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What to do after a car accident in Washington

To protect their best interests, there are certain steps car accident victims should take following the event of a motor vehicle accident.

Whenever drivers get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they run the risk of being involved in an injurious or fatal car accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2015, there were 516 fatal crashes on the roads in Washington, and 568 deaths resulted from these collisions. Since serious accidents are so common, drivers should make sure they know how to handle a potential car accident.

Preparation

Drivers should plan on housing a set of emergency flares or warning triangles in their vehicle somewhere so they can safely alert traffic to the situation in the event of an accident. Drivers should also keep a document that outlines basic medical information for themselves and their family members in their vehicle.

Following the accident

When drivers are involved in a car accident, whether it is major or minor, they should take the following steps:

  • Do not panic, take a deep breath and try to remain calm.
  • Check all involved parties for injuries and call an ambulance if there is any doubt as to whether someone is hurt.
  • If possible, move any involved vehicles to the side of the road so they are out of the way of ongoing traffic.
  • Use warning cones, flares and emergency hazard lights to alert others to the situation.
  • Regardless of how serious the collision is, contact the police as soon as possible.

Drivers may also want to make notes about the accident while it is fresh in their mind. In addition to gathering the names and insurance information of those involved, drivers should write down what they believed happened before and during the crash, the damages done to any vehicles involved and any other relevant information.

Additionally, drivers should plan on notifying their insurance company about the collision so they can get the claims process started. While their claim is in process, those involved in a car accident should refrain from talking about it with anyone except the police and their insurance representative.

Reach out to an attorney

Although the opposing party's insurance company may offer a settlement following a car accident, collision victims in Washington should remember that it may not be enough to cover the material cost of the accident as well as damages for any physical, mental or psychological harm. When this occurs, those harmed in a motor vehicle accident should contact an attorney in their area who can ensure their right to fair and proper compensation is protected.