Considering the number of cars on the streets these days, car accidents are a common occurrence. Seattle gets a high number of car crashes in particular because it’s a very congested place. Having a car accident lawyer in Seattle on call is a common occurrence, at this point.
A total of 5,250,837 accidents occurred in the U.S. in 2020, many of them resulting in property damage, injury, or even death. If you are one of the people lucky enough to escape with just some injuries, here are a couple of steps that you may want to go through.
Stay in Place
After an accident, the last thing you may want to do is drive away, regardless of how minor it was. Even if you think there was no damage done, you can’t know for sure unless you take a closer look at the scene.
You’ll be fined heavily if the accident was your fault, and you may lose rights if it wasn’t. Simply stop and go on to the next step.
Assess the Situation
Not that you’ve stopped, take a quick look around you. Are you or anyone else in the car injured? If so, then you should call 911 right away so that they may send an ambulance. Refrain from moving an injured person unless necessary, as this can worsen their situation.
If no one was injured and the car was not too damaged, try moving it to a safe spot away from traffic. Stay in the car with the seatbelt on if the car is not movable.
Call the Police
The next thing that you need to do after checking for injuries is to call the police. This should be done even if the accident seems minor. They will need to document the accident and file a report, which you can use for insurance purposes later.
This report will also be necessary in case there is a need for a fault-determining legal dispute. Once the police arrive, truthfully give them the information that they need, but don’t admit you are to blame.
Collect Important Information
After you’ve talked to the police, it is time to gather all the important information. Write down the name, license number, and contact information of the drivers involved. If there were any witnesses to the accident, you may want to obtain their information as well.
Write down the make and number of the other car, along with their insurance information. Obtaining these details may be useful for you if they decide not to report the accident to their insurance company.
Avoid Interacting or Negotiating with the Other Driver
Many victims in driving accidents do not receive the justice that they deserve simply because they tried talking to the other driver. For instance, they may have been talked into not calling the police, because they would “pay for the broken taillight.”
This can come back to haunt you, because the damage may be hidden. Alternatively, interacting with the other driver may also lead to conflict, which is why you should wait in your car (if possible) until the police arrive.
Record Details from the Scene
After the accident, there is a good chance there will be a legal dispute over who caused it. Memories may fade over time, so if you are up in a longer dispute, you may no longer recall everything. This is why you need to take pictures of everything, from the damage to your car, its position before you move it, skid marks, road debris, and so on.
Make notes about the weather and any other important details. Professionals at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC recommend you install a dash camera, as it can serve as proof during a dispute.
Seek Medical Attention
After an accident, you may have assessed the situation only to determine that you are feeling alright. For this reason, you do not request an ambulance. However, adrenaline often kicks in after a crash, hiding all of your symptoms.
For instance, whiplash can occur hours after an accident and may lead to some nasty side effects. This is why you should go get yourself checked, even if you are feeling fine. Otherwise, you may end up having to pay the medical bill yourself later.
Keep a Record of Your Expenses
A car crash can lead to a lot of expenses, which is why you need to keep a record of them. This includes anything from medical bills to car repair expenses, rental costs, and other expenses that resulted from the accident.
You need to keep the bills and receipts neatly organized in a file, as this can help you when you file an insurance claim. You should also keep track of lost wages if the accident causes you to miss work.
Contact Your Attorney
Very often, an accident can be resolved with a police report and a trip to the insurance company. However, if the crash was bad or there is a potential for a dispute, then you should make sure to contact a lawyer. They can help guide you through the process.
A good tip would be to choose an attorney from your area that specializes in car accidents. They should have more experience in handling cases like yours so that you may get justice.
Keep Your Social Media Activity Low
One step that many people overlook after a car accident is to keep their social media activity low. Nowadays, it is easy to post everything on Facebook or Instagram, but you should be careful about what you say online.
If you talk about your accidents or injuries, lawyers or insurance companies may use them against you. You should also avoid posting content that shows you engaging in physical activities when you are supposed to be “suffering and recovering from your injuries.”
The Bottom Line
Car accidents can be overwhelming, depending on their severity. It’s important to keep your calm during these situations and follow the required steps. By doing so, you can go through the aftermath with peace of mind and confidence.