Seattle’s Vision Zero is an ambitious undertaking to eliminate traffic fatalities from car accidents by 2030. While the Rainy City has succeeded in reducing annual collision counts, there's been an alarming increase in auto accidents recently.
Vision Zero’s Limited Success and Significant Setbacks
Seattle launched Vision Zero in 2015. The project, which seeks to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2030, is underscored by three guiding principles:
- Traffic deaths and injuries are largely preventable
- People make mistakes that can have catastrophic consequences
- Collisions can be avoided through the design and implementation of a safe traffic system
In fact, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation, Seattle succeeded in lowering annual collision rates. Since 2013, the total number of crashes reported per year has dropped by nearly half.
However, Vision Zero appears to be suffering from several significant setbacks. In 2021, local law enforcement reported more than 40 traffic fatalities—the highest since 2006. Additionally, Washington state accident statistics indicate the following:
- In 2018, there were 12,362 total crashes, of which about 1,200 resulted in injuries and 19 in death.
- In 2019, there were 11,110 total crashes, of which about 1,100 resulted in injuries and 27 in death.
- In 2020, there were 6,936 total crashes, of which about 1,000 resulted in injuries and 26 in death.
- In 2021, there were 7,998 total crashes, of which about 1,300 resulted in injuries and 44 in death.
Despite Vision Zero’s limited success in reducing overall collision rates, thousands of Seattleites are injured in serious car crashes every year. While Washington’s tort system affords accident victims the right to file a claim for compensation against the at-fault motorist’s insurance company, securing a fair legal recovery can be unexpectedly difficult.
Overcoming a Seattle-Area Car Crash
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Seattle-area car crash that wasn’t your fault, take the following steps to remove any obstacles to your post-accident recovery.
The state of Washington requires any driver involved in a motor vehicle accident to submit a collision report within four days if:
- The crash caused $1,000 or more in property damage;
- The crash inflicted bodily injury; or
- The crash resulted in the death of any person.
However, even when an accident doesn’t need to be reported, survivors should still consider calling the Seattle Police Department. Since many accident-related injuries don’t present immediate symptoms, the investigating officer’s report could be used as evidence if you ever need to file a claim for medical benefits.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
You should always seek immediate medical attention after a Seattle car crash, motorcycle accident, or semi-truck collision, even if you don’t believe you were seriously injured. The inherent trauma endured in a multi-vehicle crash can send the nervous system into overdrive, so a survivor’s symptoms could be masked by adrenaline and shock. A physician could help you identify, diagnose, and treat any otherwise undetected injuries.
Additionally, consulting a health care professional after a crash could show the insurance company that you have legitimate concerns about your physical well-being and aren’t simply trying to profit from a tragic and unexpected accident.
Collect Evidence From the Crash Site
If you can remain at the crash site, try to collect evidence such as:
- Photographs of the damage to your vehicle
- Pictures of your visible injuries
- Records of the dangerous condition, or conditions, that caused or contributed to your accident
Collecting the right evidence after an accident can be difficult. However, your Seattle car crash attorney could revisit the scene to ensure that any relevant evidence is collected, preserved, and protected.
Speak to Eyewitnesses
When at-fault motorists and their insurance companies refuse to admit fault, settlement negotiations and jury trials often hinge on the availability of cooperative eyewitnesses. If you believe another person saw your accident, ask for their full name, phone number, and other contact information—their testimony could prove critical in court.
Contact an Attorney
Many people mistakenly believe they can’t afford high-quality legal representation, but this isn’t always true. The experienced legal team at Max Meyers Law has spent years protecting and upholding the rights of Seattle accident survivors. Additionally, since we operate exclusively on a contingency fee basis, we only take our payment as a percentage of your eventual settlement. If we can’t secure the compensation and justice you deserve, we’ll never ask you to reimburse us for our services.