Stay calm and know your rights after a Bellingham car accident

Victims of accidents, even minor ones, know their adrenaline starts to pump immediately afterward. Even when you try to stay calm, your hands and feet might shake and your mind might buzz. An inability to stay calm after an accident can lead to more serious injuries, such as when a confused driver steps on the gas instead of the brakes or forgets to put a car in park. That’s why it’s so important to stay calm and assess the scene after an accident.

Most Common Types of Car Accidents

Most motorists will suffer at least one of the following common accidents. In fact, by car insurance industry estimates, you will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years. That’s if you’re an average driver, which, whether you’re willing to admit it or not, you likely are.

Low-speed contact accidents – Accidents that take place when vehicles move at less than 10 miles per hour; typical examples include parking lot accidents where one vehicle is unoccupied or not moving. While these accidents are typically not thought of as severe, serious injury can still occur in low speed collisions.

Rear-end collisions – When one car hits the rear of another, either due to tailgating or because the car in front of it stopped short or suddenly decelerated.

Single-vehicle crashes – Many high-speed impact collisions only involve one car, such as a car that collides with a guardrail or hydroplanes off the road. This does not mean, however, that another driver’s negligence did not contribute to the accident. Speak with a qualified Bellingham car accident attorney to determine whether you have a negligence case.

Side-impact (T-bone) collisions – These collisions take place when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another, many times when a driver runs a red light or stop sign. Because one car strikes another in an area closest to the driver and passenger, these collisions put occupants in extreme danger. Furthermore, the potential for additional collisions after the initial accident makes intersections especially dangerous places for accidents.

The negligence of other drivers can cause many common accidents. Take all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident into consideration, including the nature and extent of your injuries, to determine whether you have a case against another driver in Whatcom County.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

No one gets in a car prepared for an accident on the way to work, so a serious car accident can leave you shocked. Accordingly, take the following steps immediately after a car accident:

  • Get to safety if you can
  • Check yourself, your passengers, and others for injuries
  • Call 911 immediately if anyone was trapped or rendered unconscious, or is bleeding or complaining of pain

Next, begin the information gathering process. If the scene is safe and nobody exhibits visible or serious injuries, take pictures of the following to preserve any future personal injury or property claims:

  • The scene of the accident, including street signs
  • The license plates of the vehicles involved
  • Any vehicle damage
  • Any debris located at the scene
  • Any skid marks or road obstructions

Do not allow another driver to take pictures of your driver’s license or vehicle registration, because those items contain personal information. Do, however, politely demand to see identification that matches the description of the other drivers as well as their vehicle registration, inspection, and insurance documentation.

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