What Do You Do After a Car Accident?
Kent attorney Zach Herschensohn helps you prepare with 10 simple steps
After you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s normal to feel confused, upset, and unsure of what to do next. Zach Herschensohn has experience helping injured crash victims and offers some helpful tips to keep you safe, protect your rights, and avoid sabotaging your own claim.
Have you been injured in a collision? The Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC has recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for injury victims throughout the Seattle metro area and knows how to get you maximum compensation. See what an experienced Kent car accident attorney can do for you. Contact us today for your free consultation.
10 steps to take after a car accident
You usually can’t predict when you’re going to get into a car accident until moments before the crash actually happens, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. Car accidents can cause thousands of dollars in damage to you and your vehicle, and the things you do at the scene of the crash can have a huge impact on whether or not you end up getting the compensation you deserve.
After a car accident, you should:
- Remain calm: This may be easier said than done, but experts agree that taking a deep breath and keeping your cool can help you focus on what you need to do next.
- Evaluate the situation: Are you or any of your passengers seriously injured and in need of emergency medical attention? Is anyone else involved in the crash badly injured? If so, call 911 immediately and tell them where you’re located so they can send an ambulance. You should also assess your surroundings to see if you’re in danger. If you can, move your car out of the way so you don’t block traffic or cause another collision. If you smell gas and think there’s a chance of an explosion, get as far away from the car as possible.
- Use your emergency kit: It’s a good idea to keep first aid supplies and an emergency kit in your car at all times. The emergency kit can include items like flares, cones, and triangles, which are all things you can place down on the ground leading up to the scene of the crash to alert oncoming drivers there’s been an accident.
- Call the police: In Washington state, you must report all traffic accidents that result in bodily injury or more than $500 in property damage. When police arrive, tell them what happened but do not admit fault. Be sure to ask how you can obtain a copy of the official accident report, as it’s often a critical piece of evidence in determining who caused the accident.
- Exchange information: You’ll need to swap information with everyone involved in the accident. Make sure to trade:
- Name, address, phone number
- Driver’s license number, vehicle registration, and license plate number
- Vehicle year, make, and model
- Insurance company information
An easy way to get a lot of this information is to take a picture of the other driver’s license and insurance card. It’s also a good way to verify that they actually are who they say they are.
- Take pictures and videos: Using your smartphone or a camera, document the entire scene of the crash with pictures and/or video. Be mindful to show the damage to all the vehicles involved in the crash, tire marks, traffic signs and signals, property damage, any visible injuries, and anything else that gives a clear picture of what the crash scene looked like.
- Find witnesses: If anyone saw your accident and is willing to give a statement, take down their name and contact information. Witness testimony can be an incredibly powerful piece of evidence in determining fault.
- Write down the details: Soon after your accident and before you forget, you should write down everything you can remember that happened right before, during, and after your crash. Time, location, and weather conditions are all a must. Did the other driver say anything like “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you”? Was there construction going on or were there any road hazards to take into consideration? Did you notice anything strange about the other driver or their vehicle? These are all things you should write down. The more information you have, the better.
- Get checked out by a doctor ASAP: You can never be too careful when it comes to your health, so even if you don’t think you’ve been injured, you should still get checked out by a medical professional within 24 hours of your accident. Some injuries, such as whiplash, don’t always have immediate symptoms. Symptoms from back, neck, and shoulder injuries often don’t appear until later, as well. If you are injured and wait to see a doctor, the insurance company will question why you waited so long and argue that you’re not as hurt as you say you are. Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment advice and do not miss any follow-up appointments.
- Don’t say anything – call a lawyer: When you’re at the scene of the crash, never talk about fault with the other driver or get into an argument about who caused the accident. After your accident, do not discuss it with anyone or post about it on social media. Your comments, especially those that are posted online for people to see, can be documented and potentially used to dispute your claim. Report the accident to your insurance company, but again, do not go into too much detail about what happened. If they ask you to give a recorded statement or press you for more information, simply refer them to your lawyer. If the other driver’s insurance company or attorney contacts you, politely decline to answer any questions and give them your lawyer’s contact information.
Set yourself up to win. Get Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC.
If you follow these 10 simple steps, you’ll put yourself in a good position to recover the compensation you’re entitled to. The last thing you want to do after a car accident is make a mistake and ruin your claim. Insurance companies will leave no stone unturned to find a way to reduce or deny your compensation, but if you’re well-prepared and have an experienced lawyer in your corner, you can avoid having them take advantage of you.
Let our law firm tackle your claim. Attorney Zach Herschensohn can build a strong case on your behalf that gets you real results. Best of all? Hiring us doesn’t cost you anything unless we win. That’s because we work on a contingency fee basis. Watch what Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC can do for you. Contact us today for your free consultation.