After a car accident, many people don't know what to do or where to turn for help. Below is a basic guide, including simple steps you can take to protect your rights after an accident.
At Cogdill Nichols Rein Wartelle Andrews, our Everett, Washington, law office represents clients who have been injured in car accidents. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call 425-259-6111.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene before first responders arrive means you do not get your end of the story into the official record of the accident. You could also potentially face criminal charges for "hit-and-run."
- Make sure all parties involved in the accident are OK. If serious injuries exist, call 911 immediately.
- Do not apologize. It can be hard to resist saying you are sorry after being involved in an accident, but it is in your best interests to refrain from apologizing. Admitting fault in any way could expose you to legal liability.
- Call the police. If there is significant property damage or physical injury, file a police report.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Be sure to get the other driver's name, phone number, address, license plate number and insurance information.
- Speak to witnesses. If anyone witnessed the accident, approach them and ask them what they saw. Get their names and telephone numbers. This information will be helpful later if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Take photos. Taking pictures of the scene of the accident and the damage to your car will be helpful when negotiating with insurance companies and during a potential personal injury lawsuit.
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident.
- Seek medical treatment. If you were injured in the accident, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately. Keep track of your doctor visits, the treatments you receive and any medications you take as a result of the accident.
- Keep note of your pain and suffering. While medical bills are easy to prove, pain and suffering are not. Use a journal to track how your injuries are impacting your life, your ability to work and your ability to perform the activities you once enjoyed.
- Have your car assessed to determine the damage. Having a clear valuation of the damage done to your car will help you down the road.
- Be leery about speaking to your or the other driver's insurance company. Insurance companies will try to settle your claim as cheaply as possible and claims adjusters will keep careful track of everything you say to them.
- Consult an attorney. You only have one chance to recover compensation for your injuries. Before agreeing to a settlement offer seek advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer who can tell you what your claim is worth.
Contact Cogdill Nichols Rein Wartelle Andrews to schedule a free consultation.