Were You Injured Because Of Someone Else's Negligence? Browse Our FAQs
In addition to coping with a lot of stress and frustration, personal injury cases also come with a lot of questions. Here are some of the questions we hear the most at Max Meyers Law.
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After an accident, how do I get records for a truck driver's training and certifications?
Driving a commercial truck comes with significant responsibilities. Not only are drivers tasked with safely getting expensive cargo from Point A to Point B on time, but they’re also in control of an enormous 80,000-pound vehicle that can reach speeds of 70-80 mph. One mistake while behind the wheel could cause catastrophic injury and death.
In order to minimize accidents and keep the roads safe, there are numerous federal and state regulations involving truck driver licensure, training, and certification. Additionally, trucking companies also put safety measures into place to ensure their fleet is in the best hands—and to protect against liability. After a serious collision with a commercial vehicle, a skilled WA truck accident attorney will investigate a series of factors to prove fault. One of the most common is a company uses due diligence to confirm a truck operator’s training and certification.
We outline truckers’ commercial operator requirements and other required certifications and training, and explain why this information is imperative to your truck accident settlement.
CDL Training Requirements In Washington State
In Washington State, obtaining a Class A commercial driving license (CDL) that allows you to drive full-sized tractor-trailers requires 160 hours of overall instruction, including:
- 70 hours of combined lab, range, and observation training
- 40 hours of classroom instruction
- 18 hours of street driving
- 16 hours of backing maneuvers
- 16 hours of proficiency training
Receiving a Class B CDL (for smaller vehicles like box trucks) or Class C CDL (for carrying 16 passengers or more) requires 80 hours of various forms of instruction. There are also several other types of CDLs available for drivers of passenger buses, school buses, and Hazmat vehicles.
In addition to the training hours, earning a CDL requires all holders to be 18 years or older, have a valid Washington driver’s license, and complete a knowledge test and a skills test. Drivers must also pass vision and hearing tests.
It’s important to note that while the operators of smaller vehicles, such as delivery trucks, are only licensed within Washington State, long-haul truck drivers may travel across state lines and received their CDL under the requirements of a different state.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Truck Driver Requirements
In addition to state requirements, there are federal regulations related to driving a truck as well — even if a trucker’s vehicle doesn’t leave the state. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires the following of commercial truck drivers:
- Proof of citizenship or lawful residency
- Proof of a valid driver’s license in one state
- A completed driving skill test in a vehicle similar to the one used on the job
- Proof of residence in the state where the CDL is issued
- Education on whistleblower protection, driver wellness, driver qualifications, and legal hours of service
Truck Company Employee Requirements
Trucking companies also have extensive requirements for drivers. While these vary by employer and cargo, common stipulations include:
- Valid CDL for the vehicle the person will operate
- Review of 10 years of driving records
- A medical exam that includes blood pressure, blood sugar, and overall fitness to drive
- Background check
- Proof of ability to lift a certain weight
- On-the-job training, such as shadowing other drivers
Who’s Liable for Your Truck Accident Damages?
It’s a common misconception that a traffic accident is the fault of one driver or the other. In fact, some large truck wrecks are caused by numerous parties, many of which aren’t physically present at the crash like the vehicle operators are. For example, a trucking company may be to blame if it overloaded the vehicle, had a driver work an illegal number of hours, or didn’t investigate a driver properly before hiring them. At Max Meyers Law, our team conducts a thorough investigation to determine if any of the following parties may be at fault:
- The trucker
- A truck operator’s employer
- The cargo loading company
- A maintenance company or crew
- A truck part manufacturer
- The owner of the truck cab
- The owner of the trailer
In some cases, a local, county, or state municipality could be liable if inadequate road conditions contributed to the accident.
Truckers Who Should Never be Behind the Wheel
There are many truck driver training and certifications required to keep everyone safe. When these regulations are ignored or cheated, people can become seriously injured or killed. It’s easy to understand that some truck accidents happen due to reckless driving, driving under the influence, or distracted driving. But some commercial vehicle crashes happen for other reasons including, but not limited to:
- A trucker didn’t have a valid CDL
- They weren’t properly licensed or trained to operate the vehicle involved in the accident
- A truck operator lied about their license and their company never investigated it
- An employer didn’t investigate a trucker’s history of driving offenses
- A truck driver had a medical issue that compromised their abilities
- An employer never completed a thorough background check on its driver
How Max Meyers Investigates Truck Drivers
At Max Meyers Law, we always tell motorists to refrain from taking blame or apologizing after a truck wreck. Why? Because the causes of traffic incidents—especially commercial semi-truck accidents—are more complex than they seem. In fact, the party responsible for economic and non-economic damages in your case, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even wrongful death, might not even be at the scene of the accident.
Our legal team is committed to getting to the bottom of your case. That includes investigating the truck driver or drivers to ascertain their licenses, training, and certifications, as well as examining the fleet company’s hiring process and knowledge of the operator’s record. With all of the evidence, we find that the true causes of the crash, and its consequences, become clear.
When Should I Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?
Even minor car accidents can feel overwhelming—and major crashes that involve significant personal injury and property damage can turn your whole life upside down. Because of the stress, confusion, pain, and anxiety of the situation, it can be tempting to make everything go away as soon as possible by simply agreeing to whatever the insurance companies offer, not trying to determine what you’re owed under the law, and just getting everything over with without asking questions.
If you genuinely want to receive the compensation you legally deserve after a traffic collision that wasn’t your fault, you need to speak to a Washington car accident and injury attorney. Not only can we determine your damages accurately, but we can fight insurers and argue your claim while you focus on what’s truly important: recovering from your injuries and getting back to your everyday life.
However, if you never contact us, we can’t help you. Below, we outline when it’s okay to skip calling a car accident attorney, when you should pick up the phone after a wreck, and why it’s better to be cautious and consult a legal professional.
The Right Time to Call a WA Car Accident Attorney
This answer is easy: as soon as possible. The more time you let pass, the greater the chance that essential details will be missed. Additionally, insurance companies will push on building a storyline that negates your claim, even if you weren’t at fault. Also, remember that Washington has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This deadline outlines how long you have to file a claim, which is three years from the date of the incident.
The following should be your top priorities ASAP after a traffic collision.
Getting Medical Attention
Your health and safety surpass everything, even getting legal help! If you were injured in an accident, go to the emergency room as soon as you can to be evaluated and treated, even if you believe any injuries are only minor (post-accident adrenaline can trick you into thinking you feel fine). It’s just as important to follow through on all appointments, treatments, medications, and therapies that medical professionals assign you
Collecting Information and Evidence
After your car crash, having as much information as possible is key to arguing your case later. While at the scene, if you’re not too hurt, be sure to get the names and contact information of the other drivers as well as any witnesses or responders. Also, if you’re healthy enough, take pictures of the scene and any damage.
Contacting a Lawyer
Your third priority should be to request a free consultation with a local injury attorney. Do this before you talk to insurance companies or make any official, recorded statements about what happened. An initial conversation with most accident lawyers is free, and can put you on the right path to getting the compensation you deserve.
Car Accidents That Don’t Require an Attorney
A limited number of crashes don’t require the help of a Washington car accident attorney. For example, if your crash meets the parameters below, you likely don’t need legal help.
- You weren’t injured.
- No one else at the scene was injured.
- The damage to your car and other involved vehicles is superficial or minor.
- The other party was clearly at fault and all parties agree to this fact.
- You didn’t miss a significant amount of work
- You didn’t incur any significant damages from the accident.
However, even if all of the above is true, it never hurts to contact an attorney experienced in this area of law for a free consultation to make sure you have all your bases covered and can handle resolving a claim without legal help.
Car Accidents That Often Require an Attorney
So when is it necessary to have legal counsel after a traffic accident? Usually in circumstances that involve significant injuries and damages, or when there’s a need to determine negligence or prove fault. So reach out for a consultation if:
- You and/or someone else in the crash were injured.
- Your loved one lost their life in the accident.
- There was serious damage done to vehicles or property at the scene.
- The insurance company denied your claim.
- An insurance adjuster is asking for a recorded statement.
- Fault isn’t crystal clear.
- You missed a significant amount of work and income because of the incident.
- You experienced other damages in the accident that may be difficult to calculate.
- You suffered injuries that are likely permanent.
