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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Who is at fault for an accident if one driver is turning right and one is turning left onto the same road?
It depends on many factors, such as which driver had the right of way and whether any drivers were disobeying other traffic laws at the time of collision. To determine who was liable for your accident, consider the following situations:
Who is liable for an accident when the left turning driver had a green left turn signal?
When the driver turning left is doing so in compliance with a green left turn arrow, that driver has right of way. RCW § 46.61.050 requires drivers of all vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians to obey any and all official traffic control devices. This means that if a driver made a right on red against a driver turning left on green, s/he will be liable for violating traffic laws and causing an accident.
Note: This does not, however, allow the left-turning driver to plow into the right-turning driver. A left turning driver must yield to a driver who is already in the intersection or who cannot stop in time per RCW § 46.61.055. If a driver turning right, on red or green, is mid-turn, the left-turning driver must wait until s/he has 100 percent clearance before making the turn.
Who is liable if the left turning driver had a green light, but no turn arrow?
RCW § 46.61.185 provides that a left turning driver must yield right of way to any vehicle that is coming from the opposite direction, especially if that oncoming vehicle is already in, approaching the intersection, or clearly plans to turn right.
This means that if both parties have a solid green light, the driver turning right will have the right of way. However, the right-turning driver should always check for left-turning drivers before entering the intersection. And in no situation should the right-turning driver begin a turn if s/he sees the left-turning driver beginning to turn.
Who is liable if the left-turning driver had a red light or stop sign?
Of course, if the left-turning driver ran a red light or stop sign, s/he would be at fault (per a violation of RCW § 46.61.050). If the left turning driver came to full stop at the stop sign, and then proceeded as legally required, s/he would not be at fault.
If both drivers at a four- or two-way stop began the turn at the same time, fault would depend on which driver arrived first. For example, if the right-turning driver arrived at the stop before the left-turning driver, s/he would have the right of way to turn.
Can both drivers be at fault for an accident?
Yes. It is possible for both drivers to be at fault in an accident. For example, if a left turning driver saw the right-turning driver approach the intersection and turned anyway, s/he would be at-fault. However, if the right-turning driver turned even though the left-turning driver’s intentions were clear, s/he might share liability.
Both drivers might also share liability if both disobeyed traffic laws such as running a red light, or if both were distracted or intoxicated at the time of collision.
Where can I get help with my accident?
As you can see, when both drivers are making turns at the time of the accident, things can get complicated. You can count on the insurance companies to deny any liability and accuse the other driver of being at fault. And because the law can be murky and has many exceptions, these claims can be difficult to prove.
You do not want to handle this type of accident claim on your own. The Kirkland car accident lawyers at Max Meyers Law PLLC will evaluate your claim and fight the insurance company to get you everything you deserve. If the insurer is disputing liability, we will work with accident reconstruction experts to determine which party had the right of way during your collision.
Call us today at 425-399-7000 to schedule your free consultation and discuss your case.
Should I save damaged personal property in a car accident?
Yes. You might be able to recover compensation for certain damaged personal items, depending on how the accident occurred. Saving your damaged personal property will allow you to recover more compensation for your accident-related damages and can also help you prove fault.
What damaged property can I recover compensation for?
You might be able to recover compensation for any personal property that sustains damage. This might include:
- Cell phones
- MP3 players
- Any other electronic devices
- Work equipment (e.g., power tools, cameras, etc.)
- Anything else of value
What will I have to prove?
You must be able to prove the other driver was at fault, that your property sustained damage, and that the accident in question damaged the property.
To prove the damage, you will need to be able to show the condition of the property before and after the accident.
You will also need to establish the value of the property at the time of the accident.
Note: Even if you are able to prove the property’s actual value, the insurer will likely try to pay you as little as possible.
How can I prove the value of my damaged property?
If you have taken photos of your valuable personal property, you will want to include them with your claim as proof of the condition of your property before the accident.
If you took photos of where the items ended up in the crash, this can be very helpful in proving that you did not damage the property yourself (e.g., dropping your phone walking to your car and cracking the screen).
This will help counter an argument from the insurance company that the property was already damaged or in substandard condition prior to the accident.
How you establish its value depends on what the property is.
Purchase receipts can be useful in establishing both ownership and original value. It is possible to find previous model years of some items for sale online. This can help you establish the current market value of your items if it is not brand new.
Laptop computers, tablets, cell phones, and other portable electronics depreciate quickly (you will likely recover much less than you paid); however, if you registered them with the manufacturer, this can help determine the item’s value before the damage.
Many insurers will refuse to grant compensation for damaged personal property. For more information on what policies might pay to repair or replace your property, read our blog post here.
Where can I get help recovering compensation for my damaged personal property?
