What You Should Do If You Are In An Accident

At Putnam Lieb Potvin Dailey, our lawyers are passionate about helping car, truck and motorcycle accident victims throughout western Washington. We have lobbied the legislature to ensure adequate legal protection for those who have suffered personal injuries. You can rest assured that we will bring that same dedication to meeting your legal needs.

When you are in an accident, you have immediate, important decisions to make. Think about these decisions as carefully as possible, and consult an attorney as soon as you are able. For help with your questions and concerns following an accident, consult with our experienced personal injury attorneys today.

Immediately After The Accident

The first thing you must do when you have been involved in an accident is stop your vehicle. Try to get out of traffic if you can by pulling over to the side of the road; this may not always be possible, but it is helpful for fellow motorists and first responders alike. In Washington, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident, so never drive away without stopping.

Check to see whether you or your passengers have been injured. See if the occupants of the other vehicle(s) are okay, too. If anyone is injured, call an ambulance; it is usually best not to move an injured person yourself unless it is absolutely necessary. You can prevent additional crashes and injuries by making your vehicle visible. You should set out flares, turn on your hazard lights or raise the hood of your vehicle.

Next, call the police. We recommend you call the police any time you are in an accident. Although it is also advisable to exchange information with the other driver, you may be given false information. The police will gather the critical information needed to file your legal claim.

When you exchange information with the other driver, include the driver's name, address, telephone number, license plate number, driver's license number and full auto insurance information. Provide your own information to other drivers, too.

If there were any witnesses, try to get their identifying information. In addition, make note of the circumstances of the crash and anything unusual you noticed. Record the weather conditions, the speed limit on the road, your speed at the time of the crash, your estimate of the other driver's speed and other such elements. This will be important if the case ends up in litigation or there is an insurance dispute.

Do not admit fault, even if you think you may have caused the accident. Do not apologize to other people involved; be cordial and polite, but brief. Determination of fault, if any, will be made later. For now, focus on safety and proper accident procedures. Do not sign any waivers offered by the other driver or the insurance company without consulting an attorney first.

When The Police Arrive

You should fully cooperate with any police officers and other first responders who are at the scene. Provide them with whatever information they request, including information on injuries and witnesses, but avoid making editorial comments or admitting responsibility for what happened. Legal liability is complex, and you may not have the facts you need to determine who was responsible for the accident.

Make sure to get the business cards or names and badge numbers of the police officers who investigate. Ask for the incident number, too, so you can get a copy of the accident report (and so you can give this information to your insurance company). Do not leave until the police officers tell you it is OK to do so.

Soon After The Accident

Even if you are only in minor pain, it is best to be examined by a physician. Injuries may not truly show themselves until later, and early treatment can prevent significant pain or other damage. It is also possible to have suffered serious head trauma or brain injury with few outward signs. In addition, an insurance company could argue that your failure to seek medical treatment aggravated your injury or even that your injury did not arise from the accident at all.

Contact A Personal Injury Attorney

Try to consult an attorney as early on in the process as possible, and do not sign any documents or checks from an insurance company before you have spoken with legal counsel. In the meantime, keep track of all the costs related to the accident such as renting a car, lost wages, medical bills and other expenses. When you meet with a lawyer, bring all your automobile insurance information and any documentation you have gathered with you.

An experienced personal injury attorney from Putnam Lieb Potvin Dailey in Olympia, Washington, can help you sort out all the losses related to your accident. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call 360-596-9539 or 877-551-2871 or send us an email to discuss the details of your case in a free initial consultation.

Se habla español.