Our attorneys suggest certain actions to take immediately after a crash. These include taking pictures of the crash scene, documenting the details, and speaking to witnesses can give your attorney the tools to piece together a solid car accident claim. A crash that results in severe injuries may change the course of your claim dramatically, however.
You may not even remember how your crash occurred — either because of shock or because you lost consciousness. You may have sustained several bone fractures, a traumatic brain injury, severe spinal cord injury, or paralysis. Next thing you know, you're lying in a hospital bed.
So how can you determine exactly what happened? Do you remember who caused your crash? Did the at-fault driver flee the scene of the crash? This is where an in-depth investigation will be required.
The police report will provide your attorney with critical details
The police officer who responds to your crash will provide unbiased documentation of what happened, including:
- The cause of the crash (distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, or speeding)
- How the crash occurred (tire tracks in the road, position of both vehicles, and damage to roadside structures)
- Any arrests that were made or citations issued
- If the driver who hit you was impaired by drugs or alcohol
- If the crash was a hit-and-run
Your attorney will likely obtain a copy of the police report. If you wish to get a copy, you can do so online at the Washington State Patrol's website.
Witness statements may be helpful to your car accident claim
If any witnesses were present at the scene of the crash, the statements they make can have a profound impact on your claim. That's because the insurance company representing the at-fault driver will go to great lengths to attempt to shift the blame on you. With the help of witnesses, it's no longer your word against theirs.
Witness statements may be included in the police report. In addition, your attorney may be able to track down witnesses and ask them what they saw happen.
What to do if your crash was a hit-and-run or involved an uninsured driver
All drivers in Washington state are required to purchase liability insurance. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is only optional, however.
It's highly recommended that you add UM to your policy in case you're involved in a crash with a hit-and-run or uninsured driver.
More than 17 percent of drivers in Washington State are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That makes Washington the 7th worse state in the nation for uninsured drivers.
Should you find yourself with severe injuries, UM will cover your medical expenses and lost wages accrued from your crash.
If you have any questions about your insurance coverage or need help pursuing a claim, the Seattle attorneys at Nelson Langer Engle, PLLC can help. Even when the odds are stacked against you, we'll fight tirelessly to help you receive a fair settlement.
You can contact us online to schedule your free consultation or call us at (206) 623-7520.