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Confusion and shock are common feelings after an auto accident. However, what happens after the accident can have a big impact on whether you receive compensation for any damages and your injuries. Learning what to do and what to avoid, and when to engage an auto accident attorney Lynnwood residents trust will help you maximize your compensation.
What to do immediately after an auto accident
When an accident occurs, there are several steps you should take:
1. Ensure your safety
The first thing you should do is to ensure your own safety. If it was an auto accident, you should pull over into a safe area immediately. Check on the passengers in your vehicle to make sure they are okay. If you are able, you should also check on anyone else involved in the accident.
2. Call emergency services
It is important to contact emergency services as soon as possible and ask them to send help to your location. Let them know if there are any injured people. Answer any of the operator’s questions as completely as you can to ensure that the emergency response team arrives well prepared.
3. Document the scene
If you’re able, take photos or videos of the accident scene. Your photos or videos should include shots of the vehicles, the people involved, your injuries and any damage that may have occurred. These images will be crucial as evidence later.
You should also gather any other important evidence from the scene. Get details of the people involved including their full names, contact information and insurance information. You may also want to take information about witnesses to the accident. Their testimonies can help to give weight to your claim.
4. Seek medical treatment
It doesn’t matter whether your injuries are obvious or not, you should seek medical treatment immediately after an auto collision. Your body releases adrenaline following an auto accident. You may therefore not feel the pain of an injury immediately after an accident. However, as the adrenaline wears off, your symptoms may become more obvious. It may take hours or even days for you to notice the symptoms of your injuries.
If paramedics have arrived at the scene of the accident, let them attend to you and decide if you need to go to the emergency room. Even if you’re declared fit to leave the scene of the accident on your own, it is important to have a medical examination to establish the extent of your injuries resulting from the accident.
5. Report the accident
If the accident resulted in injuries, damage to property amounting to $500 or more, or death, you are required by law to report the accident to the law enforcement office. You should do this within four days of the accident. However, if law enforcement officers were dispatched to the scene of the accident, you won’t have to make this report.
You can get a copy of the accident report from repository of the Collisions Records Section of the Washington State Patrol. This report will be a crucial part of your auto collision claim.
6. Notify your insurance company of the accident
If you were involved in an auto or motorcycle accident, be sure to notify your insurance provider of the accident even if you weren’t at fault. Notifying your insurance provider isn’t admitting fault. It gives them time to investigate the incident.
What is a Collision Attorney and Do You Need One?
You are not required by law to retain an attorney. However, it is beneficial for you to have an experienced collision attorney Lynnwood residents trust representing you.
Collision attorneys are personal injury attorneys with experience in handling personal injury claims involving auto accidents. They represent clients involved in different types of auto accidents including car, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Having an experienced attorney guiding you through the claims process right from the start will ensure that your rights are protected.
It is important to engage an experienced lawyer from the onset. Even cases that seem cut and dry often turn out to be complicated. Insurance companies, like any other business, want to avoid losses at any cost. They will therefore do all they can to avoid paying compensation. What seems like an obvious claim may be denied if you don’t have a personal injury lawyer that is well versed in traffic accident law fighting in your corner.
An experienced collision lawyer is knowledgeable in accident laws. They are also acquainted with how insurance companies work and how to make insurance claims. They will level out the playing field by representing you in interacting with the insurance company’s representatives. An experienced attorney will help you determine what damages you can collect on and how much compensation you should seek. They will negotiate on your behalf for maximum compensation.
Comparative Negligence in Washington
As you seek compensation for your injuries, it is important to note that Washington is a comparative negligence state. This means that although you can recover damages for your injuries, the settlement you receive will be based on the degree to which you contributed to the accident.
For example, if you were involved in a pedestrian accident and were found to be 10 percent at fault for your accident, you will receive 10 percent less of the total amount of your settlement. Therefore if you were awarded $10,000 for your accident and were found to be 10 percent at fault for the accident, you will only receive $9000 as your settlement.
Contact a Collision Lawyer Lynnwood Trusts
If you’ve been involved in an auto collision in Lynnwood, contact Martin W Hodges as soon as possible after your accident. Martin Hodges is a collision lawyer Lynnwood trusts for expert legal representation in auto collision claims.
Contact us as soon as possible to set the ball rolling on your collision claim. We know just how traumatizing an accident can be psychologically, physically and financially. While we can’t reverse the accident, we can help to ensure your right to financial compensation is protected. Contact us today for free consultation.
Last update of the article: 08/18/2020.