Recovering compensation for damaged personal property in a car accident will not be easy. But that does not mean it is impossible. With the help of a determined car accident attorney, you might be able to recover compensation for your damaged property and other accident-related expenses. For more information on how to recover compensation, call Max Meyers Law today at 425-399-7000 to schedule your free consultation.
How can I improve visibility in the rain?
When driving in the rain, visibility is one of the most important factors to avoid a motor vehicle crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), weather conditions were the critical reason for an estimated 58 percent of the motor vehicle crashes attributed to environmental factors:
- Fifty percent caused by slick roads
- Four percent caused by fog, rain, or snow
- Four percent caused by other weather-related conditions
Driving in the rain increases the risk of an accident because the roads are wet and it reduces visibility. You cannot do anything about the roads being wet, but there are steps you can take to improve your visibility.
Make sure you have good wipers that do not scrape or catch on the surface of your windshield. If you have a wiper for the rear window of your vehicle, check it too. Replace any wipers that are worn out and not effectively clearing your windshield.
Windshield Wiper Controls
The best wiper blades in the world will not do you any good if your windshield wiper controls are not working. Properly functioning controls are an essential piece of safety equipment for your vehicle. If your wiper controls begin to malfunction, immediately take your vehicle in for repair. Weather can be unpredictable, and having broken wiper controls is an unacceptable risk.
Several companies make rain repellant products for vehicle windshields. Read the reviews of several products, then choose one that seems to be a good product for your climate and environment.
Your vehicle headlights are vital for your safety. They illuminate your driving path and they help other drivers see you. If you are driving with old headlights that have become dull, you may struggle to see in front of you and other drivers may not see you as well in rainy conditions. Check these factors in particular to make sure your headlights are in good working order:
- Brightness – How well do they light your path?
- Distance – How far down the road can they illuminate?
- Haze – Do you have build-up on the surface of your headlights?
If your headlights are no longer sufficiently doing the job, you can replace the bulbs. Even if only one bulb is not working well, replace the bulbs in both headlights at the same time. This is an inexpensive safety upgrade.
If your headlights are covered with a dull build-up, try removing the build-up to improve performance. There are many products on the market for removing the build-up and then sealing the headlight covers to protect against future build-up.
In some rainy conditions, your high beams might cause glare and reflection, especially if there is fog with the rain. If this is the case, consider using your low beams if they provide sufficient illumination.
The defogger for your windshield and your rear window need to be working properly to prevent your windows from fogging up and obscuring your view. If your defoggers are not working correctly, take them in for repair right away.
If you have been injured while driving in the rain because of another driver’s negligence, contact a car accident lawyer at Max Meyers Law PLLC for help. Call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up your free consultation.
Who is liable for my injuries if I was a passenger in a car accident?
When you are a passenger in another's vehicle, you run the risk of being involved in a serious car accident. Even if the driver of the vehicle you are in is the safest driver you know, other negligent drivers or unavoidable hazards can occur that will leave you uncertain about your recovery. If you are a passenger in a car accident, you might not have any idea where to turn; we can help.
What do I do first?
The first step in these cases is to determine who was at fault for causing the accident. Through police reports and evidence from the crash site, the insurance companies and your lawyer will determine which of the following is true:
- The driver of the car you were riding in was negligent and caused the accident.
- The other driver’s negligence caused the accident.
- Both drivers involved caused the accident.
- An outside hazard (e.g., nature, animal, road damage, etc.) caused the accident.
With this information, you can establish liability and seek damages from the applicable source.
When should I file a claim with the insurance of the driver of the car I was in?
Accidents caused by your driver's negligence such as driving while intoxicated or distracted will fall under your driver's car insurance. If the insurance company does not consider you an insured member of the driver's household, you can file a claim for compensation through his/her bodily injury coverage.
If you are a member of his/her household and covered by his/her insurance, you will need to use your personal injury protection or medical benefits coverage to cover your injuries.
When should I file a claim with the other driver's insurance?
Accidents caused by the other driver’s negligence will make that driver and his/her insurance company liable for your injuries. Your lawyer will file a claim for damages against that driver's bodily injury coverage and seek compensation through any other applicable optional coverage.
How do I file a claim if both drivers are liable for the accident?
Your lawyer can review both drivers' insurance policies to determine which one will provide you with the most coverage. You will start with a claim under the policy with the highest coverage.
If the claim is insufficient and your lawyer can prove a greater extent of damages, you might be able to file a claim against both insurance policies.
Do I have to file a claim with my car insurance?
Car insurance claims can take a long time to negotiate and resolve. If you have car insurance of your own, you can opt to have your medical benefits policy (also known as MedPay) cover your medical bills. Not all policies have medical benefits, and your policy might not cover the full extent of your damages.