Even if you believe you’re being treated fairly in this situation, an experienced Washington attorney like the professionals at Max Meyers Law can verify that you’re getting everything you deserve—and on a reasonable timeline. They can also look at the evidence and calculate your damages accurately as someone who is on your side and on your team.
How a Kirkland Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Sometimes it might feel like contacting a Kirkland car accident attorney is an extra step in an already complicated process, requiring more work. But in reality, an injury lawyer intends to make everything easier so you receive proper compensation and justice.
While it can be scary or intimidating to make the first call, the benefits are significant. A knowledgeable attorney can:
- Has only your best interests in mind.
- Acts as your advocate from the beginning to the end of your case.
- Navigate the details of Washington state traffic accident laws.
- Answer any questions you may have about the legal process surrounding your case.
- File the claim and stay on top of other necessary documentation.
- Handle all communication with insurance companies for you.
- Accurately determine the amount of compensation you deserve.
- Make certain your case moves forward so the statute of limitations doesn’t expire.
- Prepare for and defend your case before a judge and jury, if necessary.
- Give you peace of mind that you’ve approached your case correctly.
If you aren’t sure if you need an attorney in the wake of your accident, simply request a free consultation. At Max Meyers Law, our legal team listens to your story and examines the facts, then lets you know if you’ll benefit from legal representation or if you can handle the process yourself with good results.
What damages can I get if I'm permanently disabled in a truck accident?
Anyone who has been in a fender bender knows what a mess it can cause to your health, finances, and daily life. It can involve dozens of calls to various insurance companies, weeks to get your car repaired, and even minor injuries that take time to heal.
But now imagine you’ve suffered permanent injuries in a Kirkland truck accident that wasn’t your fault. The process of physical, emotional, and financial recovery is heartbreaking and incredibly stressful. What avenues of restitution are available for your damages? The skilled Washington truck accident legal team at Max Meyers Law is ready to help you through the overwhelming process of holding the liable parties responsible.
What Is a Permanent Disability?
It’s any type of injury that has a lasting, lifelong effect. Rarely are you able to fully restore your health as it was prior to the semi-truck crash.
If an injury greatly impacts your well-being, changes your ability to move through the world, or alters all aspects of life you previously enjoyed, it’s a permanent disability. Certain permanent injuries may reduce your ability to pursue a career, enjoy hobbies, care for your family, or independently care for yourself.
Millions of people with disabilities find ways to adapt, flourish, and live happy and fulfilled lives. However, it’s imperative to remember that if your permanent disability was caused by another party’s negligence, they could be responsible for the costs of your condition. You have a right to seek justice and proper compensation.
Why Truck Crashes Can Cause Permanent Disabilities
A commercial truck, usually more than 50 feet long, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo. Hitting one with your car, even a large SUV, is like smashing into a concrete wall.
Even simple fender-benders that wouldn’t usually cause serious damage can turn fatal if a tractor-trailer is involved. Certain types of truck accidents often cause more severe and permanent injuries than others:
- Head-on truck crashes
- Rollover truck crashes
- T-bone accidents
- Pile-up truck accidents
Types of Permanent Disabilities Caused by Truck Crashes
When your vehicle collides with a truck, your body experiences blunt force trauma by coming into contact with parts of your own vehicle, parts of the truck, or in some cases, objects outside of the colliding vehicles, like the road. This impact breaks bones, tears flesh, and harms vital organs, such as the brain, spinal cord, and heart.
Common medical conditions people suffer in large truck and tractor-trailer accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sensory issues, like blindness or deafness
- Nerve damage
- Complete or partial limb amputation
- Back and neck injuries
- Severe burns
- Psychological trauma
Permanent Disability Damages After a Kirkland Truck Accident
There are astronomical costs associated with catastrophic permanent disabilities. Your compensation claim needs to include not only the immediate recovery costs, but also long-term care, potential lost wages, and more. Here are some key economic damages a knowledgeable truck accident attorney will evaluate when preparing your case.
Everything from the ambulance ride to the hospital to initial care, diagnostic tests, and surgeries should be paid for by the insurer for the at-fault party, whether it’s the large truck driver, the transportation company, or another entity.
Future medical bills
In addition, the settlement should factor in rehabilitation costs, ongoing care, and follow-up surgeries.
Many people who live with permanent injuries from truck crashes require regular medication for pain, trauma, or organ issues. Some may also take medication for PTSD, depression, or anxiety.
Individuals with the most serious permanent disabilities—such as spinal cord damage and paralysis—may need part-time or full-time nursing care to attend to daily tasks like brushing their teeth, making a meal, or bathing. This care could last until the end of their life.
Home alterations and accommodations
Many permanent injuries require special accessories or living arrangements. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair after a truck accident will now require a ramp, bars in the bathroom, large door frames, and other home alterations. They’ll also need special supplies and accommodations for the rest of their life.
Lost wages and loss of earning potential
Sometimes when a person’s health suddenly changes, they lose the ability to continue their career. Not only do they lose wages for every day they can’t work while recovering from their injuries, but they also lose future earning potential. A permanent disability damages claim after a truck accident should take into account the victim’s lost wages and future earnings as well as any re-training or schooling necessary to return to the workforce.
The Hidden Costs Of Permanent Disability
It’s critical to your wellbeing to choose a truck accident attorney you can trust to evaluate these essential non-economic damages in your case.
Pain and suffering
It’s easy to know how much a wheelchair costs, but it’s harder to put a price tag on the pain of having your legs crushed in an accident or the suffering you endure if you can no longer care for yourself independently. The legal system has specific ways of calculating an injury survivor’s pain and suffering so they may be compensated for it.
The consequences that a devastating accident and permanent injury can have on your mental health can be equally as dire as physical injuries. Survivors can suffer from anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD after their large truck crash, and these issues may last a lifetime. They may also require therapy, in-patient care, and medication.
Loss of marital relationship
In some cases, a physical disability might mean that you can no longer enjoy a sexual relationship with your partner. This type of loss is hard to put a numerical value on.
Loss of quality and enjoyment of life
Having a permanent disability might limit life experiences you can engage in, from playing baseball in the backyard with your child or hiking a mountain. More importantly, it might compromise your independence, such as being able to feed yourself or go to the restroom alone.A permanent injury drastically changes the trajectory and ease of your entire life. If you were hurt in a commercial vehicle accident that wasn’t your fault, we encourage you to review our settlements and verdicts to understand how we’ll assign value to your case and work diligently to secure the justice you deserve.
How will I pay for my surgery after a motorcycle accident?
Even at low speeds, Seattle motorcycle accidents often cause serious injuries to the rider. Without the common safety protections provided in cars—such as seat belts, airbags, and a metal cage—riders are subjected to more instances of blunt force trauma, fractures, damaged organs, spinal cord injuries, and brain injuries. Many of these injuries – from torn ACLs to broken wrists to broken necks – require surgery.
How can you afford these expensive surgeries, and who is ultimately responsible for the bill at the end of the day? It’s essential to know all your options for how to pay for surgery after a motorcycle accident—including holding the at-fault driver liable for injury compensation.
Using Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay Coverage
Some people assume that if they have car insurance or motorcycle insurance, it covers any expenses related to accidents that they have. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily true, and the vast majority of people don’t carry enough insurance or the right type to cover all accident injury expenses.
Some motorcycle riders in Washington may have optional Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay as part of their vehicle insurance plan. PIP covers medical bills and other expenses, like lost wages, while MedPay only covers medical expenses.
However, it’s important to note that motorists and motorcycle riders aren’t required by Washington state law to carry PIP. Although most insurers are mandated to offer it, riders can reject the coverage in writing.
Unless you’ve elected for more coverage, PIP plans often only cover the first $10,000 of medical costs. The surgery or surgeries that you require after a crash may be significantly more than that, especially in addition to other medical expenses such as:
- Emergency room treatment
- Ambulance rides
- Doctors’ visits
- Medical equipment
- Therapy and rehabilitation
How to Pay for Surgery After a Motorcycle Accident: Health Insurance Coverage
Your private or public health insurance plan may be another option for paying for surgeries related to motorcycle crash injuries. However, you shouldn’t assume all your medical costs will be covered by insurance. As you might know from past experience, health insurance often only kicks in after you hit an annual deductible, and many plans require copays or for you to pay a certain percentage of costs.
In addition, your insurance may not cover certain medications, medical equipment, and other associated costs of surgery and recovery, like lost wages.
