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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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:
- Disabling injuries
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?
Making sense of a car accident can be difficult without the right assistance. You might know that the other motorist was at fault yet still struggle to negotiate a fair settlement with their insurer. Even if you have evidence of their wrongdoing and medical records to substantiate your injuries, the adjuster might refuse to listen to reason, coming up with a never-ending list of excuses to delay your claim.
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?
Everybody knows that travel in and around Seattle can be stressful. However, motorists are still expected to respect the rules of the road, regardless of whether they are late to work or on their way to an important appointment. Unfortunately, not everybody exercises due diligence. When drivers run through red lights—whether intentionally or by accident—they endanger not only themselves but everyone around them.
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?
Any automobile accident could have catastrophic consequences. However, semi-truck collisions are often devastating to another level, thrusting victims to the brink of physical collapse and financial ruin. While Washington law affords victims the right to file a claim for compensation, negotiating a fair settlement could prove an immense challenge, with the insurance company’s attorneys and adjusters employing every imaginable strategy to reduce their own liability—often, unfortunately, at the accident victim’s expense. Our Kirkland auto accident attorney explains more.
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
The aftermath of a Washington truck accident can be catastrophic. While you might feel fortunate to have simply survived, the costs of recovery could be enormous. You might be forced to take time away from work, even as your medical bills continue to mount. Regaining your physical and financial independence could seem impossible, especially if you do not have the money to hire an experienced attorney.
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?
Backover car accidents are so common that most automobile manufacturers consider rear-facing cameras a practical necessity. However, our Washington semi truck accident even advances in modern technology have failed to drastically reduce the annual death and injury toll of these tragic and often preventable accidents.
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:
- Motorcycle riders
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
Truck accident claims can pose unexpected difficulties, especially if they involve serious injuries and multiple defendants. While you should never have to wait to receive compensation for an accident that was not your fault, insurance negotiations and litigation can be time-consuming processes. Although you could receive a settlement offer in a matter of weeks, your case’s timeline will likely depend on an assortment of other circumstances, including the at-fault party’s willingness to admit liability and agree to a fair resolution.
An experienced Washington semi truck accident attorney can help you resolve your claim quickly. However, you should be skeptical of anyone who promises a settlement check within a matter of days, weeks, or even months.
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.
You likely stand your best chance of recovery when you have an experienced, competent attorney advocating for your rights. Without legal counsel, the defendants and their insurers are unlikely to take your claim seriously. They could present you with unfair settlement offers or try to use your own words against you. Even if you are clearly entitled to compensation, they might still try to wear you down, asking for never-ending documentary evidence and disputing your calculation for compensatory damages.
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?
Seattle and its suburbs are among the most bicycle-friendly cities in the United States. However, accidents still happen with alarming regularity. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycle crash, you could be entitled to significant compensation. An experienced Washington bicycle accident attorney could help you secure the settlement you need and the justice you deserve.
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?
If you have been injured in a serious Washington semi-truck accident, you will eventually have to speak to an insurance adjuster. While insurance adjusters are hardworking professionals who may have genuine sympathy for your circumstances, they are nonetheless trained negotiators who represent the interests of their employers. If you try to speak to an adjuster without an attorney, they could pressure you into signing away your medical records and your rights.
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 requires that every road-legal vehicle be insured. However, compared to other states, Washington has low mandatory coverages. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Seattle-area automobile accident, you might have to look beyond the other driver's insurance policy for compensation.
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?
Even minor car accidents have the potential to cause devastating injuries. You might find yourself saddled by medical debt but unable to work, depriving you of the income you need to keep yourself out of dire financial straits. Fortunately, Washington law allows victims to claim compensation for medical expenses and other losses, including anticipated costs. If your doctor believes that you need physical rehabilitation to rejoin the workforce, Max Meyers Law could help you secure the legal recovery you need to resume normal living.
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?
Abdominal trauma is a common injury in accidents involving force. Unfortunately, it's also a difficult condition to detect because there may be any of several internal organs involved and because symptoms don't always show up right away. But if abdominal trauma is not treated, it can become life-threatening.
If you're a pedestrian who is struck by a car, motorcycle, or even a bicycle, you could also suffer abdominal trauma, whether from the impact of the collision itself or being knocked to the pavement. If your accident occurred due to someone else's negligence, our Washington auto accident attorney explains, you might be able to recover damages to cover your treatment.
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).
Should I sign a release of claim form after a car accident?
