Thankfully, most car accidents in Virginia are minor and don’t lead to any major physical injuries or property damage. However, as things are not always what they appear to be, it is best to be cautious and follow a certain protocol after an accident. It’s important to note that the term ‘car accident” is somewhat misleading. An accident implies an incident where no one is to blame, yet the vast majority of crashes are caused by the carelessness of one of the drivers involved.

In many cases, symptoms of physical injuries take hours, days or longer to show. These are referred to as latent injuries, and even low-impact collisions at relatively minor speeds can cause surprisingly serious injuries. Similarly, a seemingly small dent on a bumper may result in extensive rear-end damage. Consequently, insurance analysts suggest taking the following steps.

First and foremost, seek medical assistance for any obvious injuries. If possible, move the vehicles and any other obstructions from the roadway. Once everyone is safe, exchange legally required information with the other driver, but make no other statements. Take pictures, write down notes, get the names and contact information of any witnesses and otherwise memorialize the events as accurately as possible.

If police respond, be cooperative, but admit no fault. The case will more than likely become an insurance claim, and issues of liability and the full extent of damages suffered may become contested matters. Errant comments can potentially cloud the issues. It may be necessary to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to fully recover for all of the damages sustained.