Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

What to Do After a Seattle Car Accident

Posted Friday, May 7, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Collisions are jarring when they happen. Even if you were not seriously injured, car accidents can still be physically and financially catastrophic, and it is not uncommon to find yourself gripping the wheel in a state of shock, unsure of how to proceed. Luckily, the more you familiarize yourself with the steps to take after a vehicle collision, the more you will internalize them and be able to rely on that knowledge in an emergency.

*Breathe * This may sound like unnecessary advice, but I promise, it is not. Following a car accident, your central nervous system will be in a state of fight-or-flight, making rational thinking difficult and pain signals less strong (meaning you can be injured and not realize because you don’t feel the pain). Take a deep breath to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and ground yourself. Scan your body, paying careful attention to anywhere that you feel pain or discomfort. Note that sometimes it takes soft tissue injuries days or weeks to appear, so taking a moment to tune into your body and really pay attention to how you feel can catch injuries that your eyes or drowned-out pain signals might otherwise miss. This becomes relevant because injuries that are not reported at the scene can be harder to prove later on when you need coverage. Something as simple as mentioning that your neck does not feel right can help ensure that you will receive coverage for the treatment should that off-feeling later turn out to be a slipped disk or other serious injury.

*Decide if You Need to Call the Police * In Washington State you are not required to call the police about every accident. However, if anyone has been injured, you should call the police immediately. Additionally, if there is more than $1,000 in damage you are legally required to report the collision to the police. You should also call the police if the vehicles are obstructing traffic, unable to be moved from the roadway, or if the collision has left debris in the road that could pose a risk for other drivers.

*Collect Documentation * While you wait for the police to come, it is a good time to photograph the scene of the accident, including any damage to vehicles involved and license plates of all involved vehicles. It is also a good idea to photograph the driver’s license, insurance information, and vehicle registration of any other drivers involved. It can be better to photograph the documents as opposed to trying to write down the information because errors in transcription are likely when nerves are high. It is also a good idea to get names and contact information for any bystanders or other drivers who witnessed the accident. This will be helpful information for police and insurance adjusters.

*Seek Medical Attention ASAP* Many people think they can put off seeking medical attention after an accident if their injuries do not seem “serious,” however, it is often possible that injuries are far more serious than they seem. Concussions, internal bleeding, hemorrhage, whiplash, and other spinal cord injuries are often not visible, but can be life-threatening if left untreated. Additionally, the longer you wait to seek medical attention after the crash, the more you are sending the message (to insurance adjusters, judge, and jury) that you do not believe your injuries are serious. It also becomes harder to establish the causal link between the accident and the injury as more time and possible causal events elapse in between.

*Talk to a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer * If you have been injured in a vehicle collision that was not your fault in Bellevue, Kent, Rento, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Seattle area, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pivotal Law Group are ready to zealously advocate on your behalf and get you the compensation that you deserve. Call today to schedule a consultation.