When you're injured in a car accident and the at-fault party's insurance company offers you a settlement, it usually comes with a requirement to sign a Release of Claims form before the insurance company will issue the check. In Washington State, this form is also known as a "Settlement and Release of Claims Agreement." Signing it might seem like little more than a formality—and you may feel tempted because, after all, you need the money. But the ramifications of a Release of Claims form are quite important, and if you sign too quickly, you could be robbing yourself of significant compensation.
What Is a Release of Claims Form?
A Release of Claims form is a document that releases the other motorist and their insurance company from liability and any further legal obligation with regard to your injuries. By signing it, you effectively agree not to pursue any further damages related to the car accident in exchange for the settlement check. In plain English, it means once you sign the form and receive your settlement, that's all the money you'll get for your injuries.
In one sense, the Release of Claims seems reasonable enough. It simply means that once you've agreed on a settlement, the defendant is protected from you coming back and suing them again and again. But what if the settlement offer isn't enough to cover your total costs? What if your recovery incurs more expenses after the fact that you didn't anticipate? By law, the at-fault driver is still responsible for paying those expenses—but if a Release of Claims form is already signed, you've waived your rights to collect any more money. So in that sense, it can be a very dangerous document, especially if the insurance company tries to settle quickly. An overeager insurance company that presents you a Release of Claims form is usually trying to push you into accepting less money than your injuries are worth, then legally blocking you from coming after them for more.
Why You Shouldn't Be Rushed Into Signing a Release of Claims
When you have no income because you're unable to work and your medical bills are piling up, it's perfectly understandable to feel pressured to sign the release and get your money quickly. But here's why that's not a good idea:
- You may not know the full extent of your injuries. You can't anticipate any possible complications that might arise or extended treatments that might be needed.
- There may be long-term repercussions from your injuries. Some types of injuries can trigger other health problems that may not surface for years.
- You don't know about your future income. Your injuries could potentially hinder your ability to work for the long term, and your settlement may need to account for that possibility.
A settlement that is truly fair will take into account not only your current needs but also your anticipated future needs, not to mention the more intangible losses incurred by pain and suffering, psychological trauma, loss of consortium, and more. Bottom line: if you sign a Release of Claims form too quickly, you could end up being severely under-compensated for your injuries.
Never Sign a Release of Claims Form Without the Advice of Your Attorney
Granted, at some point, you'll likely have to sign a Release of Claims form before getting your check. The key is in knowing when it's safe to sign it—and the best person to tell you when you have a fair settlement is an experienced personal injury attorney. That's why we highly recommend that you never sign a Release of Claims before having an attorney review your settlement offer to help you decide whether or not it's in your best interests to sign, whether further negotiations are needed, or whether you need to go to court.
The Max Meyers Law Firm can advise you on what constitutes a fair settlement for your case, and we can help you get the full amount of compensation you deserve. Contact our offices to schedule a free consultation or call us at 425-399-7000.
How will I pay for my child’s reconstructive surgery after a dog bite?
Dog bites in children are unfortunately quite common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the U.S., and 800,000 of those require medical treatment. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that half of those victims are children.
If your child is unlucky enough to get attacked and injured by a dog, you may be concerned about how you’re going to pay for the reconstructive surgery that is often necessary. The medical bills can pile up before your child’s personal injury settlement comes through, and you might find yourself worrying about how things are going to work out. The good news is, you have options.
What is reconstructive surgery, and why is it necessary after a dog bite injury?
Dog bites sometimes cause serious injuries, which may include deep lacerations, puncture wounds, bone fractures, etc. These injuries can leave significant scars and deformities if not corrected surgically—and for a child, these injuries can deeply impact them psychologically and physically as they get older. Reconstructive surgery helps correct the deformities and reduces or eliminates scarring to restore wholeness and prevent significant complications later.
Paying for Your Child’s Reconstructive Surgery Before the Settlement Comes in
In Washington State, dog owners are liable for the injuries caused by their dogs, but even personal injury settlements often take time to come through as attorneys and insurance companies contend over settlement amounts. Your child obviously can’t wait for the settlement to have reconstructive surgery, so here are some ways to get the costs covered until your case is resolved:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance. PIP (or “no-fault”) insurance is typically the first line of defense in covering initial costs for an injury. If you’ve purchased PIP insurance that covers dog bites, that insurance should kick in up to the no-fault limit to help cover your child’s medical expenses.
- Health insurance. For whatever PIP insurance doesn’t cover, your own health insurance may have provisions to cover the initial costs of treatment for your child, even if someone else is liable for those costs. If this is the case, the insurance provider will typically be reimbursed out of your settlement.
