Kennewick residents, commuters, and visitors see their fair share of car accidents every month. Unfortunately, this means that if you find yourself frequently driving through the area, you may experience a car accident at some point as well. If you have never been involved in any type of accident, there is a good chance that you do not know what to expect or what to do when you encounter this situation.
Telaré Law wants you to be informed and know the steps to follow in case you ever find yourself in a serious pileup on a highway, or even a low-speed crash in a parking lot that leaves you injured. Here are the nine steps that you should follow in both minor and major Kennewick car accidents.
1. Dial 9-1-1 immediately
It does not matter how minor the accident is; you should dial 9-1-1 immediately. You will want a police officer to come to the scene and make a police report about the accident. In addition, you should never leave the scene of the accident. You may start to panic or feel overwhelmed, but it is important that you wait for the officers to arrive. Don’t forget to let the 9-1-1 operator know if you or anyone else might need an ambulance.
2. Start recording or taking photos of the accident scene, if possible
If you are able to physically move without further hurting yourself, you can begin recording or taking photographs of things that might help your car accident case. For example, you may want to take photos or videos of the accident location, anything that stands out about the area (street signs, homes, skid marks, traffic lights, or buildings), the damage to your and the other vehicles involved, the position that your and the other drivers’ vehicles are in, the weather, and more.
3. Communicate with the other drivers or persons involved and request their contact information
If you want to communicate with the other people, ask if they need an ambulance, and request their contact information. You will need their name, phone number, address, license plate number, and insurance information. They may ask for your contact information as well, which you should provide as quickly as possible. Don’t get into a discussion about fault or apologize for anything; just stick to the facts and wait for the police and/or ambulance.
4. Assess your body and locate any pain or injuries you are experiencing
Next, you will need to assess your body and locate any pain or injuries that you might be experiencing. For example, see if you have any cuts, blood, bruises, a headache, back pain, etc. It often takes time for injuries to form or show up, meaning that you might not realize how severe your injuries are until hours or days after you leave the accident scene. If you are having trouble breathing, cannot stay awake or alert, feel nauseous, or cannot control your bleeding, you may need to let 9-1-1 know that you need an ambulance right away. If law enforcement officers or paramedics notice that you have life-threatening injuries, they will transport you to a local hospital or airlift you to one of the top hospitals in a nearby city.
5. Talk with law enforcement officers and explain what happened during your accident
The responding officers will ask you what happened during the accident. During this time, you should be open and honest with the officers, but make sure that you never put any blame on yourself. As you are speaking, the officer may be writing down notes and making a police report, which you will want access to after you leave the scene of the accident. Do not make any statements like, “I should’ve been looking more closely to notice their vehicle” because this can be twisted into you admitting fault.
6. Look around and see if you notice any witnesses who saw your accident
You should look around and see if you notice any witnesses who might have been around or seen your accident. There is a good chance that there was a business owner, homeowner, or even a pedestrian walking by who may have seen your accident occur. You can ask these individuals for their contact information, if you like. But don’t worry – we can handle the formal requests for their surveillance footage or their testimony.
7. Take the ambulance to the hospital or ride with a family member, if you can
After the law enforcement officers leave the scene, you will need to make the decision of whether to take the ambulance to the hospital or ride with a family member. If your injuries are severe, the ambulance will rush you to the hospital before the officers even leave the accident scene. However, if you seem to be okay, the emergency medical technicians will likely give you the option of riding with someone else or riding in the ambulance. When making this decision, it is recommended that you do not only think about the cost because your health and wellbeing are more important at this moment. In fact, the last thing you want to do is lose consciousness in the backseat of your family member’s vehicle when an ambulance personnel could have been monitoring your symptoms and injuries on the way to the hospital. Never drive yourself to the hospital after an accident.
8. Let your insurance company know that you were involved in a car accident
It is extremely important that you notify your insurance company within a day or two and let them know that you were involved in a car accident. During this phone call, you should keep things basic, leave out all the details, and never admit any fault. Simply provide the major facts of the accident and then end the conversation.
9. Hire a Kennewick car accident attorney from Telaré Law to fight for the compensation you need
Lastly, one of the most important steps you can take after you are on the road to recovery is to hire a car accident attorney from Telaré Law. We will communicate with insurance companies, look over the facts of your case, determine liability, help you file a claim or lawsuit against the responsible parties, assist you with collecting evidence, and prepare to take your case to court if necessary. Even if you are not ready to officially hire an attorney, it will be very beneficial for you to at least start discussing and getting legal advice regarding the options you should pursue.
Telaré Law has the experience, skills, and knowledge to help you with any type of car accident claim. Our team knows and understands that this can be a difficult process to navigate, which is why we are dedicated to helping you make decisions even if it has only been a few days since your accident occurred. Call or contact us to schedule your free case evaluation at our Kennewick office when you are ready, and our compassionate car accident lawyers will be here to legally assist you from beginning to end. We serve all of Washington State for your convenience.