If you live in Washington State, you can get an auto accident report by filing a request with the Washington State Patrol. While you can complete this task on your own, you can also get your Washington car accident lawyer to do it for you.
Why go to the trouble of requesting a copy of your accident report? This report is often a key piece of evidence for those seeking car accident compensation. Your attorney can use it to prove that the at-fault party behaved negligently and that you qualify for financial compensation on that basis.
Requirements for Getting an Accident Report in Washington
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) provides all of the information you need to know about how to get an auto accident report in Washington State. It is a straightforward process:
- Input the information requested by their search engine (either your name and the date of the accident or the collision report number)
- Run a search of their database
- Pay the fee to purchase your accident report (this fee is currently $10.50)
Getting Help From a Washington Auto Accident Attorney
As you can see, the process for requesting a car accident report is not typically strenuous. That said, even a “minor” additional task can become a burden if you are dealing with car crash injuries, or if you cannot immediately find your report in the system for any reason.
This is one good reason to hire a traffic accident lawyer to assist with your case. They can focus on legal tasks like requesting reports so that you can concentrate on getting medical care and making big-picture decisions.
For a free legal consultation, call (725) 900-9000
Why Washington Car Accident Reports Are So Important
Any police officer who responds to a car accident is required to file a police report on that accident, per RCW § 46.52.070. This report contains a great deal of valuable information that your attorney can use when pursuing damages on your behalf, including:
- The names and contact information of everyone directly involved in the crash
- The number and types of vehicles involved
- The names and contact information of witnesses who might know something about the crash
- The date, time, and place where the collision occurred
- A timeline of events that occurred before, during, and after the accident
- The general nature of the injuries everyone sustained, including whether anyone had to be taken away by ambulance or medevac
- The name and badge number of the investigating officer
Showing the Accident Report to the Insurer
Whether you plan on suing the liable party or filing an accident claim with your PIP insurance, you will certainly have to deal with an insurance adjuster. The adjuster is responsible for investigating your case on the insurer’s behalf, and they will not authorize payment unless:
- They believe the accident happened as you say it did
- They believe that your injuries are as serious as you say they are
- They see enough evidence, such as information from the car accident report, to convince them that you have a strong and legitimate case
Putting Your Washington Car Accident Report to Good Use
The time you have to file a claim or lawsuit may depend on your course of action. According to RCW § 4.16.080, you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your insurer will have their own deadlines for when you can file a claim.
That said, you do not want to wait until the last minute. You and your Washington personal injury attorney will need ample time to:
- Allow your requests for evidence, including but not limited to the accident report, to work their way through the system
- Carefully review all available evidence for information that can strengthen your case file
- Use that case file to determine who you should sue and how much they should pay you
- Come up with a strategy that uses the available evidence to secure the right amount of compensation
- Set up a time and place to negotiate with the insurer (your attorney can represent you at all negotiations)
- Prepare to take your case to court, if the insurer refuses to offer a just settlement (your attorney can present your case at trial as well)
- Address any concerns or questions you have about your strategy or the legal process
Your Accident Report Can Prove You Need Maximum Compensation
While your auto accident report should be just one piece of evidence among many, it is often a very important part of a plaintiff’s case file. You can use it to help demonstrate your need for a wide variety of damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical costs (and related travel expenses)
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of wages
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Scarring or disfigurement
If you lost a loved one in the crash, you can use the report to help establish the cause of death and prove you qualify for wrongful death damages from the at-fault driver.
Interpreting Accident Report Data Correctly
While most car crash reports are fairly simple to read, you will need to do more than have a firm grasp on the information it contains. On top of that, you will need to:
- Determine which pieces of information support and/or are relevant to your request for damages
- Figure out how to contextualize or explain information that seems to work against you
- Present the information to the insurance company in a clear, persuasive way that leaves them no room to misinterpret or “spin” what you have told them
Your car crash attorney is used to reading and interpreting auto accident reports. They can walk you through the report and use it to come up with a sound legal strategy for your case.
Filing an Auto Accident Lawsuit in the State of Washington
An accident report can be a crucial piece of evidence if you want to prove that negligence played a role in your collision. Van Law can tell you everything you need to know about how to get an auto accident report in Washington State and how to use that report to secure fair compensation. Call us today to learn more.
No obligation consultations are always free.Let Us Help You! Call Now: (725) 900-9000
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Got in an accident at the beginning of the year and they have been awesome, especially with it being my first accident and me being like this. They have been very communicated, stayed in contact with me the whole time, giving me updates when there were any and even when there weren’t and answered any question I had. I would recommend them to anyone. Everyone I have talked to there has been very friendly. I would give them a 10 out of 10.Ethan Gullet
They made sure that my insurance company covered what I paid for them to which included the gap for my car that was totaled. My medical costs were taken care of and reduced substantially so I was able to get more on my settlement. My case manager, Will Garcia, was always helpful in assisting me and answering any questions I had. They really did an amazing job with my case. I would definitely recommend them to anyone in need of this type of legal help. Most lawyers do not help you with the recovery of the car and rental etc. They are amazing.Teresa Cuthbertson