The bottom line? Even with PIP, MedPay, and health insurance coverage, the surgeries you require for full recovery are expensive.
Responsibility of the Parties at Fault to Compensate for Your Injuries
In Washington, the individual or entities found liable for the accident should also be held responsible for footing the bill. Clearly establishing who was at fault for your bike accident is vital for getting your surgery costs covered and reimbursed—and a skilled motorcycle injury lawyer may be able to help you do that.
In many cases, a few of your early medical expenses may be covered by a PIP or MedPay plan. Then, if you have health insurance, it might also cover some or most of your medical expenses like surgery, depending on your policy.
However, if you file a claim and have the at-fault party’s insurance coverage pay for your medical expenses, you’ll be paid for your out-of-pocket costs and your insurer is reimbursed for its payments as well.
Paying for Future Medical Costs
It’s imperative to keep in mind that medical costs don’t end after your initial trip to the emergency room or after surgery. Treatment expenses can continue for days, months, or even years after a motorcycle accident. You may require ongoing medications, rehabilitation, or follow-up surgeries—and these costs add up.
For this reason, you must ensure that your legal team thoroughly calculates and secures compensation for your past, current, and future medical needs when filing a motorcycle accident claim.
Think Before Signing Settlement Offers
Insurance companies often attempt to save money by quickly sending motorcycle crash victims settlement offers after a crash, especially if it’s obvious their policyholder was at fault. These settlement offers frequently underestimate all related medical expenses—and signing these offers may result in you getting stuck with more costs in the future.Be sure to speak with a knowledgeable Seattle motorcycle accident attorney before giving statements about your accident to insurers and definitely prior to accepting any offers.
Should I pursue a dram shop claim in Washington after a drunk driving accident?
Almost everyone knows that drinking and driving is not only against the law but also patently unsafe. However—and despite years of legislation—a stunning percentage of Americans admit to having driven a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And with alarming regularity, accidents happen.
Under Washington state law, drunk driving accident victims have a legal right to file a claim for compensation against the person or party who caused their accident. When restaurants, bars, and social hosts continue to serve alcohol to clearly intoxicated visitors or to minors, they could be held liable for the costs of their own negligence.
Washington State’s Dram Shop Laws
The Evergreen State, along with most other states, has enacted “dram shop” legislation. Dram shop laws provide a critical opportunity for accident victims to file legal claims against third parties that enable or otherwise facilitate an intoxicated motorist’s inebriation.
In Washington, dram shop claims are often categorized as either of the following:
- First-party dram shop claims. This is a lawsuit filed against a commercial establishment—perhaps a bar or nightclub—that sells or serves alcohol to a person under 21 years of age, resulting in injury to the minor.
- Third-party dram shop claims. This lawsuit is filed against a commercial establishment that serves alcohol to a person who’s already intoxicated, resulting in injury or death to another party.
Dram shop laws demand that any person or business that serves alcohol presume that a heavily intoxicated person could cause injury to themselves or others. When representatives of bars and other establishments neglect their legal responsibilities and endanger the public, they could be held liable for the costs of any resulting accident.
Social Host Liability in Washington State
Washington’s dram shop laws provide accident victims with an opportunity to recover damages from irresponsible commercial businesses.
However, dram shop laws cannot typically be used to file a personal injury lawsuit against a private party—or social host—who serves alcohol to invited guests. Under most circumstances, a social host can only be found liable for accident-related damages if they serve alcohol to visitors under the age of 21.
The Potential Defendants in a Dram Shop Claim or Social Host Liability Lawsuit
Some accidents are simply unavoidable. However, when another person or party’s negligence causes an accident, they could be held responsible for the costs of any accident-related injuries.
The potential defendants in a drunk driving or dram shop claim include, but aren’t limited to:
- An intoxicated driver
- Social host
If successful, a dram shop personal injury lawsuit could provide victims with the resources needed to begin rebuilding their lives.
Damages Awarded in Dram Shop Claims
If a Washington court finds that a drunk driver or dram shop defendant is liable for an accident, it may award damages to the victim, which are defined as compensation for injuries caused by a negligent third party. Injuries can be physical, financial, or emotional.
Damages are typically categorized as any of the following:
- Economic damages. This award provides financial recovery for objective, tangible losses, including reimbursement for paid medical expenses, compensation for anticipated care, and lost income from work.
- Non-economic damages. These cover comparably intangible losses, such as emotional pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment.
- Punitive damages. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are a court- or jury-imposed award intended to punish an incredibly negligent defendant.
Washington, unlike some states, currently doesn’t cap the damages available in most dram shop claims. However, a strict statute of limitations applies to most personal injury claims. If you wait too long to contact an experienced Seattle-area dram shop attorney, the statute of limitations could lapse, and your claim could be dismissed on a technicality.
Can the insurance company spy on me after I file a motorcycle accident claim?
After an accident, motorcyclists face a high risk of sustaining severe and potentially life-altering injuries. Even when a full physical recovery seems likely, unexpected medical debt accumulates quickly. With the high costs of health care only continuing to rise, any accident—no matter how minor—could leave individuals on the verge of insolvency.
Motorcycle accident victims don’t need to pay the price for someone else’s negligence. Under Washington state’s tort-based insurance system, motorcyclists injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault have a legal right to file a claim for compensation. However, insurance company surveillance is a common tactic used to reduce or even deny a claim.
Insurance Companies and Surveillance
Accidents can be expensive. Since most Americans cannot afford to pay collision-related expenses out-of-pocket, every state—with the exception of New Hampshire—requires motorists to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance.
Since Washington has a fault-based insurance system, motorcycle accident victims can file a claim for compensation against the at-fault motorist’s insurance company. However, insurance companies are fundamentally for-profit enterprises. While obliged to offer benefits to an injured rider, rarely do they offer a fair settlement without first issuing an investigation. During this process, an adjuster assigned to your claim could:
- Ask you to provide a recorded statement, hoping your narrative diminishes the company’s liability.
- Demand your consent to supposedly “independent” medical examinations, often scheduled with a physician known to write off accident-related injuries as “pre-existing” conditions.
- Contract private investigators, whose sole responsibility is uncovering evidence that an accident-related injury is being exaggerated or misrepresented.
Even if you have the necessary evidence to establish the other driver’s fault and substantiate your injuries, their insurance company could proactively search for a reason—any reason—to undermine your claim, watching your every move until you make a mistake. This surveillance can be intrusive, inconvenient, and unnerving.
Unfortunately, the practice is largely legal. So long as the insurance company’s investigators don’t trespass upon your property or attempt to enter your place of business, they may follow you, photograph you, and even take videos of you.
How Insurance Investigators Keep Tabs on Motorcycle Accident Claimants
Here are just a few ways insurance investigators sometimes keep tabs on motorcycle accident claimants.
Pictures and Video Footage
When an adjuster believes a motorcycle accident claim has been exaggerated or falsified, they could contract a private investigator to monitor an individual in many ways, such as when they:
- Run errands
- Go to the gym
- Take a vacation
If the investigator finds a claimant participating in activities that wouldn’t be possible if the injury were genuine, they’re permitted to take pictures or covertly create a video record to use as evidence in later negotiations.
Interviewing the Victim’s Associates
Insurance company surveillance sometimes includes soliciting interviews from people it believes could have knowledge about the motorcycle accident victim’s physical well-being. Potential interviewees include:
- Friends and family members
During investigative interviews, an adjuster may ask questions about the individual’s routines, habits, and lifestyle. The purpose of such interviews is to determine any inconsistencies between the victim’s claims and their post-accident actions.
Monitoring the Victim’s Social Media
After an accident, investigators may seek limited access to the victim’s social media accounts, including:
- YouTube profile
While social media has many advantages, an unsecured account can act as a veritable treasure trove of information for insurance investigators, who could use vacation pictures, routine updates, and location check-ins as evidence that a claimant has exaggerated their injuries.
How much insurance money should I get after a Seattle motorcycle accident?
Motorcycle crashes can have life-altering consequences. After an accident, victims often struggle to regain control of their lives and reestablish their independence. While Washington state law affords survivors the right to file a claim for compensation against the person or party who caused their accident, obtaining damages can prove unexpectedly difficult. There are three critical factors that affect your motorcycle accident claim—here’s what you should know.
