How Do I Report a Car Accident in Washington State?
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Car crashes can be difficult to handle even in the best of circumstances, which often leads to people making mistakes in terms of what they describe, how they report the information, and who they report it to. If you want to learn more about protecting yourself (and getting the settlement you deserve), we’ll tell you more about how to deal with it all.
Car accidents in Washington state are unfortunately common, and an auto accident lawyer in WA can tell you that the numbers are moving in the wrong direction. In 2022, there were around 17,000 car crashes caused by distracted driving and around 6,000 due to drunk drivers. Whether it’s a T-bone or fender-bender, likely, either speeding or a failure to yield was also involved.
You may think that common car accidents would be simple to resolve simply because the police and insurance companies are familiar with them. However, a Washington car accident lawyer can attest that this is far from the case. Given the number of people involved, it’s remarkably common for people to either get things wrong by accident or manipulate the situation to avoid responsibility.
Safety is always the top priority after a car crash in Washington state. A Washington auto accident attorney would advise you to store flares and basic first aid supplies in the trunk. This makes it possible to both alert other drivers to the crash and potentially mitigate serious injuries. Avoid moving injured people (when possible), and call 911 immediately. If you don’t have cell phone service, look for a roadside assistance phone for help.
In a less serious accident, you should steer the cars off to either the shoulder, parking lot, etc. From there, exchange information with the other driver(s) and call the police. Washington state requires you to report the accident if there’s over $500 in damage. A Washington car accident attorney will tell you to keep the following in mind after the collision:
This information is not always easy to get, particularly if you’re shaken from the accident, involved in a hit-and-run, or dealing with angry drivers or indifferent witnesses. The best you can do in these instances is keep your wits about you so you can make your case when you’re more level-headed.
Trauma after a car accident is exceptionally common, even if the car accident seemed to be ‘minor’ from the outside. Sometimes any force from a collision can trigger deep anxiety about what would have happened if the impact had been worse. Whether you had loved ones in the car or not, a split-second accident can have long-lasting consequences. Here are some easy ways to deal with the pressure:
In the most extreme cases, consider contacting a mental healthcare professional. For instance, if all you can do is think of the crash, even while asleep, talking through the feelings with a trained professional can be the best way to process it all.
There are several parties involved if you experience a car accident in Washington state. Reporting a car accident typically starts with the police. You can then go through the Washington State Patrol Online Motor Vehicle Collision Reporting (OMVCR) system to complete and submit your paperwork. You’ll also need to contact your insurance carrier and tell them of the collision, typically within 24-48 hours.
A reputable Washington auto accident attorney would recommend contacting the police and filing a report no matter what. The financial damages are often higher than many people think, so it’s important to have plenty of documentation. This can also make it easier to get the settlement you want from the insurance company.
There are so many things to consider after your car accident, and insurance carriers often count on you missing at least a few things during the whole process. This isn’t simply just to cut down on the amount of time they spend on your claim, it’s also to avoid paying out a larger settlement. If you’re starting to feel like the deck is stacked against you, an auto accident lawyer WA can step in and take a lot of the pressure off. However, even if you’re at the beginning of your claim, they can prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.
Craig Swapp & Associates can help you find a Washington car accident lawyer who understands how the crash truly affected you. Expenses from a collision are more than just auto repair bills and doctor visits. From lost wages at work to babysitters at home, the costs can add up quickly. If you want to give yourself the best chance of getting it all back and alleviating stress at the same time, hiring a Washington car accident attorney can be a game-changer.