If you’re involved in an automotive accident, it can be a very stressful and traumatic time. One minute you’re driving along, and the next minute you’ve been hit by another vehicle. The sheer chaos following an accident can be disorienting and put you into a state of shock. As your mind struggles to grasp the reality of the situation, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:
It can be easier said than done, but it’s important to try to stay calm. You need your head and wits about you to ensure the safety of yourself, passengers and other motorists around you. You can’t properly manage the situation if you’re angry or crying.
Check on your passengers
Your first thoughts should be the safety of yourself and the passengers in your car. First, assess yourself: is there any blood loss? Do your extremities feel and appear to look okay? Look at your face in the mirror – do you have any physical injuries?
If you are reasonably sure that you are not injured, check on your passengers to see if they’re injured. At this point, you will want to assess the outside of the vehicle. If traffic has stopped completely and the surrounding area looks reasonably safe, exit your vehicle with caution. Try to move yourself and your passengers to the sidewalk and get out of the street and away from other vehicles.
It’s important to remember that just because you don’t appear injured, it doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear. Injuries from vehicle accidents can develop over the next few days to following weeks.
Call the Authorities
Even if you and your passengers feel fine, call the police regardless. If nothing else, you’ll need the police there to direct traffic, as well as take an incident report. If medical attention is needed, do inform the operator immediately.
If you or your passengers have sustained injuries, try not to move around. If it is reasonably safe to do so, stay in one place and wait for medical help to arrive. Moving around after sustaining injuries could potentially worsen injuries and create a longer recovery.
Gather Evidence if Possible
If you are physically able to safely do so, collect evidence of the accident. Using your cell phone, take photos and/or videos of the scene. Look for witnesses and try to get their names and contact information. If you have a voice recorder functionality on your cell phone, try to orally recount what happened while your memory is fresh. The longer you wait, the more details you could forget.
Exchange Insurance Information
Find the other driver and exchange insurance information. You should copy down their info as well. If the other driver does not have insurance, politely ask them to present to you their driver’s license. Take a photograph of it. The other driver is not legally required to present their driver’s license to you, so therefore it’s always best to call the authorities no matter how small the accident.
You cannot compel nor force the other driver who doesn’t have insurance to present their ID to you, but the police can. The police will also cite them for not having insurance.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney in Tacoma & Seattle
When the dust has settled, contact a Washington auto accident attorney at Herrmann Law Group to help fiercely fight for your accident case. We have helped countless auto accident victims in Tacoma, Seattle and beyond, seeking reparations and justice for their injuries. We will not only help you with solid legal advice, but can also help negotiate with the insurance companies who might try to offer you less money than you’re owed.