Assessing Damages and Estimating Compensation in a Seattle-area Motorcycle Crash Claim
Washington has a tort-based insurance system. Under the Evergreen State’s at-fault insurance laws, accident victims may file a claim for compensation against the motorist who caused their crash. However, securing fair compensation—even in an at-fault insurance state—poses considerable challenges. It might seem you have an open-and-shut case, yet your settlement’s size and success could be contingent on the following factors.
Determination of Fault
Establishing fault after a Washington motorcycle accident is potentially difficult if there weren’t eyewitnesses and physical evidence is inconclusive. Unless the other motorist is willing to admit they made a mistake, it could be your word against theirs.
Since insurance companies are fundamentally for-profit enterprises, they often seize any excuse—no matter how minor—to devalue or deny compensation. If their client claims the accident wasn’t their fault, they could try to pressure you into accepting a lowball settlement by demanding never-ending evidence of your injuries, paid medical expenses, and other damages.
Insurance Coverage Limits
Washington state law requires any person who owns a motor vehicle or motorcycle to purchase liability insurance that meets or exceeds the following amounts:
- $25,000 for injuries or death to another person.
- $50,000 for injuries or death to other persons.
- $10,000 for property damage.
Even if you can establish that the other motorist definitively caused your Seattle-area motorcycle accident, your recovery could be limited—at least initially—by their policy limits. However, if your damages exceed the at-fault motorist’s coverages, you could still obtain additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
While it may not be fair—or even particularly sensible—anti-motorcycle bias exists, and it can present a significant impediment to accident victims’ rights. When insurance adjusters, judges, and juries are impacted by anti-motorcycle bias, they may be more inclined to believe that the motorcyclist’s own misconduct caused or contributed to the accident.
Since Washington has enacted comparative negligence laws, any finding of fault—even partial fault—could chip away at an injured victim’s award, depriving them of the same compensation they need to eradicate their medical debt or replace lost income from missed work.
How a Washington Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Helps Fight for Your Rights
Insurance negotiations are rarely straightforward. However, you don’t have to entrust your physical health and mental well-being to an adjuster who may be more motivated by profit margins than your pain and suffering. A savvy Washington motorcycle accident lawyer stands up for your rights by:
- Assessing your damages. Currently, the state doesn’t cap damages available to motorcycle accident claimants. Your lawyer could help review your medical bills, total your property damage, and consult with health care professionals to determine your long-term and continuing care needs. We will only begin negotiating a settlement after we comprehensively understand the resources necessary to reclaim your independence.
- Analyzing evidence from the crash site. Your attorney is an essential ally in analyzing evidence from the accident site, such as photographs of your visible injuries or vehicle damage. If you were unable to collect evidence from the scene of the crash, we could dispatch investigators to preserve any evidence that might otherwise be lost or disposed of.
- Interviewing eyewitnesses. Eyewitness testimony can make or break a motorcycle accident claim. We provide assistance by interviewing eyewitnesses whose information you have already collected, or locating potential witnesses who may have seen the collision firsthand.
- Negotiating a fair settlement. An experienced Washington motorcycle attorney has spent years litigating claims against insurance companies and negligent motorists. Your lawyer should know what to expect going into negotiations and have the means to overcome even the most vigorous of defenses.
Why is the insurance company delaying my car accident claim?
In the aftermath of a serious Washington car accident, survivors often look to the at-fault motorist’s insurance company to recompense. However, negotiating a fair settlement is rarely easy. Even if you have a seemingly open-and-close case, the adjuster could take days, weeks, or even months to offer a settlement—a settlement that may fall short of your expectations, leaving you in debt and on the brink of financial insolvency.
Understanding Why Insurance Companies Delay Negotiations
Washington State requires every vehicle operating on public roads to be supported by liability coverage. Under the state’s fault-based insurance system, this liability coverage can be used to pay down the costs of an accident.
However, insurance companies often have motivations beyond good-faith negotiations. While they might have a legal obligation to provide compensation, they sometimes try to delay payment for as long as possible. A carrier might delay a claim for any one or more of the following reasons:
- The adjuster needs additional evidence to adjudicate or make a formal decision on the claim.
- The adjuster believes a claim is either fraudulent or exaggerated.
- The insurance company wishes to avoid incurring a loss and hopes the victim will either grow tired of never-ending negotiations and accept a lower settlement or simply bear the accident and medical expenses out-of-pocket
Some claims—especially claims relating to serious, life-altering injuries—take time to assess and adjudicate. The adjuster may be obliged to obtain, inspect, and evaluate a wide range of evidence, from crash scene data to medical records. Depending on the severity of an accident, simply poring over this paperwork can take weeks.
However, some delays have less to do with formalities than the insurance carrier’s own financial incentives. Since these companies are fundamentally for-profit enterprises, they may seek to preserve their profit margins by intentionally taking time to even initiate negotiations.
How Insurance Companies Create Self-Serving Delays
If the carrier wishes to avoid making an offer, it could fabricate delays by:
Demanding Endless Amounts of Evidence
After a serious Washington car accident, an adjuster needs limited access to:
- Crash scene evidence
- Medical records
- Eyewitness statements and testimony
When assessing an individual claim, the adjuster may consider the totality of this evidence to determine fault and calculate an initial settlement offer. However, insurance companies sometimes ask for records they know most people cannot procure, especially if weeks or months have passed since the initial accident.
Claiming Your Injuries Are Fraudulent or Exaggerated
Adjusters are sometimes skeptical of certain claims, especially those involving:
Insurance providers can’t be faulted for doing their due diligence on every case. However, if the adjuster takes an inordinate amount of time to conclude an investigation, they may not suspect fraud—they may simply be searching for an excuse to reduce your compensation or deny benefits.
Acting in Bad Faith
In a worst-case scenario, a carrier could act in bad faith, making it difficult to establish an initial point of contact. Even if it received your claim and stated it’s actively being reviewed, an adjuster might refuse to take your phone calls, ignore emails, and ask questions they know you can’t answer.
Why Delays Can Devastate Legitimate Insurance Claims
Insurance companies sometimes need more time to finalize a claim—but if they act in bad faith to avoid paying a significant settlement, they put accident victims’ lives and livelihoods on the line.
A delay could cause difficulties including, but not limited to:
- Late compensation. Even if the company eventually offers a fair settlement, you may have already accrued significant medical debt—expenses that you might be able to pay off with this compensation, but meanwhile, you experienced difficulties sustaining yourself in the months after an accident.
- Loss of evidence. If an adjuster or the court has any questions about liability, delayed negotiations can result in the loss of critical evidence. Without the right evidence, the insurance company may refuse to even consider your claim.
What is a truck accident lawyer?
The aftermath of a semi-truck crash can be catastrophic. If you were injured in a Seattle-area semi-truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you might feel fortunate to have simply survived. However, securing the compensation needed to move past serious and potentially life-altering injuries might seem impossible. Even if the semi-truck driver was clearly at fault, they—or their employer—could dispute the claim, telling the court that your negligence either caused or contributed to the collision.
You likely stand your best chance at reaching a fair settlement with competent legal representation. But do you know what semi-truck accident attorneys do and what makes them more qualified to handle commercial vehicle claims than other lawyers? We’ll explain.
Why Semi-Truck Lawyers Differ From Other Personal Injury Attorneys
A personal injury attorney must be admitted to the Washington state bar and licensed to practice law in the Evergreen State. Some personal injury attorneys have general practices: they might accept premises liability claims, defective product cases, and the occasional wrongful death action. Others almost exclusively represent people injured in certain types of accidents.
Semi-truck lawyers are personal injury attorneys who have litigated numerous commercial vehicle claims. They’re well-versed in the local, state, and federal laws that regulate the interstate transportation industry and are familiar with the strategies that trucking companies and their insurers employ in court and know how to counter them. A savvy truck accident attorney also has the results to prove that they know how to fight for their clients’ rights.
Understanding What Makes Truck Accident Claims Unique
Semi-truck accident lawsuits are, at least on the surface, similar to other motor vehicle claims. If a truck driver clearly caused a collision, then they could be found liable for the costs of any resulting injuries.
Otherwise, the similarities between semi-truck accident claims and other motor vehicle claims are superficial. Since the interstate trucking industry is regulated at the local, state, and federal levels, truck drivers—and their employers—are required to follow many regulations.
- Truck drivers are mandated by law to take regular drug and alcohol tests.
