If you’re involved in a car accident in Kent, Washington, there’s a flurry of emotions, concerns, and activities that take place in just moments. What takes place during the moments that follow the initial impact are crucial when it comes to protecting both the physical well-being of those involved in the accident, but also your potential legal rights. Here’s what you to do if you’re involved in a car accident in Kent, Washington.
Washington State Car Accident Laws Require You to Immediately Stop and Call the Police or WSP
Whether the car accident you’re involved in involves another driver, a pedestrian, or someone riding a bicycle, Washington state car accident laws require you to immediately stop and call the police or WSP if someone is injured and/or if there is damage (including your own) or to another piece of property.
The responding officer will complete a Washington car accident report, known as a collision report, which records a third-party observation of what they believe happened as well as the cause of the car accident. If WSP or the police only completes a basic report, you are required to complete one within four days of the accident. Calling law enforcement fulfills your legal duty.
Yet, calling WSP for a state accident report form or to call the Kent Police to report the accident has another important benefit. If someone on the scene is injured, calling 911 is the most effective way to get WSP or Kent Police, along with paramedics, to assist anyone who is injured.
Do Not Apologize to Anyone Involved in the Accident
While it may seem nothing out of the ordinary to say that you’re sorry because of the accident, doing so could be taken as a sign that you’re admitting guilt. It could even show up in the Washington car accident report.
Keep in mind that the accident report is something that is taken into consideration by the insurance company when claims are reported. While you should certainly check to make sure that the other driver as well as passengers involved are not injured, do not apologize or say anything that could be construed as an apology.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene While You’re Still Present
If you’re not injured and you’re able to do so, use your smartphone to take photos of the accident scene while you’re still present, but do not get in the way of WSP or Kent Police while they work on the Washington state car accident report.
Take photos of the damage to the involved vehicles, the street, any skid marks, stop signs, road signs, road conditions, or anything else that could help with your insurance claim as well as any potential legal claim that you may want to file in the future.
Get the Names and Contact Information of Any Witnesses Present
This is important. The witnesses may be necessary to help support your version of what happened to cause the accident. You may need to provide this information to the police, the insurance company, and to your Washington state car accident attorney.
File a Claim with Your Car Insurance Company
Don’t wait to let your car insurance company know that you were involved in an accident, especially if it met the criteria in Washington state car accident laws that made it a requirement for you to report it to the police. It is against the law to drive a vehicle that is uninsured.
The minimum amount of car insurance that someone must carry is $25,000 of liability coverage or death to one person in an accident that you are found at-fault for causing, $50,000 for total injuries or death to all people in an accident you are found at-fault for causing, and $10,000 for damage to anyone else’s property in an accident you are found at-fault for causing.
While it isn’t required to have uninsured motorist coverage (referred to as UM coverage), it helps pay for damage as well as medical care if you’re ever involved in a car accident with someone with no insurance. Someone who is driving without insurance could be fined, have their license suspended, and still be sued for the damages that they caused.
Get Treatment for Your Injuries
Even if you believe that the injuries you have aren’t that serious, you should make sure that you get checked out right away. If it turns out that they aren’t serious, that’s great news! The issue that most people don’t recognize is that there are some various serious injuries that don’t have obvious symptoms until they become quite serious. Internal bleeding is one such example.
There may not be much in the way of external symptoms until it becomes quite serious. Additionally, you’ve just been involved in a stressful situation. With adrenaline flowing through your veins, you may not feel much pain right away. This makes it more difficult for you to tell whether you’re seriously injured. To protect yourself, get checked out. If you are injured, get the treatment that you need.
Schedule a Consultation with a Washington State Car Accident Attorney
Although you may have been with your insurance company for years or the other insurance company decides that their driver was at-fault and offers you a settlement, that doesn’t mean that what they’re offering you is necessarily fair. They may not offer you enough to cover the damage to your vehicle, pay for your medical expenses, or the time you may have lost from work.
It’s important to schedule a consultation with a Washington state car accident attorney who has nothing other than your best interest in mind. It’s your job to get better. You shouldn’t have to argue with the insurance company about what your life is worth. Don’t sign releases for them without talking to your attorney first. Your ability to file a claim for your car accident is limited by Washington state car accident law to three years after the date of the accident in most cases.
To learn more about how to get what you deserve from your potential claim, call Herschensohn Law PLLC now at 206-588-4344 to schedule your free case consultation. We fight for the rights of our clients.