What Should I Do After a Car Accident?


As a Car Accident Attorney, every day I speak to people who have been injured in car accidents and have questions about what they can expect when they bring a claim against an insurance company. I have compiled and answered the 50 most asked questions here in this blog over the next several weeks. The sections are broken down into several subsections starting with questions people may have about what to do at the scene of a car accident and finishes with questions people have about car accident settlements. If you have questions that are not answered here, please feel free to contact me. I speak to people everyday who have been in car accidents in Tacoma, Seattle, Olympia and throughout Washington. My initial consultation are always free and if you need to hire our firm (Ladenburg Law), our fee is only paid when we obtain money for you.


What should I do at the scene of a car accident?

After a car accident it is important to try to remain calm. The first priority is to assess any injuries you or your passengers sustained. If anyone is in need of immediate medical help, call 911. If a person is seriously injured, is unconscious, has neck pain or back pain do not move the person until medical help arrives unless their safety is in danger.
If there is significant damage to vehicles or anyone is injured, call the police and ask that a report be filed. Get a card from the investigating officer and copy of the incident report number. With or without the help of an officer, gather as much information as possible.

What information should I get at the scene of a car accident?

It is very important to gather as much information at the scene as possible. If you have a camera phone, use it to take lots of photos including:

  • damage to the vehicles
  • scene of the collision
  • location of the street signs and stop lights
  • people involved in the collision
  • driver’s license of the other drivers involved in the collision
  • insurance card of the other drivers involved in the collision
  • license plate of the other drivers involved

If you don’t have a camera available, write down as much information pertaining to all the items in the above list as you can. Also get the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of any witnesses to the collision.

Who should I talk to at the scene of a collision?

You should talk to the other driver but do not discuss who was at fault for the collision. Your conversation with the other driver should be for the exchange of information only. You should also talk to any witnesses to get a summary of what they saw and their contact information. If a police officer investigates, you will need to provide a description of the events to the officer.
You should not talk to the other driver’s insurance company at the scene or at any point without first consulting an attorney. Never provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company.

Is it okay to move my car from the scene of collision?

If there are no injuries from the collision or only very minor injuries, you should move your vehicle off the road safely.

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