Things To know:
Don't Give A Statement
Do not give a recorded or written statement, except to the police or your own insurance carrier.
Don't Sign Anything
Do not sign anything without an attorney reviewing it first. Insurance companies may trick you into not being compensated.
Take pictures. Take photographs of the property damage and accident scene. Take pictures of any scarring or bruising.
Don't Discuss Your Injuries
Do not discuss your injuries with the at-fault insurance company. You should discuss only the damage to your vehicle and the need for a rental car or “loss of use” compensation.
No Independent Medical Exam
Do not agree to any independent medical exam with anyone, including your own insurance company, without first speaking to an attorney.
Hire A Lawyer
By not hiring a lawyer you are leaving money on the table, Hiring a lawyer will grant you the ability to get compensated for your loss of vehicle use, medical bills and wage-loss.
Medical Attention for Auto Accident Related InjuryIf you have any doubts, seek medical attention for your injury either at the emergency room or as soon as possible with your primary care physician. Delay in care could exacerbate your injuries. Also, your injuries require documentation. Without documentation, any claim you might pursue could be adversely affected.
The Auto Accident Police Report
For many auto accidents there is a police report. Although this is certainly a good place to start, the police report in and of itself does not determine who was at fault, even if one or more drivers in the care accident were cited for a traffic violation.
The police officer investigating the car accident can cite a driver for a traffic violation, but the police officer is not a judge, and does not have legal authority to make a final determination about who was at fault.
Attorney Fees in Auto Accident Cases
Auto accident attorney fees are generally on a contingency fee basis. That is what we offer. If our client does not recover any damages, we do not get paid. The attorney fees come out of the injury settlement. But, the insurance company or governmental agency may be legally obligated to pay a pro rata share of your legal expenses if you retain an attorney. This may apply by state law, federal law, and/or contract.
Insurance Coverage for Auto Accidents
If another driver causes an auto accident you may be entitled to property damage, lost wages, medical expenses, and compensation for pain and suffering.
An injured person’s medical expenses are not awarded automatically. The injury victim must prove that the medical expenses are reasonable, related to the auto accident, and necessary. Just producing the medical bills in not adequate proof legally. An auto accident attorney can help.
The party at fault may not have enough, or any, insurance. In that event you will need to consider how to ascertain what other assets the party may have and how to establish a claim under your uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage.
If your insurance company–whether auto insurance or health insurance–paid any benefits to you and you collect from an at-fault party, then your insurance company is legally entitled to be reimbursed from the settlement. This is also true of DSHS benefits as well as worker’s comp (or “L&I”) benefits. This legal rule is called subrogation. It is important that a personal injury settlement adequately account for this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Will Pay For My Car?
If you are not the ‘at fault party’ then you are entitled to compensation for your vehicle. Typically your vehicle will be taken to get an estimate at an auto body shop. Based on that estimate the at fault party’s insurance is liable to pay for the damages caused by their driver.
Who Will Pay For My Medical Bills?
An attorney will prepare a demand letter that meticulously details how your life has been affected by the auto accident. You may be entitled to treatment on behalf of the insurance company for your injuries.
Who Will Pay For My Wage Loss?
In a car accident case, “lost wages” refers to the money you would have earned from your employer from the time of the accident to the date of settlement or judgment. … You’ll be able to recover the wages you would have earned had you not missed work while receiving medical treatment and recovering from your injuries. Typically wage loss is covered by the at fault party’s insurance.
What Is Diminished Value?
Diminished Value is the loss of a vehicle’s market value after an accident. Buyers tend to be less likely to purchase a repaired vehicle, so its value diminishes after an accident. In many cases, you are entitled to the loss in market value. Auto Loss helps by providing third party diminished value appraisals to help you potentially recover more from your insurance company.
Types Of Auto Accidents In Washington State
- Head-On Crashes: Two vehicles collide head-on, the violent impact can cause very serious injuries or death.
- Hit-And-Run Collisions: When the at-fault driver flees the scene of a collision.
- Rollover Accidents: These incidents typically occur when a vehicle is trying to avoid a collision or an object or animal in the roadway.
- Rear-End Impact: Liability for a rear-end crash typically rests on the following vehicle.
- T-Bone (Side-Impact) Wreck: Most commonly found at intersections where one driver has run a stop sign or red light.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrians are vulnerable to serious injury in a collision because they are not protected by a vehicle.
- Parking Lot Fender Bender: Parking lots are private property, which can cause a number of legal issues in the event of an accident.
- Freeway On-Ramp Or Off-Ramp Accidents: Improperly or illegally-parked vehicles can cause a serious collision on the on-ramp or off-ramp of a freeway or highway.
Common Causes Of Car Accidents
- Distracted Driving: Drivers are often distracted by the cell phones, GPS systems, etc inside of the vehicle.
Drunk Driving: Under the influence of alcohol.
- Drug Impairment: Under the influence of marijuana or other drugs.
- Dangerous Roadways: If a dangerous roadways or poor highway design.
- Teen Drivers: Inexperienced teen drivers may have a poor understanding of traffic laws.
- Reckless Driving: Vehicles traveling over the speed limit or following too closely.
- Roadway Debris: Unsecured loads can cause hazards from debris in the roadway.
- Uncontrolled Intersections: A lack of traffic control devices or signs.
- Illegal Turns: Illegal left-hand turns and U-turns at traffic signals or in uncontrolled intersections can lead to a serious accident.
- Speeding: Drivers traveling too fast for conditions.
- Snow Or Black Ice: Accident involving snow or ice on the roadway.
- Wrong-Way Drivers: Drivers who travel in the wrong direction of a road or highway.