Car accidents are unpredictable, chaotic events that can leave you disoriented and anxious. If you’re involved in a collision in Seattle, knowing the right steps to take afterward can ensure your safety and protect your legal rights.
At the Bernard Law Group, we believe being prepared can make a significant difference in the aftermath of an accident. Use the information here to know what steps to take. We recommend contacting our experienced Seattle car accident attorneys to discuss your claim.
Assess Immediate Safety and Injuries
Immediately after the accident, your priority is your safety and the safety of others involved in the accident. Do the following if possible:
Step 1: Check for Injuries
First and foremost, assess yourself and others for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately. Medical help should be your top priority.
Step 2: Move to a Safe Area
If it’s possible and your vehicle is causing a hazard, move it to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights and set up cones or flares if you have them.
Notify Relevant Parties
At this point, you should begin notifying those who need to be informed of what happened. If you cannot do this, ask someone nearby to do it for you. This includes:
Step 3: Call the Police
Even if the accident seems minor, you should always call the police. A police report can be crucial for insurance claims and potential legal action later on.
Step 4: Notify Insurance
Contact your insurance company to report the accident as soon as feasible. The earlier you do this, the sooner they can start processing your claim.
If you plan to file a car accident claim against the other party, you must have evidence. Evidence needed that you can collect while you are at the scene includes:
Step 5: Photos and Videos
Use your smartphone to take photos and videos of the scene, the vehicles involved, any visible injuries, and road conditions. These can be crucial pieces of evidence.
Step 6: Collect Witness Information
Speak to any bystanders who may have witnessed the accident. Take down their contact information for future reference.
Document the Incident
While gathering evidence at the scene, it is also important to remember as much as you can about what happened. This may be while you are at the hospital or when you get home. The goal is to do it as soon as possible after your accident.
Step 7: Make a Record of Events
While the incident is fresh in your mind, jot down a record of events leading up to the crash. Details can become fuzzy over time, so this can be a vital resource later on.
Step 8: Obtain the Police Report
Once the police have concluded their report, obtain a copy. This will provide an official account of the incident, which can be helpful in both insurance claims and any legal matters that may arise.
Seek Medical Attention
The importance of medical attention immediately after a Seattle car accident cannot be overstated. You need to ensure that you have a link between your injuries and the car accident. This will help you recover the full compensation you deserve.
Step 9: Go for a Medical Check-Up
Even if you feel fine, some injuries manifest symptoms later. Go for a medical check-up to rule out unseen injuries, and keep all medical records and bills, as these can be important in a legal case.
Consult an Injury Lawyer
The legal process of filing a car accident claim in Seattle can be daunting. If you are trying to recover from injuries, it is likely more than you can handle alone. At this point, working with an car accident attorney near you is recommended.
Step 10: Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be complex. An experienced car accident attorney can guide you through the legal maze, helping you understand your rights and options.
Once you have taken the steps above, your work is not done. Sometimes, things can stall or get held up in court. Be sure to follow through with your insurance company, doctor, and lawyer.
Step 11: Stay in Touch with Your Insurance
Keep an open line of communication with your insurance company and provide any additional documentation or information they may request.
Step 12: Keep Records
Create a file to keep all accident-related documents, such as medical bills, repair invoices, and communication records. This will help streamline the legal and insurance processes.
Taking the Right Steps After a Seattle Car Accident
Taking the right steps after a car accident can seem overwhelming, but it’s crucial for your well-being and potential legal proceedings. Always prioritize safety, gather ample evidence, consult professionals, and keep thorough records. By being well-prepared and informed, you can make a challenging situation more manageable.
If you’ve been involved in a Seattle car accident and are unsure how to proceed, contact the Bernard Law Group for professional guidance. We are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of car accident claims and support you every step of the way.