You’re driving down US 395 in Kennewick, WA, and suddenly, you feel an impact. The vehicle behind you has now rear-ended you, and you have safely pulled over to the side of the road. What you do next is very important, and has to be done with the utmost attention to ensure that you are fully covered by the law.
Always Take These Steps Following a Car Accident
Safely pull over to the side of the road if possible.
Shut off your vehicle if it’s still operational, and try to write down the opposing driver’s license plate number.
If you have flares, place them around the accident scene to protect the scene. If you do not have flares, put on your flashers or leave your headlights on if possible.
Try to determine if there are any witnesses that can corroborate the events. Ask them to wait until the police arrive. If they can’t stay, get their phone number and address and provide it to the police officer upon his arrival.
Wait inside the disabled vehicle, or on the side of the road if the vehicle is not safe to be in.
Call the police even if there are no serious injuries or damages. A police report may be needed by your insurance company.
Provide an accurate record of what occurred to police when they arrive and do not misstate or guess facts.
At this time, you will be asked if you have sustained any injuries. If you are not sure, state that you’re not sure rather than saying “no.” Pain and injuries often present themselves hours after an accident occurs.
If you have a camera, take pictures of your vehicle, the opposing vehicle, the road or intersection, injuries and any other accident scene variables that may be needed by your insurance company or lawyer. Note: Ensure that your picture-taking does not interfere with police activity.
If you are injured, instruct someone traveling with you or the police officer to take the pictures.
If you are not certain if you have sustained any injuries but feel some pain, request transfer to the Emergency Department.
If police do not respond to the accident, you should take down the other driver’s information, including Insurance Company Name and Policy Number, name, address, phone number, and information on all persons involved. It is very important to call the police to ensure that the information provided is accurate.
Your next step is to report the accident to your insurance company. Please keep in mind that your health and safety is of the utmost importance. Following the call to the police, you can request medical assistance and skip steps six through eight. Your injuries are more important than providing your record of the incident if not physically possible.
Documenting the accident, obtaining a police report and pictures will help you not only with your insurance claim, but any personal injury claims that may arise from the accident.