Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.
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I've Been in an Accident, Now What?

Stress, anxiety, frustration, confusion, fear, pain and injury are all emotions which can play havoc on an individual following a motor vehicle accident. Few individuals have the training and experience to know precisely how best to react, what decisions to make, and what steps to take in the midst of the shock of a collision, damage to their vehicle and an injury sustained as a result of a crash. To understand what steps to take immediately following a collision while at the accident scene and in the days and weeks after the incident, preparation, understanding and patience are keys to getting through this difficult, often frustrating and stressful situation.

Always be Prepared

In your vehicle, check to ensure that you keep the following in your glove compartment: (1) Vehicle registration (2) Insurance information (3) Small notepad (4) Pen (5) Disposable Camera. With today's technology, a mobile camera phone can substitute for paper, pen and a camera. These items will serve you well should you ever be involved in an accident.

At the Accident Scene, 1, 2, 3....

First, assess whether you or anyone else involved in the incident requires medical attention. Call 911 immediately if any one requires medical attention. Your health and safety and the safety of others involved in the accident is paramount. Second, assess your surroundings and the damage to your vehicle. When possible, move vehicles to the side of the road, otherwise, remain in your vehicle until rescue and emergency personnel arrive on scene. Third, exchange information with others involved in the accident and when possible, document the incident. At this time, your prior preparation will be key: provide your vehicle registration and insurance information to the appropriate person and (2) record any information provided to you and photograph the scene and the vehicles.

Your 4 Ring Circus

In the aftermath of an accident, you will feel as if you have entered into your own personal 4 ring circus. Ring #1 - you - once again, your health and safety are paramount. Seek out medical attention when necessary and obtain any treatment needed to address your pain, discomfort or injury. Solicit the aid of friends and family to assist with the aspects of the situation until you are able to do so. Ring #2 - your car - damage to your property will be one of the first issues to contend with following an accident. Your vehicle may require assessment and repair. Your vehicle may have sustained damage beyond repair. Ring #3 - traffic court - as a result of the accident, the investigating officer may have issued a traffic citation assigning fault for the accident. A court date within 30-60 days of the accident may be looming near. Ring #4 - insurance - following an accident, there will be a need to notify your own insurance carrier and the insurance carrier for the other driver in the accident. Insurance companies often internally divide up the responsibility for property damage and injury matters amongst different adjuster. As a result, you will potentially receive phone calls from a multitude of representatives from your insurance and from any other insurance company involved.

Now What?

Consultation with an attorney allows you to become the ringmaster of the circus which your accident has caused. Whether you were involved in a minor or serious accident, it is prudent to obtain advice and information from an experience attorney to help you understand your rights, your responsibilities and your choices of action.Consultation with an attorney will shed light on the interaction of your health insurance, auto insurance, medical payments coverage (MedPay), and personal injury protection coverage (PIP). Further, you will equip yourself with knowledge of when and whether to speak with any insurance company and what steps your must take to preserve your claim. Even if hiring an attorney is not necessary for your situation, obtaining legal advice about important decisions, deadlines which apply to your claim and understanding what you can and cannot do is invaluable.

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Fairfax Office
10505 Judicial Drive, Suite 203
Fairfax, Virginia 22030

Toll Free: 1-800-823-1127
Phone: 703-359-7111
Fax: 703-543-5478
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Manassas Office
9300 W. Courthouse Rd., Suite 204
Manassas, Virginia 20110

Toll Free: 1-800-823-1127
Phone: 703-359-7111
Fax: 703-543-5478
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