10 things to do after a car accident

Every year, there are approximately 100,000 car accidents in Washington state which require a Police Traffic Collision Report (PTCR) submitted. The Revised Code of Washington, RCW 46.52.030, requires that a PTCR report be filed whenever someone is injured or killed in a car accident or property damage of $700 or more.

Washington Car Accident Statistics

In 2012, the Washington State Department of Transporation found that:

  • A person is killed in a car accident every 20 hours.
  • A person is injured in a car accident every 12 minutes.
  • A bicyclist or pedestrian is killed in an accident every 4 days.
  • An intoxicated or impaired driver is involved in a car accident every two hours.
  • A person is killed by an intoxicated driver every 2 days.

Most car accident only involve property damage but about 30% accidents results in a personal injury and 20% lead to a death.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident, you should keep your wits about you and know the things you should do after the accident:


  1. Stay at the accident scene. It is against the law to leave the scene of a car accident.
  2. Make sure you are safe. After a car accident, you’ll want to move our vehicle out of traffic if possible. You’ll also want to use flares or cones and turn on your flashers so that your disabled car is not hit.
  3. Contact the police. It is recommended that you call the police even if there are no serious injuries involved in your accident. The police will make a report which can be used later if you file an insurance claim.
  4. Provide accurate information to the police. When the police interview you, be honest but do not speculate or misstate facts. You should not say “no” if you are asked whether you are injured because often injuries are not apparent until a few hours later. You can tell police you are not sure.
  5. Use your cell phone camera to take pictures to document the accident scene. Take photos of your damage and the other motor vehicle as well. Later, you can always return to the accident scene to take pictures of signage, signals and the road layout.
  6. Provide your driver’s license and insurance information with the other motorist. Obtain any witness contact information if possible.
  7. Obtain medical care. If you are injured in the accident or if you start feeling pain a day or two after your accident, you should see your doctor or visit an emergency room. If you lost consciousness, you might have suffered a traumatic head injury and, in this case, you should go to an ER room.
  8. Call your insurance company. Contact your insurance agency and report the accident, check your coverage and to find out about medical coverage, rental car coverage and any other benefits you might have.
  9. Keep records of your accident including medical receipts, who you spoke to, claim numbers, your claim’s adjuster’s contact information and receipts for car rental and any other expenses.
  10. Contact an attorney. If your injuries are serious and the accident is not your fault, you should seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney who can assist you in filing an auto accident claim. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis and will not charge you for a consultation.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We have more than 30 years experience representing car accident victims and their families.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

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