In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, car accidents are largely unavoidable. Generally, given enough time on the road, everyone will be involved in a car accident at some point. This is not to say that it will be one’s fault, only to say that car accidents are an everyday occurrence on our roads and highways. This is why it is so important to know what to do when one is involved in a car accident, or even if one is a witness to a car accident.
Immediately after the impact
Once the collision occurs, even if one is just a witness, call 9-1-1 immediately. Of course, one is passing a car accident that already has first responders on the scene, or there is clearly people on their cell phones nearby, a call to 9-1-1 is not needed. However, even for seemingly minor accidents, always call the police. A police report can be a vital piece of evidence after the accident for those not at fault.
While on the call with 9-1-1
The 9-1-1 operator will want to know where the accident occurred. This is where a GPS can come in handy, but using landmarks and street signs will also usually be enough information for first responders to find the accident. Next, they will want to know if anyone was injured and the extent of the damage. Do not underestimate the damage or the injuries that could be involved. One cannot reasonably be expected to know the extent of one’s own internal injuries or the injuries of those in the other vehicle or vehicles. While the police report can be vital, one’s health is also vital, and having an ambulance check the scene for injuries could avoid serious complications later.
The police did not come or refused to come
This can happen if the 9-1-1 operator classifies the accident as minor. If this happens, after taking pictures, exchange insurance information with the other driver or drivers. Then, report the collision online. Remember, even if the police do not arrive, if the damages involved in a crash are over $1,000, the drivers in the accident are required by state law to report the collision to the Washington State Patrol. And, with today’s vehicles, even minor fender benders can be over $1,000 to repair. Finally, call one’s insurance to report the accident, and then call an attorney.