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What Should And Should Not Be Done After A Car Accident?

When a motor vehicle accident occurs, it can be difficult to know what you should and should not do immediately following the collision. Should you see a doctor? What documentation do you need to keep? How can a lawyer help you?

With 20 years of experience successfully resolving personal injury cases throughout Western Washington, the Law Office of James A. Conley is here to guide you through this difficult period. We work tirelessly on your behalf to pursue full compensation that meets your needs. Our detail-oriented approach means you can trust us to effectively handle the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Steps To Take Immediately Following An Accident

No one expects to be in a car wreck when they leave their home, but it is a risk we all must be ready to face. If you do find yourself in a car accident, take the following steps as quickly as possible:

  • Take photos: Most drivers are carrying smartphones with them during an accident. Use your phone to photograph property damage, apparent injuries sustained and the accident scene.
  • Call 911: The sooner you call 911, the quicker law enforcement and an ambulance can arrive.
  • See a doctor: If you fail to see a doctor after the accident and symptoms develop later, your personal injury claim will be in a much more tenuous position.
  • Speak with the police: Provide law enforcement with as much information as you can about the details surrounding the accident.
  • Collect information from all drivers involved: You will need both the driver’s name and their insurance policy number to proceed with your claim. Collecting the names and contact information of any witnesses is also a good idea.
  • Organize your documentation: Keeping all of your documentation from the accident in one place will help make successfully resolving your claim less burdensome. In addition to facts directly related to the accident, also keep medical bills, child care costs and auto repair receipts.
  • Speak with an attorney: Insurance companies are not your friend after an accident. Speaking with a trusted and knowledgeable attorney will help you determine what your legal options are while seeking to protect your rights.

Be Wary Of Taking The Following Actions

Sometimes, the actions you do not take after an accident can be just as important as those that you perform. If you or someone you love finds themselves in an accident, avoid doing the following:

  • Refusing medical attention: Even if you think your injuries are minor, it is difficult for you to make an accurate assessment of your own well-being.
  • Assuming the other driver’s photos are adequate: You should always gather your own documentation of the accident. This includes taking photographs of your and the other driver’s vehicle.
  • Accepting out-of-pocket settlements: At-fault drivers may try to cut you a check and avoid going through insurance. This is a bad idea. They do not know the full damages you suffered and may pay you less than what you truly need.
  • Not taking notes: Our memories or important events fade over time, which means remembering the key details from the accident becomes increasingly difficult. Maintaining a journal allows you to preserve the facts of the case, thereby strengthening your claim.
  • Avoiding contacting an attorney: You have a right, no matter how minor or catastrophic an accident may be, to seek legal counsel. Speaking with a highly skilled, detail-oriented attorney can help you begin to work toward recovering full compensation.

Trusted Guidance, Every Step Of The Way

No matter when a motor vehicle accident occurs, we are ready to sit down with you to help you understand your options. Schedule a free consultation with our attorney today by calling our Seattle office at 425-510-7990 or by emailing our firm.