Washington Car Accident – Guide to Your Next Steps

Car accidents are always extremely stressful, and can be extremely dangerous if not deadly. They occur at an alarming rate because our society simply depends on our vehicles to get through our daily routines. As such, and given the weather that exists in Washington with roads that are often wet and slippery, car accidents occur several times per day.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, the following statistics were compiled in regards to auto accidents in 2007:

  • Total number of accidents – 290,276
  • Fatalities – 568
  • Serious injuries – 2,737
  • Minor injuries – 56,328

These numbers mean that more than 9 people per day in Washington are either seriously injured or killed on the state’s public roads. Given this reality, it’s best for anyone to have an idea of what to do after they are involved in a car accident.

Steps to Take Following a Car Accident in Washington

If you have been involved in a car accident, emotions and adrenaline will be rushing through your system. This is natural, but that also makes it that much more critical that you understand ahead of time what steps you should take.

Get out of danger – If you have been involved in a crash, chances are that you are in a vulnerable position in relation to oncoming traffic. If you can safely move your car, do so and get it to the side of the road. If your car will not move, get out of the car and remove any passengers who can safely be moved and get to the nearest shoulder.

Contact the police – As soon as you and your passengers are safe and/or accounted for, contact the police immediately and request them to report to the scene. Do not wait for someone else to make that call – take matters into your own hands and make the call yourself.

Establish contact with the other driver – This should only be done if it’s advisable. If the other driver appears calm and civil, approach him or her and ask if he or she is alright. If the other driver appears agitated, simply stay away and wait for the police.

Exchange relevant information – Assuming the other driver is approachable, ask to exchange contact and insurance information. Regardless of what he or she says, though, do not speak about what led to the accident under any circumstances. Simply respond that you’d like to tell the police what happened in the report if the other driver engages you in such a conversation. Be polite and as calm as possible.

Provide the police with the information – The police are there to make sure that the roadway is clear for traffic, that no one needs medical attention and to file a report. You will need that report for your insurance company, so simply state what you believe happened to the police officer.

Get medical attention – Many people in accidents assume there isn’t a problem only to have a serious injury reveal itself later. Even if you feel fine, take the time to obtain a medical evaluation if for no other reason than to rule out any hidden injuries.