If law enforcement was at the scene of your crash, they made a report as part of their investigation. If you did not call the police at the time of the accident, you should report it immediately, as Washington State law requires collision reporting. The report will also be an important piece of evidence if you decide to seek compensation with a car accident claim or lawsuit. You can also work with a Seattle car accident attorney for help gathering your police report.
If you need a copy of a police report for a car accident in Seattle, WA, you can find it online via the Washington Requests for Electronic Collision Reports (WRECR) website.
How to Report a Seattle Car Accident
According to RCW § 46.52.030, you must report any car accident in Washington State involving injuries, death, or significant property damages. If you contacted the police and they came to the scene of the crash, the officer made and filed a report. If police did not respond at the time, you will need to complete an accident report within four days of the collision.
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) is the custodian for crash reports. You can take advantage of the WSP’s Online Motor Vehicle Collision Reporting. Note the site is not compatible with smartphones. You can also make a report by contacting the nearest Seattle Police Department precinct.
As mentioned, you can search for and get a copy of your police report via the WRECR website.
What Information Is in a Car Accident Police Report?
The police report detailing your Seattle, WA, car accident will contain important information about your collision, the parties involved, and the resulting injuries and damages. Facts in the report may include the following:
- The involved parties’ names and contact information
- Driver’s license numbers
- Vehicle registration numbers
- Auto insurance information
- The date, time, and location of the crash
- Road and weather conditions
- Circumstances that may have led to the accident, such as speeding or driver distraction
- A description of the vehicle damages and the amount of any property damage claims filed
- Descriptions of personal injuries sustained by involved parties
- A record of any accident fatalities
The police officer who creates your report may ask you a few questions at the scene of the crash. You should provide the law enforcement officer with any details you can remember, as this may help build your case.
Why Do You Need a Copy of the Police Report?
Police reports are a vital piece of evidence when filing a personal injury claim for compensation after a car accident. The report documents the facts of your case, establishes a timeline, and may contain information about the cause of the wreck and who is liable.
The police report can also provide details you (or your attorney) can use to further support your personal injury claim or lawsuit, such as the names, phone numbers, and addresses of potential eyewitnesses.
What Should You Do After a Motor Vehicle Collision in Seattle, WA?
In addition to filing and obtaining a police report, you should take the following steps to protect your health and your right to compensation after a Seattle car wreck:
Get Medical Treatment
If you did not receive medical care when your crash occurred, you should do so immediately. As with the police report, seeking treatment creates an essential record for your case. Seeing a doctor also ensures you do not have undiagnosed or worsening injuries.
Explore Your Options for Pursuing Compensation From the At-Fault Party
If another party’s reckless, negligent, or wrongful actions caused your Seattle car accident, you can hold them financially liable with a claim against their auto insurance or via a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances of your crash, damages you can recover may include the following:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Vehicle repair costs (or your car’s fair market value if damages are a total loss)
- Lost income, earnings, and employment benefits
- Lost future income and lost earning capacity
- Loss of household services
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death of a loved one
Do not wait too long to explore your legal options. According to RCW § 4.16.080, you generally have three years to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Washington. The court will likely refuse your case if you do not meet this deadline. In addition, removing the threat of legal action may significantly reduce your bargaining power, so the statute of limitations can also affect your insurance claims.
Consider Consulting With a Car Accident Lawyer
You are not legally required to hire a car accident attorney to handle your claim or lawsuit. However, working with a Seattle personal injury lawyer from our law firm can send the message to the insurance company that you mean business. Our legal team can:
- Get a copy of your police report and collect additional evidence to build your case
- Identify and calculate your economic and non-economic damages
- Draft and file your insurance claims and case-related paperwork
- Handle communications with the insurance company, opposing counsel, and other involved parties
- Aggressively negotiate for fair compensation
- Prepare and file a lawsuit and represent you at trial if necessary
Common Causes of Seattle Car Accidents
The Washington State Department of Transportation reports that more than 8,000 traffic accidents occurred in Seattle in 2022. These collisions resulted in 37 fatalities and nearly 3,000 injuries. Some of the most common causes of motor vehicle collisions include the following:
- Texting and driving
- Driving drunk or high
- Illegally passing
- Making an improper left turn
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Aggressive driving
If another driver engaged in one of the above or another negligent action, you can hold them accountable. Obtaining the police report of your Seattle, WA, car accident is a good starting point for pursuing your losses with a claim or lawsuit.
Contact Jackman Law Firm About Your Seattle Car Accident
Jackman Law Firm can help you get a copy of the police report detailing your Seattle, WA, car accident. We can use the information it contains to build a claim for compensation for your personal injury or property damages.
Contact us today to learn more and take advantage of a free consultation. We take cases on a contingency-fee basis, so you only pay when we win.