When the shock of an accident wears off, it won’t be long before you start thinking about how you are going to recover from the financial impact of the collision. To successfully recover the full damages you deserve, there are several essential pieces of evidence you and your Virginia attorney will need, such as the police report.
Why You Need a Police Report and How to Request It After a Virginia Crash
After checking everyone’s physical condition, the next step following any vehicle collision is to contact VA law enforcement. Police can assist by getting emergency services on the scene if anyone is seriously injured, and then direct traffic to avoid secondary crashes.
Those aren’t the only reasons to call 911 after a wreck, however. It’s important for an officer to document that the crash occurred. After law enforcement leaves the scene, the attending officer files a crash report that is stored by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
You are very likely to need that report at some point in the process of recovering damages. That’s particularly true if the at-fault driver doesn’t tell the truth to an insurance adjuster and tries to pin fault for the accident squarely on you.
An accident report with an officer’s findings can be requested either through the mail, or you can go in person to one of the DMV service centers in the Richmond area. Either route requires paying a small fee. The accident report request form is available for download, along with all the relevant address and fee amount info, through the DMV website.
In some cases, there may be errors in the accident report, which can cause you headaches while pursuing compensation. If anything is factually incorrect in the report, you can:
- Ask that the officer who responded to the scene make the appropriate changes. This is most likely to be a viable route if the inaccuracy is something simple that can be verified, like the date of the accident or your age.
- Write a new report with the correct information and request that law enforcement attach it to the original accident report.
You Need More Than Just the Virginia Police Report for a Successful Financial Recovery
Although it can be important, the car accident report isn’t the only evidence you need. There are still other pivotal details that help your attorney effectively fight for your legal rights. With an experienced lawyer’s help, you may also need to gather:
- Accident scene photos showing damage to the vehicles and your injuries sustained in the wreck.
- Employment records such as pay stubs or other documents that highlight how much income you lost after the accident, as well as any other perks you may have missed out on, such as paid time off or an expected yearly bonus.
- Eyewitness testimony from bystanders who can describe what occurred in your car accident.
- Medical records clearly showing when the injury occurred and documenting how it has negatively impacted your life.
- Other documents relevant to your case. For instance, you might need driver logs or black box data if you are hit by a commercial cargo truck. If you were struck by someone operating a company vehicle while they were working, you may also need employment documents from the at-fault driver.
- Video footage from nearby surveillance cameras or vehicle dash cams.
Gathering evidence is an important part of how an attorney helps car accident victims, but it isn’t the end of the story. A car accident lawyer is also essential to placing a fair value on your damages by ensuring every single way the accident has interfered with your life is taken into account.
From there, your legal counsel can guide you through the process of seeking compensation from an insurance provider, or filing a personal injury lawsuit within Virginia’s strict statute of limitations.