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How Long Do You Have to Report an Accident?

Deadlines only make the aftermath of your car accident more stressful. If you ever want to file an insurance claim or take your losses to court, though, you’ll need to keep legal deadlines in mind. A Virginia car accident attorney can help you manage these responsibilities.

An attorney will contact the appropriate parties on your behalf while you recover. That said, you’ll still want to know what kind of timeline you’re working on so that you can plan your post-accident actions accordingly. Generally, you only have a day to report your accident.

When Should I Report an Accident to Law Enforcement?

Reacting to a car accident can be difficult. If you’re injured, or a loved one faces serious injury, you’ll need to tend to your health as soon as possible. At the same time, though, you need to let law enforcement know that your accident occurred. If you don’t call police officers to the scene of your accident, law enforcement won’t have a record of your losses.

You have 24 hours from the time your accident occurs to report your losses. Police officers who show up at the scene of your accident can start a record for you.

How Can I Report a Car Accident to Virginia Law Enforcement?

There are two different ways to report a car accident in Virginia. If police officers arrive at the scene of your accident, your work is done. Representatives may not catalog your individual losses, but they’ll begin a police report detailing any implications of fault and the names of the parties involved in the collision.

If police officers don’t show up at the scene of your accident, you’ll need to report your losses through the Virginia DMV. Alternatively, you can contact local law enforcement and detail the nature of your accident.

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What Happens if I Don’t Report an Accident to Law Enforcement Within 24 Hours?

You will not face legal consequences if you fail to report a car accident to police officers within 24 hours. If your insurance learns that you failed to report your accident, however, they may try to claim that your losses resulted from some other manner of misconduct.

In short, your insurance agency may try to deny you coverage if you’re not able to report your claim to law enforcement in a timely manner. If you’re concerned about the extent of your losses, make sure you contact the appropriate officials and get your accident on public record.

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When Should I File an Insurance Claim?

You have thirty days after your accident occurs to file a claim with your insurance provider. If you file a claim outside of this deadline, your provider may attempt to claim that your losses resulted from another incident.

If you’re having trouble getting your insurer to accept your claim, call on a car accident attorney. Some insurance providers are reluctant to give you the financial support you need after a severe car accident. We can move the process along, though, and give you the means you need to fight for coverage.

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When Should I File a Civil Complaint?

If you feel the settlement you received from your insurance won’t attend to your losses, you can choose to pursue a civil suit. Car accident civil suits can be complicated in Virginia due to the state’s pure contributory negligence law, Code of Virginia § 8.01-58. This statute notes that you must not have contributed any fault to your accident if you want to request legal compensation.

If you can prove that you contributed no fault to your accident, you can continue with your suit. You’ll have two years from the day your accident occurs to file a car accident suit with the civil courts in your area. A county clerk will then consider your case and pass it along to a judge, as applicable.

If you’re not sure as to whether or not you can make your two-year deadline, turn to an attorney for guidance. Our team can gather evidence, contacting witnesses, and building up the documents needed to file your claim.

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Should I Pursue Compensation for My Car Accident?

You can choose to pursue compensation for your car accident losses at any point within the two years allotted to you by the state of Virginia. Determining whether or not the effort is worth it, though, is a matter of opinion. For example, cases involving underinsured or uninsured drivers may not be financially lucrative, especially not if you’re looking for economic support.

You can hold both private companies and individual people liable for your car accident losses. Related cases can take several years to conclude, but they can also leave you with compensation to cover all your accident-related losses.

Some cases may even be more lucrative than you expect. If a judge believes that the person liable for your losses engaged in severe negligence or dangerously reckless behavior, you may receive punitive damages on top of your losses. You cannot request these damages ahead of time, but they can add significant economic value to your overall settlement.

When Can I Meet With a Car Accident Lawyer?

You don’t always have to pursue a civil suit if you want compensation for a car accident. Car accidents involving underinsured or uninsured drivers may not result in much of a net profit, for example. However, you can still speak with an attorney to determine whether or not pursuing a case is in your best interest.

Your initial case consultation will give you a better idea as to how much compensation you can request in light of your accident.

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