- Commercial vehicle operators are only allowed to operate their vehicles for a set number of hours each day and must have scheduled meals and rest.
- Tractor-trailers must be regularly inspected, maintained, and repaired.
Companies must keep records proving they comply with these laws. If a trucking company fails to maintain the right records, this could be evidence that it violated a legal duty to exercise a reasonable standard of care.
How a Semi-Truck Lawyer Can Help You Win a Personal Injury Lawsuit
An experienced Seattle-area truck accident lawyer knows how to build a compelling, evidence-based claim for recoverable damages. Your attorney could help you:
- Investigate the crash site, collecting, preserving, and analyzing any evidence to substantiate your injuries and prove the other driver’s fault.
- Compile and assess your medical bills to prove the accident resulted in serious injuries.
- Determine who should be held liable for your crash-related injuries. The potential defendants may be the truck driver, the trucking company, a cargo shipper, or even a vehicle manufacturer.
- Interview eyewitnesses and consult industry experts.
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
- Take the case to trial if the adjuster refuses to offer a fair settlement.
What does a car accident lawyer do?
An experienced Seattle-area car accident attorney can not only help you overcome the insurance company’s excuses, but he can also fight to secure the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.
The Advantages of Hiring a Washington Automobile Accident Attorney
Your Washington car crash lawyer does far more than argue your case in court. An experienced advocate can help you by:
Proving You Have Standing to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Car accident claims are often dependent on the availability of evidence. Like most other states, Washington’s civil code requires that personal injury plaintiffs establish the following elements when pleading a case:
- The at-fault motorist owed you a duty of care, meaning that they had a legal obligation to operate their vehicle in a reasonable and safe manner.
- The at-fault motorist breached their duty of care by acting negligently.
- The at-fault motorist’s negligence caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages that can be recovered in court.
An attorney will help you establish the standing needed to file a lawsuit by collecting evidence of the other motorist’s wrongdoing.
Collecting Evidence of Fault
Even if the other motorist has openly admitted liability, their insurance company might still refuse to grant the damages you deserve if you lack the evidence needed to not only establish fault but substantiate your injuries.
Your Seattle-area car crash lawyer could help you collect the evidence needed to prevail in court by:
- Reviewing law enforcement reports
- Taking photographs of the crash site
- Subpoenaing surveillance camera footage
- Obtaining a court order to review the at-fault driver’s cell phone call log and text message history
- Analyzing your medical records
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Collaborating with safety experts to prove that you did not cause the accident
- Referring you to medical specialists to assess your immediate medical needs and long-term care requirements
Calculating Your Damages
Washington allows automobile accident victims to obtain compensation for:
- Economic damages. Economic damages reimburse objective, quantifiable monetary losses resulting from an accident. Your economic damages could include your medical expenses, physical rehabilitation costs, and lost income from work.
- Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are compensation for comparably subjective losses, such as emotional pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and disfigurement.
Since the Evergreen State does not cap the damages available in most personal injury claims, you could receive the compensation you need to rebuild your life and reclaim your independence.
However, calculating damages can be difficult, especially if you have continuing care needs or harder-to-quantify non-economic damages. Your attorney will refer to state law, court rulings, and precedents to determine a fair amount of compensation.
Standing Up to the Insurance Company
Insurance companies often do little to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by a car crash. All too often, accident victims expect that the at-fault motorist’s insurer will reimburse their medical costs and lost wages. However, this expectation is routinely challenged by adjusters who seem skeptical of every claim—adjusters who, it may seem, do everything in their power to deprive victims of their deserved compensation.
Since car crash lawyers have extensive experience advocating for their clients’ rights, we understand the strategies that insurance companies use to save money. We do not let adjusters bury our clients with paperwork or subject them to never-ending demands for ever-more medical examinations, phone calls, and statements.
Your attorney could take over communications with the insurance company, letting you focus on your physical recovery while we focus on holding the at-fault motorist and their insurer accountable.
How to Choose the Right Seattle Car Crash Attorney
When you visit a Washington car crash attorney for your initial consultation, you should prepare a list of questions. Consider asking the following:
- Do you have experience handling Washington car crash claims?
- What steps do I need to take to protect my legal rights to recovery?
- What information do you need to evaluate my case?
- Who will handle my claim: a senior lawyer or an associate?
- How often will you communicate with me about my claim?
- Do you expect clients to pay out-of-pocket, or do you take new cases on a contingency fee basis?
- Do you think that I have a worthwhile claim?
Before committing to a car crash attorney, do your due diligence: visit their website, read client testimonials, and see whether they have delivered worthwhile results to similar clients. Remember: a consultation is not legally binding, and you should never feel obliged to hire a lawyer who makes you feel uncomfortable or undervalued.
Do I need a lawyer if another driver caused my crash by running a red light?
Red-Light Accident Claims Aren’t Always Open-and-Shut
If you or a loved one has been injured after another motorist ran a red light and struck your vehicle, you could be entitled to significant compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
While common sense should suggest that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident, establishing fault in insurance negotiations or in court could present unexpected challenges. Insurance companies are, after all, for-profit enterprises: for better or for worse, they are motivated primarily by profit—and paying large, comprehensive accident settlements is usually anything but good for profits.
Instead of accepting the evidence and taking you at your word, the insurance adjuster will likely try to save their employer money by finding any reason to devalue or deny your claim. They could:
- Use your words against you. Shortly after your accident, the insurance adjuster might ask you to provide a recorded statement. While providing a recorded statement might seem like an ideal way to tell your side of the story, the adjuster likely has motivations beyond hearing your account of the accident: in all probability, they will analyze your statement for any and all discrepancies, hoping to find a way to minimize their liability. Since simply apologizing for the accident could jeopardize your settlement, you should never consent to a conversation with an insurance adjuster without first consulting an experienced Washington car accident attorney.
- Use your medical history against you. Washington law allows insurance companies to request that accident victims submit to an “independent medical examination.” These examinations are conducted by supposedly impartial physicians, who will assess your post-accident injuries and write a report for the adjuster. However, independent medical examinations are often anything but impartial. While the examiner might be a trained and highly experienced practitioner, insurance companies usually refer clients to the same pool of physicians—physicians who are very aware of the fact that they owe much of their business to the insurance company and may be more inclined to issue adverse decisions against prospective claimants.
- Use your evidence against you. Even if you have a dashcam recording or other seemingly unassailable evidence, the insurance company could still find a way to use it against you. If you had been talking on your cell phone at the time of the accident—or even changing radio stations—the adjuster could claim that you were also negligent. If you are found partially at fault for the accident, then the insurance company could reduce your settlement proportionate to its, or the court’s, determination of fault.
How an Attorney Could Help You Overcome the Insurance Company’s Obstacles
You should never have to pay the price for another motorist’s negligence. Max Meyers Law could help you overcome the insurance company’s attempts to minimize your settlement by:
- Investigating the causes and circumstances of your accident
- Subpoenaing critical evidence, such as surveillance camera footage, the other motorist’s cell phone records, and vehicle “black box” data
- Interviewing potential eyewitnesses
- Referring you to skilled medical practitioners who could help evaluate your injuries and determine your long-term care needs
- Communicating with the insurance company on your behalf, letting you focus on your physical health and mental well-being while we advocate for your best interests in court
While Washington state does not currently cap the damages that car accident victims could receive in a settlement or court award, the Evergreen State does have a strict statute of limitations: if you wait too long to take action, the court could dismiss your complaint without giving you the chance to tell your side of the story.
Do I need a truck accident attorney?
The Biggest Signs You Need to Speak to an Attorney
People often make the mistake of thinking they can take on the insurance company by themselves. However, transportation and logistics is a multi-billion-dollar industry: even small, mom-and-pop companies—let alone their Fortune 500 competitors—usually have their own attorneys, whose sole objective is ensuring that their clients remain as profitable as possible.
Unfortunately, paying big settlements is rarely good for a corporation’s bottom line. While the trucking company and its insurer might offer compensation, their settlement may not account for the totality of your damages.
Before negotiating with the adjuster or signing off on a settlement, consider whether:
- You have suffered serious injuries. If your injuries have left you in debt, unable to work, or in need of additional medical care, the insurance company might be reluctant to offer compensation beyond what you already owe—even if you need more money for future expenses.
