It is not easy to keep one’s cool in the wake of a car accident. Crashes are generally surprising, and depending on the damage, drivers may have difficulty understanding their legal responsibilities during this traumatic experience.

The following guidelines may help Seattle motorists stay calm, collect the information they need and aid the injured.

5 steps to follow a traffic collision

The following five steps can also help Seattle residents prevent accidental criminal charges following a can accident:

  1. Pull over and remain at the scene: If possible, drivers should move their cars to the side of the road. Leaving the scene of an accident before exchanging information or checking for injuries may incur a hit-and-run charge.
  2. Check drivers and passengers for injuries: Before anything else, check others for injury, helping them if possible. Call an ambulance if needed.
  3. Call the police: If the accident caused significant property damage, injury or death, call the police. Ask that the responding officers file a police report.
  4. Collect information: Speak with others involved in the incident and record their name, contact information, driver’s license number, Vehicle Identification Number, and basic insurance information. Provide them the same. Make sure to collect the names and badge numbers of the responding officers, as well.
  5. Take photos and videos: Take plenty of pictures of the scene of the accident and video where possible. Insurance adjusters can use this evidence when investigating any claims.

If the police are present, only leave the scene when told to do so. When speaking with other drivers, try to remain calm and do not talk about the incident or who may be to blame. Do not apologize either — an attorney may argue an apology was an admission for any subsequent liability claims.

Bring any legal questions to a lawyer

Drivers with questions about filing a liability claim after an accident have found answers speaking with a local attorney familiar with motor vehicle law in Seattle. A lawyer can help drivers navigate complex insurance paperwork and possibly negotiate a settlement.