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What should I do after my accident?

A: The first thing to do after an accident it to ensure your safety and the safety of those in your vehicle. 

After an accident, make sure you and everyone in your vehicle is not seriously injured. Next, if you are able, move your vehicle out of traffic. The best way to do this varies on what kind of road you are on. 

For instance, if you are travelling along a highway like Interstate 5 in Seattle or Interstate 405 on the Eastside, be very careful of cars travelling around you at high speeds. If you are able to safely move your car to median on either side of the road, do so. If it is too dangerous or your car will not move, safely exit the vehicle. 

It is also very important that your vehicle is able to be seen by other drivers. In the winter, evenings in Washington state come very quickly, usually between 4:30 and 6pm. This is right during rush hour, where car traffic, congestion and distractions from driving are at their peaks. The effects of dusk are also intensified on roads like Bellevue Way and Bel-Red Road, where trees and foliage block much of the sun. If you can, make sure you turn on your hazard lights, head lights, and any other light source to ensure other drivers see you and your vehicle. 

There are several things you should do after you are involved in an accident. It is important to call the police and file a report about the accident. You should also try and collect as much information and evidence as possible, including the names of drivers and their contact and insurance information. If possible, you should also take as many photos as you can. Many cell phones like iPhones or Blackberrys have digital cameras on their phones with resolutions good enough to capture much of the detail. 

Photos of damage to vehicles, as well as any injuries you or others sustained will be significantly helpful pursuing your claim. Also, be sure to record statements of any drivers involved in the accident, as well as anyone else in the vehicles or any eye-witnesses who saw the accident occur.