After a car accident, it is natural to have an adrenaline rush that makes it hard to think clearly. It’s a very stressful situation that can make us drop our guard when we really need to keep our cool. If you are involved in a collision, it is very important to take appropriate steps to make sure everyone is safe, to follow the law, and to give yourself the best chance of a fair injury settlement. Being familiar with what to do after a car accident before you get in an accident gives you the best chance of taking the right steps.
What to Do After a Car Accident?
If you are involved in a car accident, take these steps to help protect yourself:
- Check for injuries. If you are seriously injured, try not to move and wait for help. If you are well enough to move, check on your passengers and the people in the other vehicle.
2. Move off the road. If you can still drive your car and it is blocking traffic, it’s best to pull over onto the side of the road. Once parked, turn off your engine and turn on your hazard lights.
3. Call the police/911 and wait at the scene for help. This is important, even for a minor car accident. Once officers arrive, take down their names and badge numbers for future reference.
4. Exchange insurance, driver’s license, and contact information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Do not admit fault (even partial fault) to the other driver.
If the other driver flees the scene, immediately write down anything you can about them, including the make, model, and color of their vehicle. A license plate number is ideal but even a partial number can be helpful.
- Ask any witnesses if they saw the license plate number or any other details about the driver or vehicle they were driving.
- If there are any local stores or businesses, ask if their security cameras may have captured the accident.
5. Write down the contact information for any witnesses.
6. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and any tire marks or debris from the scene as well as pictures of the other vehicle and its license plate.
7. Seek medical treatment for your injuries. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, it is important to be evaluated by a doctor after being involved in a car accident. This shows that you took any potential injuries seriously. Also, a medical evaluation is important for proving that you deserve compensation for any injuries that are caused by the accident.
8. Report the accident to YOUR insurance company. You should also expect a call from the at-fault driver’s insurance company soon after the accident but never admit fault to them or accept a car accident settlement without understanding the value of your claim.
9. If your accident took place in Washington State and there was $1,000 or more of damage to any vehicle and/or any person involved suffered injuries, you are required to report your accident within four days through a Motor Vehicle Collision Report.
10. Seek the help of a car accident lawyer. Even in an accident where the at-fault driver stays to exchange information, it can be difficult to prove fault and get the full settlement that you deserve. If you agree to work with a car accident lawyer, they will calculate the true value of your claim, walk you through the claims process, and negotiate the maximum possible settlement on your behalf.
Contact a car accident lawyer today!
A car accident lawyer can help you recover a full and fair settlement for the injuries you sustained in a car accident with no up-front costs to you. We know the sneaky strategies used by insurance companies to get injured people to agree to settlements far below what they are worth. Our clients typically end up with a settlement or jury award that is five to ten times larger than they could have negotiated on their own. We have been representing people injured in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. Contact the experienced and hard-working personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Mount Vernon, WA today for a FREE consultation!