As most Washington motorists understand, drivers must remain focused and alert behind the wheel in order to keep themselves and all others sharing the roadways, safe. They also have to adhere to all traffic regulations, including posted speed limits and various laws that may differ from state-to-state. This doesn’t stop some people from exhibiting behaviors while driving that place other motorists and pedestrians at great risk for injury.
A major issue nowadays is distracted driving – more specifically, using hand-held electronic devices while operating motor vehicles. This type of negligence causes the loss of many lives every year. Those who survive their injuries are often left partially or fully disabled and unable to work. An immediate concern of anyone injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver is what to do following a collision.
First things first
The sound of screeching brakes and crashing metal continues to haunt many accident victims months after their collisions took place. As the event is unfolding, it can be difficult to think clearly and know what to do (and not do) after a crash. Remembering the following steps may help you remain calm and get the assistance you need:
- Stay put: The number one thing you should not do if you’re involved in a motor vehicle collision is leave the scene. Instead, stay until authorities and/or rescue workers arrive.
- Call for help If you’re able, call 911 for emergency assistance. If your injuries are so severe you cannot act on your own accord but can speak, you can ask someone nearby to contact authorities on your behalf.
- Get medical attention: Whether injuries are minor or severe, it’s always best to seek professional medical attention after a car accident. Some injury symptoms may not present themselves for days or weeks following an accident. Therefore, it’s also important to track your own condition and recovery process, and contact appropriate medical personnel for treatment if new symptoms develop over time.
- Exchange insurance information: It’s good to exchange insurance information with the person who hit you. However, it’s never a good idea to accuse that person of fault or enter into any type of argument with him or her.
- Choose those you speak with carefully: Especially if an insurance agent from another company contacts you, it’s typically best to avoid discussing your accident with anyone other than your own attorney or insurance agent. You obviously may have to answer a few questions from police or rescue workers at the scene. Beyond that, however, it’s best to let the appropriate representatives do your talking for you.
- Avoid settling a claim out of court: Generally, accepting a settlement is also something you do not want to do without first confirming that all your injuries and damages are compensated and taken care of. This is also an area where the experience and sound guidance of a personal injury attorney can serve as an invaluable asset.
Washington will soon enact a new law that makes it illegal to hold an electronic device while driving. Sadly, this is unlikely to prevent all distracted driving accidents but will hopefully decrease the number of incidents that do occur. In the meantime, anyone injured in a collision caused by someone’s negligence has every right to pursue justice against that person in a civil court.
To begin the process, a good place start is to request a consultation with an experienced Washington personal injury attorney who can investigate a claim and gather evidence that may help substantiate it in court.