From day-to-day errands to the inevitably long Seattle-area commute, Washington drivers spend a lot of their lives on the road. With over 5.5 million licensed motorists in the state, it is no surprise that even the most careful driver may end up in a potentially devastating accident, and even a relatively minor collision can leave an individual feeling deeply shaken.
Being prepared to deal with the aftermath of an auto accident is crucial for every driver. While ensuring your safety and the safety of others involved in a collision should take priority, it is also important to be ready to gather information at the scene. Doing so may be essential for proving an insurance claim or determining fault if you end up in a lawsuit.
Be ready to exchange information with others at the scene
If either driver experiences injury during a collision, it is essential to call 911 for medical assistance. However, if there are no injuries, Seattle law requires drivers to move operable vehicles safely away from the roadway, exchange information with others involved in the collision and report the crash with Washington State Patrol. When exchanging details with others at the scene, make sure to collect the following information:
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of all involved parties
- All drivers’ license numbers
- Relevant insurance carrier names and policy numbers
- The make, model, year, color and license plate number of any vehicles involved
Additionally, make sure to take note of the date, time and location of the incident.
Be ready to document an accident
If it is safe to do so, you should also try to document as much as possible about the scene and the collision shortly after the incident occurs. In addition to taking photos or video of injuries and vehicle or property damage, try to capture images of anything potentially related to the accident, including the presence/lack of traffic control signs or signals and potential visual obstacles.