To do list after an auto accident

What should I do after an
Oregon or Washington State Auto accident?

  • Stop. You do not want to be accused of a hit and run crime in Oregon under ORS 811.700 or in Washington State under RCW 46.52.020.
  • If you cannot stop at the scene, move your vehicle to the nearest place that does not block traffic.
  • Be polite and find out if anyone needs emergency assistance.
  • If practical, snap some cell phone shots showing the position of the vehicles upon impact and the location.
  • Document the following:
    • Addresses and phone numbers of all drivers, passengers and witnesses
    • Contact information of all vehicle owners, which may be different than the drivers
    • Driver’s license numbers of all drivers involved
    • License plate numbers of all vehicles in involved
    • Makes and models of all vehicles involved.
    • Exchange insurance information
  • If anyone is uncooperative in the exchange of information or appears to be intoxicated or dangerous, call the police. (911)  Don’t be surprised if the police refuse to come to the scene in the larger metropolitan areas if there is no serious injury or no indication that a crime has been committed.
  • After information is exchanged, take more photos of damage to all vehicles and the scene.
  • Photograph visible injuries.
  • If your vehicle is towed from the scene, take your valuables from the car with you. Or if you cannot take your valuables with you, photograph the interior of your personal property within the car.
  • Promptly obtain reasonable medical care and call 911 if emergency services are needed. Continue to seek reasonable medical care and document all of your injuries by informing your medical provider(s).
  • If your vehicle accident was in Oregon, notify the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles of the accident within 72 hours. Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report Form
  • If your vehicle accident was in Washington and no police officer investigated the collision, you will need to make a report within four days.  See: Washington State Department of Licensing
  • Contact your insurance company and notify them of the vehicle accident.  You have a duty to make a statement to your own insurance company but not the insurance company of the other party. We recommend that you speak with an attorney prior to making a statement to any insurance company.
  • Take your vehicle to an independent auto body repair shop for an evaluation and estimate for repair. If you use the repair shop that the insurance company wants to to use, you risk getting cheated on the repair.
  • Do not destroy evidence. If your vehicle is equipped with an on board computer or “black box” equivalent, make sure that it is preserved before the vehicle is demolished.
  • Contact an attorney, preferably Clark Law & Associates, LLC (503) 238-1010
  • Keep an injury diary for attorney/client communication only.