- The accident has left you disabled. Semi-truck accidents can be so catastrophic that transportation companies are required by law to retain large liability insurance policies. While the policy may be able to accommodate disability-related expenses, calculating the costs of your long-term health care requirements, anticipated medical expenses, and loss of opportunity can be incredibly difficult without the right legal background.
- A third party contributed to your accident. Any collision involving a commercial vehicle has the potential to quickly become complicated, especially if a third party’s misconduct caused or contributed to the accident. An experienced Washington semi-truck accident attorney could help investigate the circumstances of your crash, holding every wrongdoer—be it the semi-truck driver, the trucking company, a vehicle parts maker, or a cargo shipper—responsible for their negligence.
How a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney Could Help You
A semi-truck accident attorney could help you:
- Determine liability. Semi-truck accidents often involve multiple defendants. Even if the truck driver single-handedly caused your accident, their mistake could have been influenced by poor employer policies, inadequate maintenance, or a cargo loading oversight. An attorney could help you establish liability and file claims against multiple defendants, maximizing your chances of receiving a fair settlement.
- Construct a case. Your 18-wheeler accident lawyer could investigate your case, analyze law enforcement reports, review the trucking company’s safety history, and interview eyewitnesses—building a compelling, evidence-based claim for compensation while you focus on maintaining your physical health and emotional well-being.
- Advocate your interests. While you might think that you have an open-and-close case, you will still need to persuade the insurance company or the court that the trucking company’s negligence caused your accident. Oftentimes, this is far easier said than done, requiring repeated exchanges of evidence and out-of-court attempts at mediation.
Your Potential Damages After a Commercial Vehicle Collision
Max Meyers Law could help you claim compensation for damages such as:
- Past, present, and anticipated medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Reconstructive surgery
- Prescription medication co-pays
- Lost income from work
- Diminished earning potential
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of limb
- Wrongful death
Washington state does not currently cap the compensation available to semi-truck accident victims. However, you have to act fast: the Evergreen State has a strict statute of limitations on all personal injury claims. If you wait too long to take action, the court could automatically dismiss your claim, preventing you from recovering anything.
Can I afford to hire a truck accident lawyer?
Hiring a Washington Truck Accident Lawyer
Fortunately, Seattle-area auto crash victims can get skilled representation at a price anyone can afford.
Max Meyers Law Knows You Can Afford an Experienced Attorney
People often make the mistake of thinking that experienced personal injury attorneys charge massive amounts of money for their services. However, Max Meyers Law is not like other law firms. While we do have years of experience advocating for semi-truck accident victims across the state, we work exclusively on what is called a “contingency fee” basis.
Attorneys who operate on a contingency fee basis do not charge their clients any money up-front. Instead, we only accept payment as a percentage of your eventual settlement. If we cannot win your case, we do not get paid—period.
The Benefits of Working With a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
Every semi-truck accident case is different. Max Meyers Law could help you win yours by:
- Investigating the causes of your wreck. Even if you have a seemingly open-and-shut case, the court will still expect that you have the evidence needed to show that the semi-truck driver, or their employer, was responsible for your accident. While this might not seem challenging, transportation logistics companies often have dedicated attorneys who do nothing except fight accident claims. Even if the company does not have its own counsel, its insurance company almost certainly does. A lawyer could help you review the driver’s safety history, subpoena the company’s violation records, and analyze any crash-site evidence needed to demonstrate that fault.
- Identifying the right defendants. Semi-truck accident cases are very different from ordinary car crash claims. Oftentimes, 18-wheeler collisions involve multiple defendants, such as the semi-truck driver, the trucking company, or even the truck manufacturer.
- Preserving your evidence. A semi-truck accident attorney could help you obtain and protect the evidence needed to win your case. For example, we could petition the court to compel the trucking company to preserve the internal documents, correspondences, and records relevant to your case.
- Consulting experts. Recovering from a semi-truck crash can take time. If you sustained particularly severe injuries, you might not be able to return to your pre-accident condition in a matter of weeks, months, or even years. Max Meyers Law could refer you to medical specialists who can help assess your long-term care needs, allowing us to negotiate a settlement that covers damages beyond your existing hospital bills.
- Negotiating a comprehensive settlement. Negotiating a holistic settlement can be difficult. While the insurance adjuster might feel some sympathy for your injuries, their ultimate loyalties lie with their employer. Since insurance companies are for-profit businesses, it is rarely in their best interest to provide an accident victim with the largest permissible settlement. A Seattle-area semi-truck accident attorney could help you protect your rights to a fair recovery by aggressively advocating for your best interests.
Who is at fault for a backover car accident?
How Do Backover Car Accidents Happen?
A backover car accident happens when a motorist who is reversing their vehicle causes a collision. A backover car accident could occur when:
- An inattentive or distracted motorist reverses out of their driveway into oncoming traffic.
- A driver who missed a turn attempts to back up from a stop sign or traffic control signal without realizing there is a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcycle rider behind them.
- An apartment resident or shopper pulls out of a parking spot without checking behind them.
Who Is Most Likely to Get Injured in a Backover Automobile Collision?
Backover car crashes are most likely to affect:
Where Do Backover Car Accidents Most Often Occur?
Perhaps not surprisingly, backovers most often occur in non-traffic conditions. These accidents are frequently reported in:
- Residential areas
- City streets
- Nonresidential parking lots
How Common Are Backover Car Accidents?
Unfortunately, while backover accidents are almost always preventable, they happen with alarming regularity. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- An estimated 292 people are killed in backover car accidents each and every year.
- An additional 13,000 to 14,000 people are injured in backover collisions annually.
While semi-trucks and other heavy, commercial vehicles are responsible for a disproportionate number of backover-related facilities, these accidents are most often caused by ordinary passenger vehicles.
Are Backover Car Accident Injuries Serious?
While most backover car accidents happen at relatively low speeds, they can still have devastating consequences. Common backover car accident injuries include but are not limited to:
- Serious bruises and contusions
- Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations
- Road rash
- Broken or fractured bones
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ injuries
Children are at especially high risk for sustaining serious backover car accident injuries, since the at-fault motorist may not be immediately aware that they have caused an accident.
How Can I Demonstrate Fault After a Backover Car Accident?
If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a Washington backover car accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to significant compensation through an insurance settlement or personal injury claim. You could bolster your chances of making a successful legal recovery by:
- Seeking immediate medical attention. Even if you do not believe the backover accident caused any serious injuries, you should always seek medical attention after being involved in a backover collision.
- Collecting evidence. If you do not require emergency medical services, you could take photographs of the accident site, as well as any visible injuries or property damage caused by the at-fault motorist.
- Speaking to eyewitnesses. If you believe that another person may have witnessed the backover accident, ask them for their full name, phone number, and other contact information.
- Contacting an attorney. You likely stand your best chance of making a comprehensive recovery when you have a Washington personal injury attorney on your side. Even if you were not able to gather evidence after the incident, Max Meyers Law could immediately dispatch professional investigators to review the circumstances of your accident and begin creating a compelling case for recovery.
While these accidents can have long-lasting effects, Max Meyers Law believes that nobody should have to bear the financial burden of another person’s negligence. Our experienced attorneys could help you fight for fair compensation, hold a wrongdoer accountable for their misconduct, and secure the settlement you need to begin rebuilding your life after a tragic and preventable accident.
How long does it take to get compensation after a Washington semi-truck accident?
Compensation After a Washington Truck Accident
The Timeline for Typical Semi-Truck Injury Settlements
Nobody—not even an experienced lawyer—can tell you how long it will take to settle your claim.
Every personal injury case is different. In general, semi-truck-related litigation takes longer to resolve than automobile-related lawsuits. Before you can receive a settlement, you must still:
- File an accident report in accordance with Washington state law.
- Notify the trucking company and its insurer of your claim.
- Document your accident-related injuries.
- Provide evidence of the semi-truck driver and trucking company’s negligence.
- File an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
- Negotiate a settlement, or prepare for a court trial if negotiations fail.
Why Semi-Truck Accidents Take Longer to Resolve Than Car Crashes
Even though semi-truck companies are required by law to purchase and maintain high-limit liability policies, insurance agencies are still for-profit enterprises. Consequently, insurance companies are usually more concerned about their profit margins than an accident victim’s physical and financial well-being. Even if the semi-truck driver or their employer was clearly at-fault, the insurance adjuster might still try to devalue your settlement by challenging your treatment or arguing over the costs of your long-term care.
