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Motor Vehicle Collision FAQs

What is the first thing I should do if I am in a car accident?

First, if you are injured, call 911. Give as many details about your location as you can. While you are waiting, get as much information as possible, including name and contact information of the other driver(s), license plate numbers, and contact information of passengers and eyewitnesses to the accident. Be sure to get insurance information and take pictures of all damaged vehicles in the collision.

Should I talk with police once they arrive at the scene of the accident?

Yes, you should. Whether you are the victim or the cause of an automobile accident, limit yourself to discussing the facts. Stick to the facts and let the insurance company evaluate them. Meanwhile, hiring a personal injury attorney could be very important.

How soon after an accident should I contact my insurance company? Do I even need to contact them if I wasn’t at fault?

Whether or not you were at fault, contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Stick to the facts and let the insurance company evaluate them. Meanwhile, hiring a personal injury attorney could be very important.

Is there any information I should get to support my claim?

Yes. You should take pictures of the accident scene as soon as possible, as evidence is often swept away within hours. Also, take pictures of your injuries and any passengers if they were injured immediately after the accident. Follow up with pictures a few days later when bruises, etc. become apparent. Take notes to refer back to should you be called in to tell your story. Do not let any insurance company representative access these notes.

If I feel fine after an automobile accident, should I still see a doctor?

Anyone who was in the car during an accident should consider seeing a doctor to make sure that there aren’t any hidden injuries. Often you won’t feel the effects of an injury until the next day or two. Scheduling a doctor’s visit the day of an accident is wise precaution. When you do see the doctor, make sure to mention any complaint or symptom that you may have, no matter how minor. Don’t play medical expert and evaluate the importance of a symptom. Let the doctor do his/her job.

How soon after an accident should I contact an attorney?

If there are injuries or the possibility of injuries, you should contact an attorney that understands car accident lawsuits as soon as possible. Having good legal advice from the beginning can make the difference between a successful case and a great loss. Call a personal injury attorney before you discuss your case with the at-fault insurance company insurance representative.

I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt when my car accident occurred. Can this be held against me in a suit for damages

According to the Washington State Safety Restraint Coalition website, failure to wear a safety restraints does not constitute negligence and cannot be used to prove negligence.

I have been asked to release my medical records to the other driver’s insurance adjuster. Should I do this?

Absolutely not. Always consult a qualified personal injury attorney before releasing any information as this might seriously impair your case.

If I file a personal injury claim, will we settle out of court?

Most cases can be settled out of court. If we feel that the amount is fair to you, we will recommend that you settle your case out of court. But, if the offer is unacceptable, you may elect to take the case to trial.

I feel that I may have contributed to the automobile accident. What should I do?

While you may feel that you are at least partly at fault, you may not be the best judge of that fact. There are many factors that contribute to an accident – alcohol, road conditions,  faulty manufacturer installation, etc. It’s better not to shoulder any blame at the scene of the accident. Let more qualified investigators evaluate the accident scene.

In Washington, generally, you have 3 years in which to file your claim. However, there are many exceptions, and this is not a hard and fast rule. You should always consult a lawyer immediately to discuss your case and to determine what steps you need to take first.  That way you’ll know when you have to file a lawsuit to avoid the statute of limitations. Do not wait until the last minute to consult a lawyer as evidence may grow stale and witness memories can fade.

Things You Need to Know

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, the following  “rules of thumb” are recommended:

  • Do not give a recorded or written statement.
  • Take photographs of the property damage and print them at once. Take photographs at the scene with your cell phone to show the property damage in the street and where the cars end up after the initial impact and collision.  You should do this before you move your car. Do not use Polaroid camera.
  • Do NOT SIGN ANYTHING without having a lawyer reviewing it first!
  • Do not discuss any matters concerning your injuries with the at-fault insurance company. You are under no obligation to give this information and should discuss nothing but the damage to your car, need for a rental car or “loss of use” compensation. Remember to be on guard for the clever insurance adjuster who may try to trap you into giving an incomplete statement. Simply do not discuss the accident with the claims adjuster.

Learn more about David Speikers, or call 425-222-0555 for a free consultation and case review.

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