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What Steps Should You Take If You’re in a Car Accident in Sequim?

Many of us have been in a car accident at one time or another. Here in Sequim, we rely on our vehicles to get us to and from work, family gatherings, shopping trips, and our daily adventures. With all that time we spend in our cars, it is no wonder that the average driver is estimated to submit a vehicle collision claim to insurance every 17.9 years. Insurance companies have experienced personnel to represent their interests. We have represented the interests of injured persons for over 25 years.

Whether it comes in the form of a fender-bender or a major crash, the experience of being in a car accident is never pleasant. The adrenaline rush that accompanies a car accident stems from our bodies’ fight-or-flight response. This response, also known as acute stress response, allows us to respond quickly to a frightening event, such as another vehicle that suddenly pulls out in front of ours. However, it’s also accompanied by raised blood pressure, rapid breathing, and a pounding heart. This is hardly a calming experience, and leaves us feeling tense and on edge. These feelings are only intensified in the aftermath of a crash, when we have to figure out how to deal with the damage caused by the collision.

In Sequim, car accidents can be caused by any number of things. Whether it’s an animal crossing the road unexpectedly, another driver’s unpredictable behavior, inclement weather (such as flooded roadways), or any combination of these events, knowing how to handle the situation will help ease your mind.

At the Scene of the Crash 

When a car accident occurs, any number of questions could be racing through your mind. Am I hurt? Are my passengers hurt? Is the other driver okay? What damage has been done to my vehicle, the other person’s vehicle, or any other property? What should I do next?

The answers to these questions will inform on how you proceed after the crash. If there seems to have been little or no damage, your first instinct may be to simply move on with your life–but it’s crucial that you still file a report of the accident, no matter how minor it may seem at the time. You never know what kind of hidden damage may have been done to you, your passengers, or your vehicle, only to present itself at a later date.

Ask yourself the following questions before you leave the scene of the crash to make sure you cover all your bases and to avoid problems later.

Were you, the other driver, or any passengers or pedestrians injured? 

If anyone was injured in the collision, call 911 immediately or visit the nearest hospital emergency room or physician’s office as soon as possible. Any delay in seeking treatment for yourself could put your health in danger and put you at financial risk. The longer you wait to report an injury caused by an accident, the more reason the insurance adjuster has to claim your injury was not, in fact, caused by the accident. Be proactive and seek medical attention now for your health and to avoid financial and legal hassles later.

Has law enforcement been notified of the accident?

In the case of injury or another emergency, call 911. Otherwise, it is not required that police be called for an automotive accident in Washington unless there are injuries or property damage exceeding $700. Nonetheless, there are great advantages to having the police conduct an official investigation.

If the accident was not your fault, call the police and request an investigation. (The Sequim police can be reached at (360) 683-7227) If the police are not called, at the very least you should make sure the at-fault driver puts down in writing an account of the accident that admits their fault. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to prove who was at fault in the collision, which can make it difficult for you to receive the compensation you need for injuries, damages, towing, and other unforeseen costs.

Have you obtained everything you need from the other driver? 

Make sure you ask the other driver(s) for his or her name, address, phone number, license number, and insurance information. If there were any witnesses, ask for their names and contact information as well. This information will help in filing the report and deciding who is at fault for the accident.

The Aftermath 

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident in Sequim can be just as disorienting as the crash itself. After you’ve followed through with the questions above, you still have to deal with the effects of the crash, which can include damage to your car and towing and rental car expenses, not to mention medical costs and the emotional stress that comes from a traumatic experience.

If someone else was at fault for the collision, you should not have to pay for these kinds of unexpected and unplanned expenses. Washington is a “fault” insurance state, which means that you have certain rights when deciding how to proceed from a car accident that was not your fault. In our state, you have the right to file a claim with your own insurance company, to pursue a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, or to file a personal injury lawsuit in court.

It’s always a good idea to discuss your options with a professional in order to decide how you should handle the aftermath of a devastating event like a car accident. Call our Sequim office today to set up an appointment and learn more about how you can proceed from here. Our attorneys can provide insight and personal representation as you navigate your next steps and recover from your car accident.

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Port Angeles

709 South Peabody Street
Port Angeles, Washington 98362
(360) 452-9242
pa@mcmenaminlaw.com

 

 

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544 North 5th Avenue
Sequim, Washington 98382
(360) 683-8210
sequim@mcmenaminlaw.com

 

 

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(360) 385-3995
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