What Influences the Duration of a Semi-Truck Accident Claim
While there is no “average” time to settle a semi-truck accident claim, your lawsuit could be affected by:
- How fast you act. Washington affords every resident the right to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit after a serious semi-truck-related accident. However, the state also has a strict statute of limitations. If you wait too long to take action, the statute of limitations could prevent you from securing compensation, even if you had an otherwise open-and-shut case.
- The quality of available evidence. Insurance companies will not usually negotiate high-value settlements in the absence of compelling evidence. Even if you were unable to take photographs of the accident site or speak to law enforcement after the crash, an experienced Seattle-area semi-truck attorney could help you investigate the cause and circumstances of your accident.
- The extent of your injuries. Semi-truck companies and their insurance carriers are usually less likely to offer “easy” settlements if you sustained serious injuries, like a lost limb or irreversible cognitive damage, that require expensive medical treatment and long-term care.
- The number of potential defendants. Unlike conventional automobile accidents, semi-truck-related lawsuits usually involve multiple defendants. You might have to file separate claims against the semi-truck driver, the trucking company, and even an automotive parts maker. Max Meyers Law could help you determine who should bear the costs associated with your legal recovery.
- Whether you hire a lawyer. Insurance companies often recommend that claimants negotiate a settlement independently, saying that a lawyer will “only make things more difficult.” However, research has shown—time and time again—that semi-truck crash victims who have lawyers are more likely to both successfully settle their claim and receive more compensation than victims who do not have an attorney.
Do I need a lawyer if a driver hit me while I was riding my bike?
Determining If You Need a Washington Injury Attorney
Bicycle accidents are not always serious. If you did not sustain any significant injuries in the crash, you might not require legal representation. However, you should consider contacting an attorney if:
- You had to take an ambulance to the hospital.
- You were forced to take time away from work to recover from your injuries.
- You are unable to resume work or partake in ordinary activities because you are in pain or disabled.
- You suspect you suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury but have not yet received a diagnosis.
Washington law is clear: if you have been injured in an accident that is even partially attributable to another person’s negligence, you may initiate a claim against the at-fault individual and their insurance company.
However, before you can expect the insurance company to enter negotiations, you will have to convince the adjuster that another motorist’s negligence caused your injuries.
Proving Negligence After a Washington Bicycle Accident
Even if you have a seemingly open-and-shut case, securing a fair and equitable settlement after a Seattle-area bicycle accident can present unexpected challenges. While you might know that a motorist’s misconduct caused your crash, the other motorist’s insurance company might demand a seemingly unreasonable mass of evidence to support your claim.
Before the insurance company is willing to negotiate, you will have to demonstrate that:
- The at-fault motorist owed you a “legal duty of care,” meaning that they had an obligation to ensure your safety;
- The at-fault motorist negligently abrogated their legal duty of care;
- The at-fault motorist’s negligence caused your injuries; and
- Your injuries constitute practical, compensable damages that can be recovered in court.
Max Meyers Law could help you secure legal relief by constructing a compelling, evidence-based claim for recompense.
What to Do After a Serious Seattle-Area Bike Crash
If you have been injured in a serious Seattle-area bicycle crash, you could bolster your chances of securing a fair and equitable settlement by:
- Seeking immediate medical attention. You should always seek immediate medical attention after a bicycle accident, even if you do not believe you have been seriously injured. A physician could help you identify latent injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, that may have taken days or weeks to begin showing symptoms. Furthermore, visiting the doctor shows the insurance company that you have genuine concerns about your physical well-being and are not simply seeking to profit off your injuries.
- Notifying law enforcement. If you do not require on-site or emergency medical treatment, call 9-1-1 and request that an officer be dispatched to the scene of the accident. While the police may not be able to determine fault, an officer’s report could be entered into evidence in insurance negotiations or at trial.
- Collecting evidence. You could protect your right to compensation by carefully collecting and preserving evidence from the crash. You could take pictures of the damage to the other vehicle, to your bicycle, and photograph any nearby traffic control signals, road signs, and road markings, such as a bicycle lane boundary. If another person witnessed your accident, ask them for their full name, phone number, and other contact information.
- Contacting an attorney. Even if you were unable to gather evidence after your Seattle-area bicycle accident, Max Meyers Law could dispatch professionally trained investigators to investigate and identify the causes of your accident. We could subpoena surveillance camera footage, interview eyewitnesses, and consult medical experts who could assess the extent of your injuries and determine whether you need compensation for long-term care.
Should I provide all of my medical records to an insurance adjuster after a truck accident?
Why Insurance Adjusters Ask to See Medical Records
When private automobiles and semi-trucks collide, the consequences are often catastrophic for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. Since semi-truck-related accidents always have the potential to cause debilitating injuries, trucking companies are required to purchase and carry high-limit liability insurance. If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi-truck crash, you will most likely have to pursue compensation through the insurance company.
Once the insurance company has been informed of the accident, they may dispatch an adjuster to investigate the crash and collect information related to your injuries. Adjusters typically need access to your medical records to assess your injuries and calculate the case’s value. However, the adjuster should only be allowed to see the records relating to your semi-truck accident—not your entire health history.
Insurance Adjusters Use Pressure Tactics to Get Extra Information
The adjuster will almost certainly need access to your accident-related records. However, they might try to ask you for additional information—information they do not need and to which they are not legally entitled. When you initiate a claim, the adjuster might ask you to:
- Recount your memories of the accident
- Provide a recorded statement
- Visit a physician of their choosing for a medical examination
- Sign a medical records release
The adjuster might say that compliance is the best way forward—and that if you do not follow the insurance company’s commands, you may receive a delayed settlement.
Adjusters Can Use Your Words Against You
Insurance adjusters do not ask for this additional information because they want to help you. Adjusters are beholden to their employer, the insurance company. And the insurance company, like most businesses, is a for-profit enterprise; its main objective is to protect its profit margins. Insurance companies have many strategies for protecting their profits. Unfortunately, these strategies often come at semi-truck accident victims’ expense. They might:
- Use your own words against you. If the adjuster asks you to provide a recorded statement, they are effectively on a fishing expedition—hoping that you will provide too much information, which could be used to downgrade the trucking company’s liability.
- Use your health history to devalue your claim. While the insurance adjuster needs to understand your accident-related injuries, they should never be afforded unbridled access to your health history. One of the insurance industry’s favorite tricks is attributing injuries their clients caused to pre-existing medical conditions. If the adjuster is allowed to peruse your records, they could find a way to blame your truck accident injuries on something else.
- Use your circumstances to push a premature settlement. Even if you have good health insurance, a serious semi-truck accident could push you to the brink of financial ruin. You might find yourself responsible for the costs of an ambulance ride, as well as expensive deductibles and co-pays. The adjuster might offer you a fast and easy settlement to help ease your worry—a settlement accounts for your immediate needs but does not include the money you need to replace lost income, pay for physical rehabilitation, or compensate for your emotional pain and suffering.
A Washington Semi-Truck Attorney Could Safeguard Your Rights
If you have been injured in a serious Washington semi-truck accident, you may be only months, weeks, or days from financial ruin. Max Meyers Law believes that nobody should have to bear the financial burden of another person’s bad mistake. You should not be forced to wade through the insurance company’s red tape just to secure a fair settlement. We can help you stand up to the adjuster, protect your rights, and fight for the best possible recovery. Please send Max Meyers Law a message online or call us at 425-399-7000 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Is car insurance required in Washington State?
Washington's Comparative Fault Law
Washington is not a no-fault insurance state. Instead, Washington has a comparative fault doctrine, meaning that the fault of all parties in a car accident is considered when determining damages. If your own negligence contributed to a crash, then your potential compensation could be reduced by a percentage proportionate to your level of fault.
Car Insurance Requirements in Washington State
Almost every state in the country requires that automobiles be insured, and Washington is no exception. State law mandates that every motorist has coverage of at least:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $10,000
- Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Underinsured motorist property damage coverage: $10,000 per accident
- Basic Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $10,000 per accident
Optional Car Insurance Coverages
Washington's minimum coverage amounts are sufficient to cover the costs associated with minor to moderate injuries, as well as some medical procedures. However, simply purchasing the lowest-price policy does not guarantee that you will be afforded the resources you need to recover after a serious automobile accident. You could bolster your protection by adding features such as:
- No-fault personal injury protection, which allows you to make medical claims on your own policy regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident.
