Being involved in a car accident can be a frightening and disorienting experience. You are injured and trying to recover physically, but your new worry is how you will recover financially from your medical bills and lost wages. Your actions following a Seattle car accident are important, because they help determine your success or failure in a Washington personal injury claim. If you've been injured in a Seattle car accident, there are certain actions to take and actions to avoid when you consider filing a Washington personal injury claim. One of the first steps in your claim process should be to seek the advice of a trusted Seattle personal injury attorney who has experience with car accident claims. The Things You SHOULD DO After a Seattle Car Accident Request medical attention. Not all injuries are obvious immediately following a crash, and your personal injury claim will be better supported if it shows you sought treatment immediately. Call the police. The police report created at the scene will be an important piece of evidence in proving fault later on in your injury claim. Document evidence of the accident. If possible, take photographs of the scene and make sure you know where your vehicle is being towed to so it isn't destroyed. Exchange contact information. Make sure you obtain the information from the other driver(s) involved, as well as any witnesses. Contact your insurance company. Let them know about the accident and provide only the basic information. Remember you DO NOT have to accept any settlement offer or give a statement until you speak with a Seattle personal injury attorney. Consult with a Seattle car accident attorney. Your attorney can review your accident and help you negotiate a fair and comprehensive settlement with the insurance company. The Things You SHOULD NOT DO After a Car Accident Don't leave the scene. Until the police arrive and you have been given clearance to leave, leaving the scene can be a criminal offense as well as damaging to your injury claim. Don't admit fault. You should remain unbiased when asked about what happened to cause the accident. Don't admit blame yourself, but also do not blame the other parties involved as this reflects poorly on your claim. Don't throw anything away. The clothing you were wearing and any damaged property can be used as evidence of the accident and your injuries. Don't accept a settlement offer until you've had it reviewed by an experienced Seattle car accident attorney. The first settlement your insurance company offers is usually severely limited and rarely takes your long-term financial needs into account. The Importance of Evidence in a Seattle Car Accident Claim Washington is a pure comparative negligence rule state. This means your settlement is determined by your degree of fault. In a Washington personal injury claim, it is literally your word against those of the defendant. The only objective proof will be the evidence you've collected after the accident. It is important for you to have a clear record of what exactly happened and what injuries you sustained. The police report, photographs of the accident scene and your injuries, and witness statements will all be critical to your evidence in your claim. If your car is deemed a total loss, do not allow your vehicle to be destroyed until you have spoken with your Seattle personal injury attorney and are advised to do so. Keeping a written record of the accident as well as a journal of your injuries and recovery process will help keep your own testimony fresh. Remember that your own statements will serve as critical evidence for your injury claim. Some personal injury claims can take years to resolve, which is why you cannot rely solely on your memories to support your claim. Document everything related to the accident, including your medical treatments and property repairs. This will include your ongoing doctor's appointments, all bills related to your accident, records of time missed from work, and the progress of your medical treatments and rehabilitation. Your Seattle personal injury attorney can advise you on how to best organize this evidence and what other potential evidence should be preserved that is specific to your case.