Emerald City Legal Services

What to do after an accident:

Follow this detailed checklist after an accident


  • Call 911: Report Accident & Injuries
  • Don't Move Cars: Let Cops Investigate.
    • If 911 tells you to move your car, unless it's dangerous to you to leave your car where it is, like if you are on the freeway, tell 911 "No" - that you aren't moving your car until the police investigate and take a collision report. Especially if your car is blocking traffic, they will send a cop.
  • Photos: Cars, Witnesses, Driver's Licenses & Insurance Cards. 
    • Take photos of everything, starting with the witnesses and their license plates. Ask witnesses for their business cards, or name and phone number. Witnesses often leave after a few minutes so if you don't get their name and number early, you lose it. Then talk to the other driver. Take a photo of their license, their insurance information, and lots and lots of photos of their car, including the inside of their car, particularly everything in arm's reach of the driver. Take only a few photos of your car, you can get more of your car later, but at the scene is often your only chance to get photos of their car. If the other driver is injured, get a photo of that.  
  • Go to the Doctor (ER & Dr.): Get Checked Out; Injuries Often Show Up Later.
    • Go see your doctor right away. After an accident your body makes lots of adrenaline, which masks your injuries, once it wears off, you suddenly feel a lot worse; go see your doctor right away.  
  • No Recorded Statements:
    • To Anyone. Particularly to the other driver's insurance company, you have no obligation to give a recorded statement to them. Depending upon the circumstances you might have to give a recorded statement to your insurance company, but you don't have to do it right now. In the confusion that happens after an accident, just set a rule that you aren't giving any recorded statements to anyone, until you talk to a lawyer.  
  • Call A Lawyer! 206-695-2568. 
    • Remember the other driver's insurance company will want to get rid of your claim as cheaply as possible. And they will try every trick in the book. Do yourself a favor and call for a free consultation.
  • Report Accident: To Your Insurance Company.
    • You have an obligation to report the facts of the accident to your insurance company, call them and tell them the bare facts of what happened, the what, when, where, and how, of the accident. Be brief. Don't agree to a recorded statement until you talk to a lawyer. Ask them about a rental car, scheduling a property adjuster to inspect your car, and how to take your car in for repairs.  
  • Don't Talk: To Other Insurance Co.
    • Don't talk to them at all. Just tell them that you have nothing to say to them, and that your lawyer will contact them.

Quick Accident Checklist

Follow this list after an accident


● Call 911: Report it

● Don't Move Cars: Let Cops Investigate

● Photos: Cars, Witnesses, Drive Licenses & Insur Cards

● ER & Dr.: Get checked out, Injuries show up later

● No Recorded Statements: To Anyone

● Call a Lawyer! 206-695-2568

● Report Accident: To your Insur. Co.

● Don't Talk: To other insur co.

Accident Checklist