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What Should I Do After A Multi-Car Accident in Seattle?
In the moments after a car accident, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Any collision can cause disorientation, panic, and fear — and if the crash involves multiple vehicles, these feelings can intensify. However, the moments after a crash are crucial to ensuring your safety and preserving evidence for a future claim. The following steps can help you protect your right to recovery following your Seattle multi-car accident. For more information about your car accident claim, contact a Seattle car accident attorney.
Step #1: Call 911 and Report the Accident
As soon as you can after the accident, you should call 911 to bring law enforcement and emergency medical services to your location. Speak to the responding officer and tell him or her what happened as truthfully as possible. Remember to collect his or her name and badge number so you can find the accident report later.
Step #2: Collect as Much Evidence as Possible
Multi-car accidents are complex because they involve many individual drivers. To seek compensation for your injuries, you will need to prove that another driver caused the crash. Evidence is freshest immediately after the accident, and if it is safe for you to collect evidence, you should take steps to do so.
- Take pictures of your vehicle, injuries, and any property damage.
- Take photos of the other vehicles involved and the area around the crash, including any traffic signs and signals.
- Ask the other drivers for their contact, license, and insurance information.
- Ask any witnesses in the area for their contact information.
- If you can, visit the scene of the accident a few days later around the same time the crash occurred and take more photographs.
- Write down a detailed account of the events leading up to the accident to the best of your memory.
When you speak with other drivers and law enforcement, it is important to avoid admitting fault or making any definitive statements about your injuries. These actions can harm your ability to claim compensation, acting as evidence against you in your future claim.
Step #3: Seek Medical Attention
As soon as possible after the crash, you should go to the hospital, receive treatment for your injuries, and save all records related to your visit. You should always go to the hospital after an accident, even if you do not feel hurt. You may have internal or unknown injuries, and waiting a long time to go to the hospital can harm your future credibility.
If you have serious injuries, your top priority is to seek medical attention. Do not stop to collect evidence or speak to the other drivers — go to the emergency room immediately.
Step #4: Contact Your Lawyer
After seeking initial treatment for your injuries, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. You may receive a phone call from an insurance adjuster asking for a statement or offering an early settlement, which may be tempting. However, you should never speak with an adjuster or accept any settlement offers before speaking with your lawyer.
It is not in the best interest of the insurance company to provide a high-value settlement, since it has to pay for your expenses. An early statement or settlement offer can harm your future recovery; the company may use your statement as evidence against you, and the settlement may be much lower than what you need. Your attorney can protect your interests in this situation.
Your Seattle personal injury attorney can launch a comprehensive investigation into the multi-car accident and help you establish liability in your case. He or she can also represent you in negotiations and during trial, protecting your best interests during each stage of your claim. As soon as you receive treatment, contact your car accident lawyer to discuss your case.