What To Do After A Car Crash

Personal Injury Attorney

Call an Experienced Injury Attorney when you can.

A motor vehicle accident (car crash) can be terrifying and confusing, leaving drivers and passengers in a state of shock and not knowing what to do next. The first priority always has to be safety and avoiding more damage. But what happens when immediate medical care isn’t required?

Here are the basic steps of what to do following an accident condensed to fit in a blog:

Make a police report, or accident report to protect yourself later. Get witness names and statements. This can be extremely important later.

Get pictures of all vehicle involved. Also take pictures of signage, traffic lights, the roadway and intersections, if relevant. Also take pictures of skid marks, injuries and anything else that might help later.

Check out nearby businesses that might have video. You have to move quickly because most video systems tape over themselves within a few days. If there is helpful video, ask the business owner to preserve it. Even better, contact an attorney to help you save the video.

Get a statement for the person who caused the accident. Ask the at fault driver if you can audio or video record a statement with your cell phone.

See a Medical Doctor ASAP. Make sure you detail all of the injuries you suffered in the accident. Start keeping a calendar describing symptoms on a pain scale of 10 with 10 being really painful.

Contact your insurance company. Do this even if the accident wasn’t your fault. Don’t talk to the other party’s insurance company.

Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you navigate the car crash and insurance system. Almost all accident attorneys will speak with you for free, and many will come to your home if you are unable to make it to their office. Best of all, accident attorneys generally don’t get paid until you do.

If you have questions about an accident, you can trust the experienced injury attorneys at Durflinger Oliver to fight to get you the best settlement possible. Call today for a free consultation. If you can’t make it to us, we’ll send one of our attorneys to your home, or hospital room. 

~ Jim Oliver, Partner

Car Crash Checklist

What To Do Right After a Car Crash –

This Car Crash Checklist will give you a convenient resource for some of what you might want to do immediately after being in a car crash, or motor vehicle accident. The most important thing to consider is that you need to be safe, and keep your passengers safe before taking any action. You will likely have questions about what else you should be doing to get the best personal injury settlement, so you should call the skilled injury attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates, (253)683-4180, as soon as you are able. If you are unable to travel to our convenient Downtown Tacoma office, we can meet you at your home, or hospital room, for your free appointment.


Date                  To Do                                                                         Name and # of Person

Can You Get Car Safely Off Road? If so, do so. Safety first. Do not put yourself in danger if it can be avoided.
Call 911 to report the car crash if you or Your Passengers need medical help.
Have your license and insurance information available, and exchange it with the other driver(s) in the collision.
Identify Witnesses, get their contact info, and indicate where they were located at the time of the collision.
Contact Law Enforcement to prepare collision report.
Photograph vehicles and area ONLY IF SAFE TO DO SO. Photograph interior of vehicles if airbags deployed, or items in car were displaced by collision.
Call for towing if your vehicle cannot be safely moved.
Go to Emergency Room if you are injured. Be careful to explain to physician, or Nurse, exactly where you hurt and whether the pain is related to the car crash.
Call your insurance agent. Ask whether you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) that covers your collision/crash. If so, ask for paperwork to open a PIP Claim.
Create a log of every person you speak with about your car crash (witnesses, insurance, doctors, healthcare experts, car repair shop).
Keep a Pain Log. Use the scale of ten to indicate how you are feeling with Ten being really bad pain, and Zero being no pain. If you have moderately bad right upper back pain on March 12, 2016, you might make a note in your log that reads: “3/12/16, Right Upper Back Pain, 6/10”. Give yourself bonus points for putting in what type of pain, such as “sharp, dull, aching, or burning”. Make sure you indicate whether the pain is related to your car crash.
Follow-up doctor appointments if necessary following your accident or car crash.
Do your home treatment as prescribed. If your doctor gives you exercises, or tells you what to do, or not do, follow his recommendations to the letter.

Medical Special Damages

Medical Specials

Medical Special Damages

Medical special damages are a key component of almost every personal injury claim. “Specials” as they are commonly called refers to the total expenses of diagnosis and medical treatment. Injury attorneys, judges, juries, arbitrators and insurance adjusters use medical specials to help determine total damages. The formula used by insurance companies depends on many factors, such as the type of medical treatment received, as well as who provided the medical care.

