Do not admit fault.
If you are unsure as to who has “caused” the accident or will be considered at fault, be sure to call 911 so an officer can come to the scene. You can share what you know happened factually from your perspective but do not summarize the situation as to fault — that is for a professional.
Law enforcement will investigate the situation to determine if anyone should receive a ticket for violating rules of the road or be charged with a crime. It is rarely a crime to be in an accident but, if a driver was impaired, there will be criminal charges.
If you were cited (received a ticket) but believe you were not at fault, hire a defense lawyer immediately to contest the ticket. The result of that ticket can have serious long-term consequences on the case and any chance at financial recovery.
Never leave the scene.
If you simply leave, you can later be charged with the crime of Hit and Run. Always exchange information. If the situation is heated and you feel unsafe, call 911 and notify dispatch that you are leaving due to safety concerns. You can provide your information and notify dispatch where you will be for officer contact.
When in doubt about injuries, always call the police.
In nearly all multi-vehicle accidents, it is critical to have a law enforcement investigation report. Without a report, an insurance adjuster is likely to deny liability and make up a scenario that is favorable to their insured.
If you were injured, talk to your insurance company.
Even if the accident was not your fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance will not immediately cover your medical bills. Medical care will be paid at the resolution or settlement of the case. Therefore, it is important to know if you have policy coverage that can kick in immediately to cover medical bills or co-pays not covered by your medical insurance as well as wage loss.
Be sure to request a copy of your policy. If the agent states that you declined Personal Injury Protection coverage and you are a Washington resident, ask to see the signed page declining coverage. If they cannot provide the page declining coverage, you have grounds to argue that they must provide PIP.
If you were injured in Washington due to someone else’s negligence and have questions, please reach out for a consultation. The most damage to a case is typically done at the early stages when the injured person mishandles the insurance protocols. To avoid making mistakes that devalue or completely ruin your case, contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after your injury accident.
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