- Collision insurance, which can help pay the cost of a car repair or replacement.
- Comprehensive insurance, which provides protection if your vehicle is ever damaged by a cause other than a collision, such as hail, fire, or vandalism.
- Rental reimbursement, which could cover the costs of a car rental if yours is ever damaged or destroyed in an accident.
- Underinsured motorist additions, which provide additional compensation if you are injured by a motorist who is either uninsured or has inadequate coverage.
Your Options for Compensation After a Washington Car Crash
Washington's pure comparative fault law allows motorists to:
- File a claim against the other motorist's insurer, even if you were partially or mostly to blame for the accident.
- File a claim with your own automobile insurance company, if you purchased additional no-fault personal injury protection coverage.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist, with any potential award or settlement to be reduced proportionately to your own level of fault.
What Happens When Insurance Isn't Enough
Washington, like most states in the country, makes automobile insurance mandatory. While mandatory policies are supposed to protect motorists if they are injured in an accident, insurance companies are still for-profit enterprises. Unfortunately, insurers do not generate a profit when they pay the maximum amount of compensation to every deserving driver, regardless of how seriously they have been injured. Consequently, insurance adjusters often look for any reason to devalue or deny a claim. They could:
- Ask you to provide a recorded statement, and then use your own words against you.
- Argue that your injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition.
- Claim your negligence contributed more to the accident than it really did.
Insurance companies frequently contest claims and are often unwilling to negotiate in good faith with automobile accident victims. But despite what the insurance company might want you to think, you do not have to give in to heavy-handed pressure tactics and coercion.
Your Potential Damages After a Washington Automobile Accident
Max Meyers Law could help you obtain a fair, equitable settlement, even if the insurance company has already tried giving you the silent treatment. We could investigate the circumstances and causes of your accident, building a compelling, evidence-based case for compensation against anyone whose negligence may have caused or contributed to your injuries. This could include:
- The other motorist
- A negligent business
- The City of Seattle or a municipal corporation
- A car manufacturer
- An automotive parts maker
We could negotiate damages for:
- Your past, present, and anticipated medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Lost income
- Diminished earning potential
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
Washington does not currently cap the amount of economic damages you could receive after an automobile accident, meaning that you could get as much money as you need to begin moving past a serious, Seattle-area car crash.
Contact Max Meyers Law Today
Max Meyers Law could fight for your rights, whether in insurance negotiations or before a judge and jury. Please send us a message online or call us at 425-399-7000 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
Can car accident damages include physical therapy expenses?
Paying for Physical Therapy After a Washington Car Crash
Washington is a fault state. When someone causes a car accident, they—or their insurance company—must pay for the other motorist’s damages. A claim for damages could cover:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Prescription medication co-pays
- Physical rehabilitation
Insurance Companies and Physical Rehabilitation
Every Washington driver must have an automobile insurance policy. While you might expect that the other driver’s insurer will cover your accident-related expenses, you should never forget that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Oftentimes, they are more interested in protecting their profit margins than providing a fair recovery. They employ many different tricks, tactics, and strategies to devalue car crash claims. So, even if your doctor says that you need physical rehabilitation, the insurance company might try to evade responsibility by claiming:
- You were responsible for the accident. Even if your car accident claim seems open-and-shut, the insurance company might demand evidence that the other driver’s negligence caused the collision. If you show them a police report, surveillance footage, or other seemingly irrefutable evidence, they might still try to argue that you were at least partially responsible for the crash—and that they do not have to pay you the full amount to which you would otherwise be entitled.
- You don’t really need physical therapy. Car insurance companies do their own math when deciding how to value automobile injury claims. Needless to say, this math usually relies on the opinion of their own medical experts, who might review your files and say that physical rehabilitation is not “medically necessary.”
- Your injuries were not caused by the crash. If you do not contact an attorney immediately after an accident, the at-fault motorist’s insurance company might peruse your social media accounts, ask for medical records access, and even try to speak to your doctor. If they can find any way to construe your injuries as “pre-existing,” they will refuse to pay for your physical therapy.
Protecting Your Rights After an Injury
Insurance companies are notorious for devaluating car crash-related injuries. However, Washington law is clear-cut: you should never have to pay for an accident you did not cause. You could protect your legal recovery by:
- Seeking immediate medical attention. Even if you do not believe you were seriously injured in the accident, you should still make an appointment with a medical professional. A physician could help identify and treat injuries you already have. If they believe you need physical rehabilitation, you will be able to show the insurance company that the doctor believes physical therapy is a necessity.
- Document your symptoms. You could create a pain journal or other record to document any symptoms you experience after a serious Washington car crash. Ideally, your pain journal will include regular entries detailing your medical symptoms, physical feelings of pain, and any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking to alleviate it.
- Speaking to an attorney. Insurance companies know that most car crash victims do not understand Washington’s complicated medical claims process. Even if they present you with a settlement offer, it might not account for your physical therapy and other anticipated expenses. They may even refuse to negotiate with you, citing a never-ending list of excuses. However, attorneys are familiar with the insurance industry’s tricks. We do not let our clients get bullied. Max Meyers Law could handle all of your communications with the insurance company, collecting, compiling, and analyzing the evidence needed to get you fair compensation.
Do You Need a Better Settlement? Contact Max Meyers Law Today
Max Meyers Law is a people-focused practice. Our dedicated team of Washington attorneys seeks to understand our clients’ needs. When we take a case, we stick up for our clients’ rights—and have the results to show for it. You do not need to bear a life-long burden of pain: please send Max Meyers Law a message online or call us at 425-970-8822 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.
I suffered abdominal trauma in a pedestrian accident. Can I recover damages?
What Is Abdominal Trauma?
Abdominal trauma refers to any injury to any of the organs in the abdominal cavity due to force—for example, the stomach, intestines, liver, spleen, and/or pancreas. The abdominal cavity also houses other important structures like the aorta (the main blood vessel leading from the heart) and the kidneys. Any sudden impact to the abdomen can compress one or more of these organs, pushing them out of place or causing direct bruising, tearing, or internal bleeding.
Because the abdominal cavity is relatively small, even a minor injury to one of these organs can have serious consequences. When an organ is damaged, it may leak blood or other fluids into the abdomen. This can cause inflammation and swelling (known as peritonitis), which can lead to sepsis—a potentially life-threatening condition caused by infection. The particular danger with abdominal trauma is that the symptoms may not appear for hours or even days after an accident. For that reason, it's important to be seen by a medical professional immediately following a pedestrian wreck—not just to check for immediate injuries but also to monitor you for signs of trouble after the fact.
Possible Indicators of Abdominal Trauma
Since abdominal trauma can damage any of a number of organs, the symptoms of trauma can be wide and varied, as well. That being said, there are some common indicators that abdominal trauma has occurred. If you experience any of the following after a pedestrian accident, seek medical attention immediately:
- Persistent or worsening pain in the abdomen
- Swelling or bloating in the abdomen
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blood in the stool or urine
- Difficulty urinating or passing stool
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Loss of consciousness
Detection and Treatment of Abdominal Trauma
If your physician suspects the possibility of abdominal trauma, they will likely order a CT scan or other imaging tests to check for internal bleeding, bruising, or organ damage. They may also order these tests as a pre-emptive measure in cases where you suffered a direct, severe blow to the abdomen—for example, in a pedestrian accident with a car. If abdominal trauma is found, you will likely be admitted to the hospital for treatment or observation. Treatment options for these types of internal injuries are basically limited to the following:
- Monitoring you (to see if the wounds heal on their own or if you get worse)
- Administering antibiotics to treat or ward off infection
- Blood transfusions (if hemorrhaging is evident)
- Surgery to repair or remove damaged organs or vessels
Who May Be Liable for Your Injuries
If you were hit by a car, bicycle, or motorcycle while walking normally on the sidewalk or crossing at a marked or unmarked intersection, the driver of the vehicle is likely liable for your injuries. Even if you were not in a crosswalk and did not have the right-of-way, drivers have a reasonable duty of care to watch out for pedestrians. If a driver didn't see you because they were speeding, texting, intoxicated, or otherwise negligent, they may be held responsible for damages. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, other parties might also be held liable—for example, the municipality where the accident occurred (if the accident was caused by a pothole or other hazard in the roadway) or the vehicle manufacturer (if a malfunction caused the driver to lose control).