If you’ve been involved in a car accident in the Seattle or Tacoma area, the last question you should be asking yourself is “What do I do now?” You should know ahead of time what steps to take, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
If police aren’t available – because they are occupied with a major emergency, for example – your actions in the first few minutes following a crash can:
- Save lives
- Reduce injuries
- Make the claims process easier
To prepare for a crash:
- Keep critical documents in your car, including registration, proof of insurance, your agent’s name and medical information about you and your family.
- Equip your car with flares, orange cones, emergency signage and a first aid kit.
- Have the right amount of insurance coverage.
After an Accident
Always call the police. They may not dispatch officers if you report minor property damage, no injuries or they are busy due to another emergency, according to The Balance, a personal finance website, but don’t make these assessments yourself.
If there are injuries, of course, call 911 immediately.
Otherwise, if police are not responding, act as your own investigator:
- Ask the police for advice and get the name of the person you speak to when reporting the accident.
- Write down, take pictures or make an audio or video recording (with your phone) of the damage, location, and the third party or witnesses. Also, get contact information from witnesses.
- Collect license, car registration and insurance information from other drivers in the accident.
- File your report, including information you collected, with police as soon as possible. The importance of a police report cannot be overemphasized.
- File an insurance claim.
What If Damage or Injuries Become Apparent Later?
Perhaps police did not respond because damage was minimal and no one appeared to be injured. Later, though, your vehicle breaks down due to unseen damage or you suffer from injuries that were not readily apparent. You may be facing substantial property damage or medical bills. You may be out of work as you recover from your injuries. Meanwhile, an insurance company is raising doubts about your claim because damage and injuries were not reported at the scene.
You did everything at the scene to protect your rights. Now let the experienced car accident lawyers at Nelson Langer Engle take over. Using the information that you recorded, they can determine who was legally at fault and is financially responsible. We can investigate further, negotiate with insurance companies and, if necessary, take your case to trial. While you focus on healing, we will aggressively pursue justice for you and your family.
Contact our office in Seattle or Tacoma to set up a free consultation today. You do not pay a penny unless we win your case.