Different Types of Treatment

Insurance adjusters give less value to diagnoses and treatment provided by non-M.D.s. Adjusters also look at the duration and type of treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment. We recently had a motorcycle accident client who had several MRI and CT Scans, which are very, very expensive. After these diagnostic tests, our client went through relatively minor treatment. He had massive specials because of the MRIs and Scans, but a small amount of treatment. To the insurance adjuster, this combination suggested minor pain and suffering. His pain was therefore worth less than many clients who have modest diagnostic costs and significant treatment expenses and duration. Longer treatment duration, as long as it’s reasonable, suggests greater pain and suffering, and greater damages. This means that the claim’s settlement value is greater than the first client’s.

Physicians and Doctors, Hospitals and Clinics

The insurance industry specifically favors Medical Doctors and mainstream medicine provided in hospitals and medical clinics. This means that chiropractic, physical therapy, and other “alternative” treatments, are viewed as less valuable by insurance adjusters. Medical expenses from treatment by physicians is more valuable at time of settlement that expenses for treatment provided by alternative health professionals.

Treatment Duration

Generally speaking, the more treatment a person requires following an accident, and the longer an injury takes to heal, the greater the pain and suffering value of a claim. Adjusters will view a reasonable amount of treatment over a long period of time as evidence of greater damages.

That being said, most insurance adjusters think that treatments provided by chiropractors or physical therapists are of little actual value to both the patient and the claim. They believe that chripractors and physical therapists are good for little more than taking their patients’ money, which is why extensive treatment history is not viewed as evidence of the injury’s seriousness.

Call Us 253-683-4180

Durflinger Oliver & Associates PS

711 St. Helens Ave.
Suite 209

Tacoma, WA 98402

Fax: 253-683-4184

Email: jim@durflingeroliver.com

Map and Directions

Personal Injury Attorney

Martha A. McLaughlin worked as a deputy prosecuting attorney before dedicating herself to helping victims of the negligence of others. Some of the more common causes of action she litigates include slip and fall, car and truck accidents, bicycle accidents and dog bites. Martha completed her legal studies at Seattle University School of Law where she graduated with honors in 2007. Martha is well known, and well respected in the offices of every major insurance company and insurance defense firm in Western Washington.

What Is My Claim Worth

Injury claimIf you haven’t met with an accident attorney, you may be wondering how much your case is worth. The value of your Personal Injury case generally depends on the following factors:

Total Medical Bills

Lost Wages

General Damages

By adding these four factors together, you should arrive at a figure close to the value of your case.

Your Total Medical Bills includes the reasonable and necessary expenses of bills you incurred to treat for injuries related to your claim.  The terms reasonable, necessary and related mean that the bills only apply to injuries sustained in the current accident. This means that the insurance company isn’t obligated to pay for treatment for any injuries unrelated to the current accident.

Medical bills also include future medical bills that are related to the current collision.

Lost Wages is the amount of money that you did not earn because of your injuries following the collision. As with your medical bills, you are entitled to claim loss of earnings in the future if you can prove you will not be able to work, or if your earning capacity is reduced.

General Damages is usually called “pain and suffering.” It is more difficult to estimate as there is no objective way to measure your pain.  Factors to keep in mind for your general damages include inconvenience, emotional distress, pain, suffering, lowered quality of life, grief, anxiety and humiliation.  These losses can also include future damages.

There are methods to demonstrate to the insurance company the extent of your pain and suffering to estimate the value. Generally, people tend to multiply the total medical bills times 3 to estimate a value for pain and suffering. This isn’t how skilled injury attorneys calculate damages, but it’s easy for the lay person to understand.

One of the things we advise people to do after a collision is to keep a calendar or a journal and each day write down where they hurt, and how bad. For instance, a really sore neck might be recorded as “right, rear neck pain close to shoulder, 8/10.” The numeric is a scale of ten with 1 being no pain, and 10 being severe pain. Keeping this calendar will help your attorney get you more money later.

When adding up your total damages you should arrive at a number that represents a fair amount to settle your case.  However, there may be other factors that affect your settlement, so do not be surprised when the insurance company does not give you what you think is fair.

If you have questions about why the insurance company is not paying you the fair value for your claim, you can trust the personal injury attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates to give you all the information you need to make informed decisions. Your consultation is free and private, and we can meet you at your house, or hospital room. Call today.

Call Us 253-683-4180

Durflinger Oliver & Associates PS

711 St. Helens Ave.
Suite 209

Tacoma, WA 98402

Fax: 253-683-4184

Email: jim@durflingeroliver.com

Map and Directions

Injury Attorney

January 2015








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