- Medical liens. The State of Washington allows healthcare providers to place a medical lien on your insurance or personal injury claim. This lien enables them to give your child the care they need knowing they will eventually be reimbursed for their services and costs. While the term “lien” may be scary, note that a medical lien is placed not against your personal property; it’s dependent on the compensation you eventually will receive for your child’s injuries.
Why You Need to File a Personal Injury Claim
Even if you have PIP insurance or health insurance, these may not be sufficient to cover the total cost of reconstructive surgery or other healthcare expenses—nor will they cover other types of loss such as lost wages, cost of in-home care, etc. Additionally, you might not be able to benefit from a medical lien unless it’s guaranteed by a personal injury claim. Filing a claim helps ensure you’ll be able to get reimbursed for any costs paid out of pocket—plus, it reimburses you for intangible losses like pain and suffering that no amount of insurance can cover.
How Our Washington Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help You
No matter how cut-and-dried your case may appear, insurance companies sometimes drag their feet and look for excuses not to pay claims. Even the victim’s own PIP insurance may attempt to deny claims based on a technicality. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complicated process of filing a claim, negotiate for the best settlement possible, and, if necessary, fight to make sure your own insurance meets its obligations. An attorney can also help facilitate medical liens or other remedies to help you cover the costs of your child’s care while you’re waiting for your settlement to be finalized.
Let the Max Meyers Law Firm help you get the compensation you need to help your child become whole again after a damaging dog bite. Contact our offices to schedule a free consultation or call us at 425-399-7000. We have been proudly servicing dog bite injury and personal injury clients throughout Bothell, Kirkland and the surrounding areas.
Can I be compensated for the paid time off I had to take after my car accident?
If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, chances are you’ve had to take time off from work even if your injuries weren’t that severe. If your company provides the benefit of paid time off (PTO)—e.g., sick days, vacation days, and personal days—you might have had to use some or all of this PTO. Perhaps you didn’t even use all of it on your hospital stay or time recovering at home; you may have used PTO for other things related to your accident, like arranging a rental car, dealing with insurance companies, and meeting with your attorney. You’re entitled to claim lost wages in your personal injury claim—but are you allowed to recover your PTO even though you were paid for that time?
The answer is yes. Here’s how and why.
“Lost Wages” Includes Other Forms of Compensation
When you’re injured and can’t go to work, you lose out on both income and benefits you could be earning if it weren’t for your injuries. Your lost wages include the benefits that would have been available to you had you not been injured—which includes your paid time off. A personal injury claim is designed to help you recover all forms of loss incurred by your accident, including the loss of benefits at work. Even though you may have been paid for some of your time off work, it’s still considered a loss because you wouldn’t have used that PTO if not for the accident.
Winning your personal injury claim won’t get those benefits back—in other words, your company isn’t going to put those paid days back into your “PTO bank” so you can use them again. (That’s another reason why it’s a loss.) However, your settlement can include reimbursement for the dollar value of the PTO you used related to your accident—and you’re well within your legal rights to include it in your claim.
How Paid Time Off Is Valued
How do you calculate the value of your PTO when including it in your claim? In many cases, the answer is simple: Whatever amount you’re paid for a day’s work, that’s the value for every day of PTO you had to take. So if you’re paid $150 a day, and you had to take five paid sick days and 14 vacation days, you can add $150 x 19 days, or $2850, to your claim.
However, in many cases, your daily wage isn’t the only consideration when figuring out the actual amount of loss incurred by taking your PTO. For example, if you receive commissions or bonuses on sales, you might not have had the opportunity to make those commissions and bonuses because you were not at work. Your PTO likely only covered your “base pay” in those instances, so your attorney will want to include in your claim an estimate of the additional amount you would have received in commissions or bonuses had you not been forced to take your paid leave.
Why You Need an Attorney
Since the recovery of lost wages is an area that’s not always clear-cut, insurance companies are likely to try to push back on claims that include PTO. They may argue, for example, that you were paid for that time or that you didn’t really need to take those personal days. It’s best to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you on how to include PTO in your claim for lost wages. A good attorney will be able to overcome the objections involved and make sure you receive the full value for those lost benefits in addition to other lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.
Paid time off can temporarily “soften the blow” to your finances, but it won’t stave off financial difficulty forever. The sooner you get an attorney involved after your injury accident, the sooner your attorney can get to work on your claim so you can recover your losses as quickly as possible. The Max Meyers Law Firm helps injury accident victims in Washington State get the settlements they need and deserve to get their lives back on track. Contact our offices to schedule a free consultation or call us at 425-399-7000.
What do I do if I’m in a truck accident and receive internal injuries?
