What Happens After a Car Accident: The Process & Time Limits
Did you know that 5,250,837 accidents resulting in 35,000 fatalities occur in the United States every year? Hello, I’m Ziad Youssef, the principal, and founder of Bellingham Injury Law, PLLC. For nearly 20 years, I have been helping drive justice home for victims of auto accidents. Each client I’ve represented has had their own journey and unique story, but they all share one thing in common: They want just compensation for the life-changing experience that comes from being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. In my blog, and on my “Monday Morning Legal Minute Podcast”, I discuss the unique lessons I’ve learned in nearly 20 years of representing victims of serious auto accidents.
What happens after a car accident?
When you’ve been injured in a car accident by a negligent driver, you have a right under Washington State law to be compensated for your injuries. It is important to understand that there are certain steps you must take to ensure you follow all applicable laws, as well as make important decisions to fight for the compensation you deserve. The steps you take immediately following a car accident, as well as in the following days and months, will determine how strong your claim for compensation for your injuries is.
What are the steps you’re supposed to take after a car accident?
Immediately following a car accident, there are several steps you should take whether or not the accident is your fault:
- Check yourself and/or your passengers for injuries and promptly seek medical care.
- Get to a safe place. If your vehicle is in the roadway, get yourself off to the side of the road and away from any oncoming traffic, and don’t worry about your vehicle.
- Call 911 regardless of the severity of the accident. This is one of the single most important steps in the process of a potential car accident damages claim.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Make sure you make a note of the location of the accident, get the driver’s full name and address, driver’s license information, license plate number, insurance policy information, and also make note of the make and model of their vehicle.
- Take pictures of the scene with your cell phone. Make sure to take pictures of the scene of the accident, all vehicles involved in the accident, and any injures you and/or your passengers have sustained.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. This doesn’t mean you’re filing a claim, rather, it is required under your insurance policy.
- Do not speak to the other driver about the accident other than to exchange information. Anything you say to them can be used against you in any claim you make for compensation from them and/or their insurance company.
How much time do you have to take legal action?
Time is a key factor in taking legal action after being injured in a car accident. Every state has what is known as a Statute of Limitations to file nearly all legal actions, and the Statute of Limitations to bring a case related to a car accident in the state of Washington is 3 years. Even if you don’t initially discover any injuries after your accident, there could be lingering issues that will creep up and cause you undue burden down the road. The 3-year deadline to bring a personal injury case involving a car accident begins on the date of the accident, not when you find out about any injuries. That’s why it is important to get in touch with an experienced auto accident injury attorney right away.
If you or someone you love was injured in an auto accident, you need an experienced auto accident injury attorney to help fight for the compensation you deserve. Let Bellingham Injury Law handle your auto accident case so you can focus on your recovery. We work on a “no win, no fee” basis, which means you don’t pay us a dime unless we win your case. Your story matters to us and we listen, fight, and drive justice home for you. Remember, accidents happen, but with Bellingham Injury Law you won’t be left stranded on the roadside!
Call us now at (360) 255-5046 to schedule your free consultation.