When you are involved in an accident in Washington State, you need to call the police right away. The best way to do that is by calling 911. Once the police arrive, they will investigate the situation and try to figure out exactly what happened. This includes figuring out who was at fault in the accident, and what if any violations of traffic laws occurred.
These violations could include running a red light or a stop sign, driving on the wrong side of the road, or texting while driving, among other things. If any such violations occurred, that information will be included in the collision report, along with the name of the driver who violated any traffic laws.
Their report will also include the layout of the accident scene, visibility and road conditions, and what vehicles were involved in the accident and their condition. They will also talk to any and all witnesses at the scene and get their statements and contact information.
In addition, they’ll take notes on injuries that may have occurred as well as any damage to the vehicles. If other cars, buildings, or other things have been damaged, such as mailboxes, traffic signs and so on, that will also be included in the report, along with a diagram of the site of the accident.
Of course, they will gather personal information of the involved parties, including their names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
Moreover, the police will ask the drivers for a statement as to what happened from their perspective. Be very careful what you say, and under no circumstances admit any kind of fault when you describe the facts of the accident.
Before the officers leave, be sure to ask them for the incident report number. You can also request a phone number to get the report number or to follow up about the incident later.
Filing Your Own Police Report
What should you do if the police don’t arrive after you have called 911? You can do the next best thing and file your own police report. In fact, you should do it right away, gathering all the information mentioned above, to increase the likelihood that the at-fault party accepts the responsibility.
In addition to gathering the above-mentioned information, you should also take pictures of the scene of the accident, any damage to the cars from different angles, and any injuries that can be seen.
Also use your cell phone camera to record witness statements as well as the other party’s admissions of having been at fault, with their permission and if you can get them. Furthermore, if you can, ask them to sign a statement where they admit their fault.
Do You Have to File a Police Report?
In case you wonder whether you really have to file a police report if the police don’t show up, the answer is yes, provided there is at least $1,000 in property damage. Washington state law requires that you do so unless an officer at the scene files a Police Traffic Collision Report.
When it comes to the amount of property damage, keep in mind that car repairs are always far more expensive than you would expect, so be sure to err on the safe side when you decide whether to file a report.
You should always call the police if there has been an injury of any kind or even a death. If you don’t, you could risk having your license suspended, fines, or even jail time.
How to Get Your Washington State Patrol Collision Report
After your Washington State Patrol Collision Report has been filed, you can get a copy of it for your files and your lawyer. There are two ways to get it, online and by mail, and it is very easy.
Note that it may take from 2 to 4 weeks until the report is actually available to be requested, but once it is available, it will be ready in minutes when you request it. Of course, you can also contact the police station that first created the report at the accident scene.
Get Your Report Online
Just go to the Washington State Patrol website, where you can submit your request. All you need is a computer, internet access, and an email account. You can request your report by providing the first and last name of the person involved in the accident as well as the date of the accident. If you have the collision report number, you can also provide that number in your search.
Once the report appears, you can add it to your cart. You will also be asked about how you were involved in the accident. After that, you get to the checkout and payment page. The report costs $10.50.
Get Your Report by Mail
You can also get your collision report by mail. Here is the link for the required form:
Fill in the form completely, including the collision information and your role in the accident. Then include a check or money order for the $10.50 fee and mail it to the address shown on the form.
The form also includes a phone number and an email address, in case you have questions.
Talk to an Automobile Accident Attorney
As soon as possible after your accident, contact an experienced automobile accident attorney to get help with getting compensated for your injuries and other losses. Call us or send us an email to schedule a free case evaluation. We’ll be happy to talk with you.