will file a police report and send for medical help. Police reports can provide valuable pieces of evidence for determining fault and liability. Even if you think an accident does not warrant calling police to the scene, having documentation of the facts can help if the other driver pursues a claim or lawsuit against you later on.
Receive Medical Help
It is important to focus on your health first. If you do not receive medical assistance at the scene, be sure to visit your health provider for a follow-up. If you fail to get medical attention or delay treatment, you could not only delay the healing process but also give insurers a chance to undervalue or deny your claim. They may argue that by forgoing treatment, you worsened your injuries.
Additionally, some severe injuries do not display symptoms immediately, such as whiplash. In some cases, a seemingly minor injury could develop into a long-term medical condition. You want to make sure you know the extent of your injuries, so you seek fair compensation for future medical bills.
Plan for Vehicle Maintenance
If your vehicle is not drivable, you will have to make arrangements to have it moved to an auto shop. Be sure to have a full inspection completed. Seeking compensation for damages later on without an inspection report can be very difficult, if not impossible.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases
Statute of limitations is a state-set limit on the time limit you have to file a lawsuit. In most auto accident cases, we begin by seeking a settlement from the insurance providers. There are some cases, however, that require taking legal action. Following an auto accident case, the statutes of limitation in Virginia are:
- To seek compensation for injuries caused by the accident, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, according to Code § 8.01-243.
- To cover damages to your vehicle, you have five years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
- For compensation from an auto accident that led to the wrongful death of a loved one, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the death date, according to Code § 8.01-244.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Assist You
You deserve to rest and recuperate after a car accident. Let us handle your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. We can help you by:
Providing a Free Consultation
The attorneys at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC are ready to evaluate the details of your auto accident case. We offer a free consultation that will allow us to get to know you and your case better. You can also learn more about our attorneys and services during this consultation.
Establishing fault is an important part of auto accident cases. If you are at fault for the car accident, the law may limit your claim. We will assist you in proving liability by collecting the necessary documents, calling on witnesses, and collecting the appropriate evidence in your personal injury case.
Negotiating with Insurance Providers
Sometimes insurance claims are straightforward. Other times, they are complex, and the offered settlement amount does not cover the costs incurred from the auto accident. In some cases, the insurance company refuses to pay compensation at all. We will fight back and do all that we can to get you the compensation that you deserve.
We will gather all of the necessary documentation and witness statements needed for your car accident claim. Whether we are negotiating with your insurance provider or the other parties’ provider, we are willing to take your case to court if a settlement amount is not deemed appropriate.
Work with Us
If you or a loved one was recently injured in an auto accident case, remember that how long you wait to report a car accident can affect your claim. Call the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC at (571) 229-1800 today to determine your legal options.