Internal injuries don’t often manifest right away, but they can quickly deteriorate into serious situations if they are left untreated. Let’s discuss what to do to protect yourself after a trucking accident, what to watch for, and how an attorney can help if you are, in fact, injured internally.
Get Medical Help Immediately—and Call a Lawyer
The first thing to do in the aftermath of a truck accident is to seek medical help as soon as possible—even if you think you aren’t injured or your injuries are minor. Any major impact like a crash can resonate throughout your body, and the jostling can damage your internal organs the same as it can break an arm or leg. Symptoms may not be apparent for hours or even days after an accident, but if it goes undetected, an internal injury could become dangerous very quickly.
The very next thing you should do is contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Proving liability depends on the available evidence—and evidence tends to fade with time. A good attorney will know how to approach the evidence to determine fault. They will also know the right questions to ask, including what is needed for a proper diagnosis of your injuries, so they can calculate how much you should receive in damages.
Types of Internal Injuries You May Suffer in a Truck Crash
Your body contains many internal parts, any of which could be injured by a major impact like a truck crash. These injuries can occur by direct penetration (e.g., debris puncturing your body) or simply by the blunt force of the sudden stop. Some of the most common internal injuries include:
- Broken ribs. Fractured ribs aren’t just painful—they can also be dangerous. Broken ribs afford less protection to your vital organs (i.e., heart and lungs), and severely damaged ribs can also send bone parts into these organs.
- Punctured/collapsed lung. A sharp impact can puncture a lung, which sends air out of the lung into the chest cavity. If the lung collapses, you could struggle to get enough air and eventually suffocate without treatment.
- Injured organs/internal bleeding. Any of the soft organs inside your body could be bruised or lacerated in a truck accident. Damage to the liver, kidneys, or spleen is quite common in these crashes. Left untreated, the internal bleeding could cause you to go into hemorrhagic shock.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm. One common internal injury with severe collisions is an abdominal aortic aneurysm, in which the stomach presses against the aorta (a primary artery) and causes it to enlarge through the accumulation of blood. Left untreated, this aneurysm can be fatal.
- Brain bleeding. An impact to the head, or even the jostling of the brain inside the skull, may damage brain tissues and cause unseen bleeding, which may restrict oxygen to the brain and/or cause permanent brain damage.
Liability for Internal Injuries in Trucking Accidents
With accidents involving trucks, liability may rest with one or more parties, depending on the circumstances causing the crash. These may include:
- The at-fault truck driver
- The trucking company
- The manufacturer of the truck or parts manufacturers
Whoever is liable, the at-fault party may be responsible for paying for the costs of your medical treatment and recovery from your internal injuries, as well as additional damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
How an Attorney Can Help You
While it can be hard to prove who is at fault in a truck accident, it’s even harder for an injured victim to do so on their own. Your ability to get your full compensation may depend on how quickly you get an experienced truck accident attorney involved. A good attorney will investigate the accident to determine who is liable, calculate the losses you’ve incurred, and work aggressively to make sure the responsible party pays those damages.
If you’re injured in a truck accident in Washington State, the legal team at Max Meyers Law can help you receive the settlement you need and deserve. Contact our offices to schedule a free consultation or call us at 425-399-7000.
Can I recover bicycle accident damages if I suffer a joint dislocation?
Dislocated joints are quite common in bicycle accidents. While they might seem like a minor injury that can quickly be remedied by putting the joint back in place, the truth is that joint dislocations can cause lasting repercussions—and the damage is sometimes permanent. If someone else is at fault in your bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
Signs of Joint Dislocation
Joints are connection points between two bones. When one or more of the bones is forced out of its normal place in relation to the bone it’s connected to, we refer to that as joint dislocation. This usually happens when a blunt force impact pushes the bone out of place, and it involves stretching or snapping of the ligament that connects the two bones.
A person with a joint dislocation will experience intense pain, swelling, and inability to move the area around the dislocated joint. On some occasions, the bone may quickly pop back into place. At other times, a physician may have to move the bone back into the joint.
Shoulder dislocations are most common in bicycle accidents, but dislocations in the fingers, knees, elbows, ankles, and even hips are also frequent. You can often (but not always) identify a dislocated joint when the joint looks visibly deformed or out of place. Other signs of dislocation include intense pain, swelling, discoloration around the joint, or an inability to move the limb affected.
How Joint Dislocations Happen in Bicycle Accidents
Joint dislocations in bicycle accidents are usually caused by direct impact to the joint which blasts the bones out of their usual position. They can also happen in the arms and shoulders when a bicyclist puts their arm out to break their fall—or in the legs or hips when the cyclist hits the ground in an awkward way.
