Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Damaged vehicles after collision on city street crash site at night - after a car accident concept

Being the victim of a car accident can be a scary and overwhelming experience. If you are wondering what to do after a car accident, there are several steps to take to ensure your legal rights are protected. By doing the following, you can help ensure you preserve your right to file a personal injury action — and obtain the monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries:

1. Call the Police

Immediately after a car accident, contact law enforcement. A police accident report can be a crucial piece of documentation. Although the report itself cannot be used as evidence in court, it will contain information that can be used to build your claim and negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.

2. Seek Medical Attention Immediately After a Car Accident If Injured

If you fail to seek medical help promptly, the at-fault driver may try to argue that you are not as injured as you purport to be, or your injuries are not related to the accident.

3. Take Photos and Video at the Scene of the Crash

If possible, take photos or video of the scene of the accident, any property damage, the road conditions, and your injuries with your phone. Photographic evidence can be very helpful to your personal injury claim. They can be used to establish what factors contributed to the accident, the extent of the damages you suffered — and the other driver’s fault.

4. Collect Contact Information for Witnesses

Witness testimony can be critical in a personal injury case. If you are able to do so, obtain the names, phone numbers, and contact information for any witnesses who saw the crash as it occurred. They can help to corroborate your version of events and provide useful details about the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident.

5. Contact Your Insurance Company As Soon As Possible After a Car Accident

In every driver’s insurance policy, there is a clause that requires them to contact the insurance company after a collision — even if they were not at fault. Once you are represented by an attorney for your car accident, all communications must go through them and the insurance company can no longer speak with you directly.

6. Do Not Make Statements About the Accident to Anyone

You should not make statements about the accident to anyone or say anything that could be misconstrued as admitting fault. This includes making statements to the other driver, the insurance company, or even on social media. Such statements can be damaging to your case and prevent you from recovering the full amount of compensation to which you’re entitled.

7. Do Not Accept Any Settlements without Consulting with an Attorney

Shortly after an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may contact you and offer you a settlement. You should never accept a settlement without first consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. The first settlement offer made is usually a lowball offer — your case should not be settled until the full extent of your injuries are known. An attorney will likely be able to negotiate a higher settlement with the insurance company and advise you regarding whether the settlement you have been offered is fair.

8. Continue Your Medical Treatment

It is not just the initial medical treatment rendered that is important to a personal injury claim. One of the most important things to do after a car crash is to continue the course of medical treatment your doctor recommended. Medical documentation is one of the most important pieces of evidence in a car accident lawsuit.

9. Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations

If you are contemplating what to do after a car accident, do not delay in contacting an attorney. There are specific statutes of limitations that come into play in Washington car accident cases that can bar your right to recovery if you do not file a claim within a certain amount of time. Generally, the timeframe to file a car accident lawsuit is three years — but there can be some exceptions to this rule based on the facts of your case.

Contact an Experienced Washington Personal Injury Attorney

If you are wondering what to do after a car accident, a personal injury attorney can best advise you. The Bellingham personal injury attorneys at Robinson & Kole provide dedicated counsel to car accident victims throughout Washington State and work to secure the maximum compensation available under the law in each case. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 800.640.5616 or by using our online contact form. Se habla Español.

Categories: Auto Accidents