DIRECT AGGRESSIVE ADVOCACY

Best Car accidents law firm in Seattle and Manhattan

Car accidents are unsavory on the best of days and a real headache on the worst of days. Unfortunately, car accidents happen all too frequently and at that rate, pretty much anybody is likely to get involved in one. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, there were 115,930 crashes in the state in 2018. A car accident happens once every 4 minutes in the state, leading to the death of at least one person every 20 hours. The sad truth about the data is pretty simple. Accidents happen often and they can happen to anybody. When they do happen, no matter how serious they are, they will most likely bring some level of damage and plenty discomfort. If you have been involved in a car accident, you should know that the law grants you several rights in the event. It also imposes certain obligations on you though. If the other driver was at fault, you may be entitled to claim compensation for any damage done to you.

At Oshan and Associates, we have helped countless clients with cases just like yours obtain the compensation they deserve. Our experience and track record in the area has seen us emerge as a leading coast to coast Seattle to New York personal injury firm. Drawing on our experience, we have created this article to guide you on how to react after a car accident. In this article, you will learn what your rights are in a car accident and how you can assert them. You will also learn what the law requires you to do after a car accident and when your duty is fulfilled.

What do you do in a minor Seattle car accident?

Although all accidents are important events that should not be taken lightly, some will involve less serious damage than others. For instance, when you only have a torn bumper or a dent on your car. The most important measure is whether the accident is minor and can be measured by the amount of the damage involved. According to the Seattle Police Department, a minor accident is one that involves damage of a value less than $1,000. In the event of such an accident, here’s what you need to do:

  • Assess the amount of damage: Since the scope of your obligation here depends on the amount of damage involved, the first thing you must do is assess the damage. You can generally tell the value of damage involved by considering how much it would take to repair the property damage caused to the vehicles involved. If the accident involves injury, it is not likely to be only a minor accident.
  • Move your vehicle off the road: Once you are certain that there is no injury involved or only minor injury, you need to move your vehicle off the road. Washington State law requires you to remove your vehicle off the road in a non-injury accident if is operable and safe to move. In such a situation, it is not necessary to wait for law enforcement. Besides, you are expected to keep the roadway clear.
  • Exchange information with all involved drivers: Even though the accident is minor, you should not neglect to exchange information with the other driver. You may leave the scene of the accident and discover that the damage caused to your vehicle is more than you thought. Or you may even discover that you have suffered soft tissue injury that is more serious than you thought.
  • Report the collision: You are allowed to report a minor accident online with Washington State Patrol. You would want to have a copy of the report; in case you need to show fault later. Also ensure that you report the accident to your insurer, just in case you have to claim later. In any case, insurers require that accidents be reported to them, as part of your obligations under the policy.

What happens if the accident is serious?

If the accident involves injury that causes bleeding, broken bones or fractures, it is considered serious. In serious accidents, your obligations are slightly different. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Call emergency services and the Police: You need to dial 911 immediately. You should also seek medical attention for your own injuries, if you are injured. Even if you think the injuries are not critical, you should allow yourself to be examined.
  • Administer first aid: If you are not injured yourself, you need to check for others that are injured. If you are able to, administer first aid to any injured person if 911 operator instructs so. Remember not to move them so you don’t aggravate their injury.
  • Mark the road: Do not move your vehicle if there is any injured person. Place flares or cones at least 100 meters to the accident scene.
  • Talk to witnesses and exchange information: Since the accident is much more serious, you will most likely be looking to claim compensation for damage. You can make the process significantly easier by exchanging information with the other driver and speaking to available witnesses.
  • Call your insurer: It is necessary that you inform them about the accident, so you can start laying the foundation for your claim. It is advisable that you first speak to a competent auto accident attorney prior to making that call.

Do not leave the scene on any account

Although you may be flustered in the event of a car accident, especially if you think it was your fault, do not leave the scene. If you do, you may be prosecuted for a hit and run misdemeanor or felony. Under Washington and New York state law leaving the scene of a car accident is a crime punishable by jail time and fines. It does not matter whether you caused the accident or not. The law requires that you:

  • Call the police and wait until they arrive;
  • Check on all injured passengers and call emergency help if necessary;
  • Exchange information with other involved in the accident. This should include your drivers’ license details, insurance and contact information.

Even if the other vehicle was parked or if the driver is nowhere to be found, you must still provide your details. You are legally bound to write down your details on a note and place it somewhere that the driver would be likely to find it.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU LEAVE THE CAR ACCIDENT SCENE?

Leaving the scene of a car accident before complying with the law may bring some unpleasant consequences. Depending on whether the accident involved just property damage or included injury, it could be a misdemeanor or felony. If you leave the scene of a car accident that involved property damage, you could be prosecuted for a misdemeanor hit and run offence. This could attract up to 90 days in jail and fine of $1,000. For leaving the scene of a car accident that involves injury to another person, you could be prosecuted for a felony hit and run. This is punishable with 5 years’ jail time and a fine of up to $10,000. If the accident results in death to any person and you flee the scene, the penalty is much stiffer. The offense attracts up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $20,000. All of this is apart from the civil liabilities for the offense.

Contact the best auto accident attorneys

If you have been involved in a Seattle or New York car accident, you stand the best chance of a favorable outcome with the best personal injury firm. Our lawyers at Oshan and Associates are skilled at personal injury law and have the experience to provide thorough representation for you. Take the advantage of our free no-obligation consultation to start a conversation with us today. Call us on 206-335-3880 to book your consultation.