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What To Do When You Are Involved In An Auto Accident


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Although the snow is slowly melting, as temperatures drop we can expect icy conditions. We at BTB know that there may be more than the average amount of fender benders or even more serious accidents to follow.

In order to understand your rights when slid into by another car, we checked with our local Burien legal-beagle and BTB advertiser W. Tracy Codd to see what you can do. Here’s his advice:

During the winter, local streets, freeways and highways become especially dangerous. Auto accidents become more frequent, and often times these accidents involve injuries that can have a long lasting impact.

If you are involved in an auto accident, the time period immediately after the accident is a critical time for documenting your personal injury claim. The importance of gathering evidence, talking to witnesses on the scene and taking photographs is important.

Here is a checklist of the information you will need to document your claim properly. This checklist may be used to organize your information, which you will eventually use to discuss your claim with an insurance company or turn over to your lawyer who is handling your auto accident case.

Information from the accident scene
Always make sure you get a copy of the police report from the investigating agency. If the Washington State Patrol investigated the accident, a written application and $9.50 fee is required. The $9.50 fee is non-refundable whether a record is found or not. The Washington State Patrol accepts checks and money orders through the mail.

If you have internet access, Please go to www.wsp.wa.gov, then “Hot Topics” on the right hand side of the page, and select “Collision Reports”. At the top of the page, select the link to the form Request for Copy of Collision Report. Complete and print the form, attach the $9.50 fee and mail or bring it into our office.

  • Information about the driver including name, driver’s license number, vehicle license plate number, insurance company name and policy number.
  • Take photographs at the scene of the crash including any visual evidence of your injuries, vehicle damage and of the scene in general.

Information after the accident

  • Medical costs including doctor visits, prescriptions, diagnostic and lab tests, medications (prescription and over-the-counter), physical therapy, chiropractic
  • Services. Make sure you make a note of dates, times and amounts charged as well as the reason for seeing the medical providers.
  • Record work time lost as a result of injuries. Include time you had to take off for medical treatments and your lack of ability to function properly at work because of your injuries. It would also help to get a letter from your employer confirming your lost pay and lost time. If you are a student, make sure you record school time lost. Also document your inability to continue with school work as you did prior to the crash.
  • Try and contact witnesses. Obtain their contact information.
  • Document pain, discomfort, emotional distress, mental anguish, exhaustion and inconveniences caused by your injuries. You would be well-advised to keep a daily log or journal documenting your thoughts and how you feel each day. Also record what effect your injuries have had on your everyday life, activities and relationships.
  • List property damage, specifically car repair estimates and other related bills.
  • Keep track of out-of-pocket expenses – be it for medical care or to fix your car.
  • This is very important – Keep copies of all documents, bills and medical records.

Remember, under no circumstances should you hand over your documents to an insurance adjuster or attorney for the other side. This could be used against you, very likely, to minimize the value of your claim. Consult an
experienced Washington car accident attorney, who will be able to guide you efficiently through what can be an extremely complex legal process.

Burien Attorney W. Tracy Codd has been representing persons involved in serious auto accidents since 1987. Call for a free consultation.

Phone: 206-248-6152 Email: [email protected]

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