What to Do If You Suffer a Joint Dislocation in a Bike Crash
If you suspect you’ve got a joint dislocation, seek medical attention as soon as possible to reduce the possibility of permanent damage to the joint. Don’t try to put the joint back in place yourself as you may cause more damage, and don’t assume you’re okay if the joint automatically pops back into place—if the joint was dislocated, you’ve likely experienced some tissue damage. Seek help from a physician to put the joint back into its correct position and evaluate any damage that may have occurred.
You Can Recover Damages If Someone Else’s Negligence Caused Your Injury
A dislocated joint is considered an injury even if the joint pops back into place. As such, if you experience a joint dislocation in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should be able to file a personal injury claim to be compensated for the cost of your recovery. Your possible compensation may include:
- Medical expenses. This may include treatment for both the joint dislocation and any additional injury or trauma you experienced.
- Cost of additional care and treatment. This may include physical therapy and any costs incurred by hiring help while you are immobilized, as well as any ongoing treatments or therapies if permanent damage occurs.
- Lost wages. If your injury keeps you from working, even temporarily, you are eligible for compensation for the loss of income.
- Pain and suffering. In addition to medical costs, this can help make up for the physical pain and mental anguish caused by your injury.
How a Lawyer Can Help You
If you’ve suffered a joint dislocation, it’s important to talk with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you could still experience complications that limit your mobility and lessen your quality of life.
A good attorney can explain your legal rights, review the details of your case, and help you recover the full amount of damages to which you’re entitled. The legal team at Max Meyers Law has extensive experience with bicycle injury accidents in the State of Washington. Contact our offices to schedule a free consultation.
Can I represent myself after a car crash in Washington?
Under Washington State law, you always have the right to represent yourself in civil actions, including personal injury cases. However, it's not usually wise to do so, especially if you are pursuing damages after being injured in a car crash.
Between determining fault, calculating damages, and negotiating with insurance companies, personal injury cases are complex matters that require the help of someone with extensive legal experience to obtain a fair settlement. Let's discuss some important reasons why you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim.
An Attorney Can Get You a More Generous Settlement
Washington is a comparative fault state, which means the damages you can recover are reduced by your percentage of fault. This means determining who is at fault—and by what percentage—can be very complicated and contentious. Determining how much to ask for in damages is equally complicated.
If you attempt to navigate these issues on your own, chances are you'll wind up with a far lower settlement than you need or deserve. While you will have to pay the attorney to represent you, their fee comes out of the settlement—and the amount of your settlement will typically more than make up the difference for what you would have received on your own.
An Attorney Knows How to Handle the Insurance Companies
One of the most difficult aspects of a personal injury claim is negotiating with insurance companies—and chances are you'll be no match for them on your own. Insurance adjusters are under pressure to reduce or deny claims, and they are very good at making their settlement offer sound like the very best they can do. Furthermore, insurance companies know how to word their questions in a way that they can often use your answers to minimize your claim if it goes to court.
A skilled personal injury attorney understands how the insurance companies work and how to negotiate with them to get the settlement you deserve. Being able to refer the insurance company to your attorney can save you from saying something that could be used to weaken your position legally.
An Attorney Knows When to Negotiate—and When to Litigate
Insurance companies are not always willing to settle. Many of them will refuse offers that seem fair, only to turn around and pay more when the case goes before a judge. At the same time, if you litigate your case and the insurance company can prove you were partially at fault, you could actually wind up with a lower settlement with additional court costs to pay. This is why it's important to have an attorney determine whether you need to take your claim to court or if it can be resolved through negotiations with the insurance company. A good attorney knows when a settlement offer is fair, and when it makes more sense to take your case to court.
An Attorney Can Help Defer Your Medical Bills
Washington State does not require drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. If you don't have PIP, or if your PIP coverage runs out before your case is resolved, you could be facing collection actions for your unpaid medical bills. An experienced attorney can often step in on your behalf with your insurance company or medical providers to make deferred payment arrangements until your case is settled.
Get the Peace of Mind You Deserve
While you have the right to represent yourself in your own personal injury case, hiring a car accident attorney provides you with a whole set of additional resources and skills that, in the end, will improve your chances of a more generous settlement. Having an attorney will also give you much greater peace of mind knowing the legal piece is being covered while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
The legal team at Max Meyers Law understands the complexities of helping you get a fair personal injury settlement in Washington. Let us help you get the full amount to which you're entitled under the law. Contact our offices to schedule a free consultation or call us at 425-399-7000.