What Should I Do If I am Involved in an Orange County Car Accident?

Our roadways are busy places these days and becoming more and more congested all the time. Unfortunately, this reality means a corresponding increase in car accidents. Be certain you and your loved ones know what to do, and maybe just as importantly know what not to do, if you are in a vehicle crash.

Stop and Attend to the Immediate Concerns

No matter how minor an accident may seem, you must stop and ascertain the damages. Of course, physical injury to any person is of paramount concern; if immediate medical attention is required, make sure there are no delays in calling for help. If safe to do so, carefully drive the vehicles involved off the road, or set up flares if that is not possible.

Contact the Police

Depending on the severity of the accident and where it occurred, the police may or may not respond. A police report can be useful in supporting your version of the accident and establishing potential liability.

Exchange Pertinent Information with the Other Driver

California law requires each driver to maintain insurance, up-to-date vehicle registration, and a valid driver’s license; this information must be provided to the other driver if you are involved in a car accident. Additionally, it’s prudent to obtain contact information from others at the scene, such as passengers, pedestrians or any other witnesses.

Create a Record

Even if the police respond and are taking information from the various parties, it’s always a good idea to make your own record of the events, especially while things are fresh in your mind. Time, the sequence of events, pictures, distances and anything else you can remember may be helpful. However, be as factual as you can, and avoid speculation.

Report the Accident to Your Insurer

You may be tempted to avoid filing a claim with your insurance company, especially if the other driver acknowledges fault and offers to make a private settlement. Be cautious. The terms of some policies limit the time within which you must report a loss without risking denial of benefits. Also, realize that a not-at-fault accident should have no impact on your rates.

Protect Your Rights

You best protect yourself by adhering to a driver’s legal requirements following a car accident, not speaking about the accident to anyone other than the police and by not admitting fault to anyone. Consider a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you recover all that you are legally entitled to.

Virginia Traffic Laws and Why You Might Need an Attorney

Traffic law can vary quite a bit from state to state, especially when it comes to the harshness of penalties. Understanding the exact nature of these penalties and when they apply can mean the difference between a few days and a few years in jail. To that end, here are some facts about Virginia’s traffic laws.

How strict are Virginia’s DUI laws?

Virginia has a more specific set of penalties than most states, attaching separate punishments to first, second, third, and subsequent convictions, then additional penalties based on how many convictions you’ve had in the last ten or five years. Receiving three convictions within ten years can result in more than half a year in prison and permanent forfeiture of your vehicle.
Additionally, if you had a particularly high BAC, then further jail time may be added. Between .15% and .20% carries an additional five or ten days in jail, depending on whether it was your first or second offense in the last ten years. Over .20%, those penalties double. Though these particular penalties aren’t very large in the context of a third or fourth offense, they could result in doubling or even tripling your potential jail time if it’s your first or second conviction.

What is the penalty for running a red light in Virginia?

Running a red light or stop sign in Virginia can mean as little as a small fine or as much as the suspension of your license. Ignoring a red light will cost you up to $350, whereas failing to stop at a stop sign is only $250.

However, each also carries the additional penalty of demerit points on your license. The accumulation of too many will result in the loss of your license, so if you’re already near that point, failing to heed a simple traffic signal may cost you your license.

Should you hire a traffic attorney?

If you have been charged with a traffic violation, then you should consult a traffic attorney in Chesterfield Virginia at the very least. They will be able to look at the specifics of your case and help you decide if hiring an attorney is the right solution. In some cases, an attorney could save you from the majority of the maximum penalties allowable for the specified offenses. Even if the help of an attorney may only result in limited savings on the financial side, shaving any amount of time off of a prison sentence can be invaluable.