When you’re commuting to work, driving your children to and from school, and traveling with friends, the last thing on your mind is getting into an accident. While you’re likely a safe driver, not everyone on the road exhibits caution behind the wheel.

A negligent driver can change your life. While the damage to your vehicle alone can cause hardship, the physical and emotional injuries can permeate all areas of your life and leave you with lasting scars.

Getting into a car accident can be devastating. But you have options and rights. If you have been injured in a collision, a Roanoke car accident lawyer at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, can help.

Our firm has assisted injured individuals and their family members in southwest Virginia for more than 50 years. For a free, no-risk consultation, contact us at (540) 655-1854 or reach out through our online form.

What To Do After a Car Accident

Immediately after a car accident, you must get yourself to safety. You also want to be cleared medically. But once you’re safe and stable, you must start protecting your car accident claim.

Virginia is a fault state for car accidents and insurance. This means that you will likely be filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. You may be able to file a claim with your insurer as well. But this is only if you purchased personal injury protection coverage on your auto insurance policy.

Whether you’re dealing with your insurer or the at-fault party’s you need to be prepared. There are certain types of information you can gather to start supporting your case:

  • Photos of your car
  • Pictures of other involved cars
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Photos of the scene
  • Photos of any other damaged property
  • Video footage of the scene
  • The other party’s insurance information

Additionally, make sure to call the police and file an accident report. This may not be available right away, but it can support your case later.

These details could make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Your car accident lawyer will then be responsible for gathering more complicated types of evidence to obtain, such as:

  • Safety inspection reports
  • Chemical test results
  • Lab analysis
  • Experts to testify on your behalf
  • Witness statements

Your lawyer has the burden of proof. We must prove based on a preponderance of the evidence that the accused party is at fault. The more evidence we must show this, the more likely your chances are winning in court.

Common Causes of Car Accidents in Roanoke

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle accidents occur for many reasons, including:

Distracted Driving

If you mess around with radio controls, eat a snack while attempting to turn, or respond to a text message when you’re supposed to be paying attention to the road, you’re engaging in distracted driving. Per NHTSA statistics, distracted driving causes 3,450 fatalities in 2016. While this was a 2.2 percent decrease from the year before, it is still a behavior you should avoid and look out for on the road.

Aggressive Driving

No one likes being cut off in traffic, but closely following a car that merged into a lane in front of you and yelling insults at them is no way to handle the situation. Not only does it take your undivided attention off the road, but it could distract other drivers and lead to a devastating accident.

Reckless Driving

A car accident lawyer at our firm will tell you that reckless driving is a major cause of car accidents in the Roanoke area. This type of behavior while behind the wheel includes:

  • Speeding over 20 miles per hour above the posted limit or 80 miles per hour and above
  • Driving after drinking
  • Quickly weaving between lanes
  • Tailgating another vehicle
  • Slamming on your brakes
  • Driving too fast for the weather conditions

When you engage in reckless driving, you put everyone on the road at risk for great harm. If you were injured in an accident caused by a reckless driver, call a car crash attorney at our firm right away.

Drunk Driving

In 2016, there were a total of 7,285 alcohol-related crashes on Virginia roads, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles Virginia Highway Safety Office. From these accidents, 248 people were killed. When you consume alcohol and have a registered blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, you are legally drunk and it is unlawful to drive. Alcohol affects your vision, can cause you to have slower reaction time to other vehicles around you, and more, so if you’ve had a few drinks, the safest way to avoid a drunk driving accident is to not get behind the wheel at all.

Poor Car Maintenance

While driver error accounts for the majority of car accidents in Roanoke, drivers who don’t properly maintain their vehicles add to the number of accidents that occur on our roads. Examples of how improper car upkeep could cause an accident include:

  • A crack in a windshield obstructing your ability to see the road clearly
  • Old wipers not fully cleaning off your windshield, further obstructing your ability to see clearly
  • Worn-out brakes and pads could lead to an inability to stop your car, therefore causing an accident

If you were in a wreck caused by a distracted, aggressive, reckless, or drunk driver, or if you were harmed in a collision triggered by poorly-maintained vehicle, contact a car accident lawyer from our firm today. We can help explain your legal options, such as pursing compensation through a car accident claim and settlement.

Car Accident Injuries

The car wreck attorneys at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico have spent decades helping injured clients rebuild their lives after serious car accidents. All collisions involve unique factors, and we understand the medical and financial challenges you may be up against. An attorney will be actively involved in all aspects of your case. It will not merely be handed off to a paralegal to manage.

While there is no way to erase the accident that caused your pain and suffering, we can help you work toward restoring the quality of your life through compensation obtained from the party responsible for your injuries. We have assisted clients who, as a result of a motor vehicle accident, suffered:

  • Head injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Spine injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Wrongful death

Many of these types of injuries were caused by drunk drivers, distracted and drowsy drivers, reckless drivers, drivers who were speeding, and motorists committing other traffic violations. It is our goal to hold those parties accountable for your injuries.

A car accident lawyer at our firm will collect records and medical bills and consult with witnesses, medical specialists, psychologists, and other professionals to create a strong case for you. Through negotiations with insurance carriers or litigation, we will strive to obtain the best results for you.

Call a Car Accident Lawyer at Our Firm Today

If you find yourself suffering after a car accident, call the attorneys at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico. The insurance claims process and potential personal injury case that follows a car wreck can be difficult to navigate. Don’t attempt to go through this process alone. Reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer today for help.

Contact us today at (540) 655-1854 to schedule your initial case evaluation.