If your MedPay policy does not cover all of your damages, you are still entitled to file a claim with the liable driver's insurance, or even your driver's medical benefits. However, filing multiple claims will not entitle you to more damages than apply to your claim. Once one insurance pays part of your damages, the other insurance companies will reduce additional claims by that amount.
In some cases, your insurer may want to recover what it paid from your settlement with the at-fault driver (e.g., if your MedPay coverage paid $5,000 in medical bills, it will likely expect to receive that $5,000 from your settlement).
How can I protect my right to recover damages after a car accident?
Make sure you collect the contact and insurance information for all parties involved, including your driver. You should also collect as much information about the accident as possible; take pictures, write down eyewitness information, etc. With this information, your lawyer can begin determining the best course of action for your recovery.
Insurance claims can be very difficult to handle. Remember that the insurers (both the at-fault driver’s and your own) are businesses and will do what they can to reduce your settlement. For this reason, you should never agree to a recorded statement until you have spoken with us.
Max Meyers Law PLLC is a Kirkland law firm that helps passengers seek compensation for their injuries. Do not let the insurance companies coerce you into a low settlement.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with attorney Max Meyers and learn about your rights to a fair settlement: 425-399-7000.
Who is liable for blind spot accidents?
Car accidents are on the increase in Seattle. Many of these accidents occur when one driver hits a car in his blind spot. The driver who merged into his blind spot will likely argue that he is not at fault, so that raises the question, who is liable in blind spot accidents? Is it the driver of the car in the blind spot or the driver who merged into the blind spot?
What is a blind spot?
A blind spot is an area around a vehicle that the driver cannot see. This can be in different locations, depending on the type of vehicle involved, and the type of vehicle in the blind spot.
Who is at fault in a blind spot accident in Washington?
While most people check carefully — looking in their mirrors or turning their head to look at the sides of their car — to ensure nothing is in their car’s blind spots, not everyone can see everything. But does that mean a driver who does not see a car in his blind spot gets off scot-free?
Usually, no. In most cases, the driver who merged into the blind spot will be liable. This is because, under Washington State law [RCW § 46.61.140], no driver shall change lanes until he has “first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.”
If a driver hits a driver in his blind spot, he has likely not ensured that he could make the move safely, thereby behaving negligently.
However, the driver in the blind spot might be liable in a few cases. If the blind spot driver was attempting to pass on the right, he might be liable if he was illegally passing. (Drivers can only pass on the right in certain situations.)
If the driver was illegally passing, that means he likely violated RCW § 46.61.115. Violation of this — and of any — statute is negligence per se, which will establish breach of duty (discussed later).
The driver in the blind spot might also be liable if, while the other driver was attempting the overtake him, the blind spot driver sped up to keep the driver on the left from doing so. Under RCW § 46.61.110, the driver being overtaken from the left must yield to the overtaking driver.
If the driver on the left determined that there was enough room to pass safely, but the other driver sped up at the last minute, the other driver might be liable.
In some cases, drivers might share liability. For example, if a driver merges into his blind spot and hits a driver who sped up at the same time, both drivers might share liability.
While liability for a blind spot accident seems cut-and-dry, it is not always the case. We will investigate and reconstruct your accident to determine exactly how it happened and who was at fault.
How do I prove liability?
To have a valid claim, you must be able to prove that the other driver was behaving negligently. This requires proving the driver had a duty to drive safely and obey laws; that he breached that duty; that the breach was the direct cause of your injuries; and that you suffered measurable damages. Evidence you might need to provide to establish negligence includes:
- Photos of the vehicles (the angle of the vehicles will help to prove liability)
- Surveillance video
- Eyewitness testimony (another driver may have seen the driver merge without looking)
- Testimony from expert witnesses such as an accident reconstructionist
Where can I get help with my blind spot accident claim?
If you have been injured in an accident involving a blind spot, you need a Kirkland blind spot accident lawyer on your side. These cases can be difficult to prove, and the insurance company of the at-fault driver will likely deny liability.
With Max Meyers Law PLLC on the case, you will have a lawyer with the resources and ability to stand up to the insurance company and fight for you. Call our office today at 425-399-7000 to schedule your free consultation.
How can I prove the other driver was texting at the time of the car accident?
Texting is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do behind the wheel, yet countless people text and drive on our streets. When these drivers cause accidents, their victims deserve compensation. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to prove the other driver was texting at the time of your accident.
If you have been in a car accident in which the other driver was texting at the time of the accident, you need to have a personal injury lawyer evaluate your case and help obtain the evidence you need to prove your case. Call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 for help today.
Is texting and driving illegal in Washington State?
Yes. Washington State law prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving in RCW § 46.61.667, and specifically prohibits texting while driving in RCW § 46.61.668. There are some exceptions, such as for authorized emergency vehicles and calls for help by ordinary people who are not emergency responders.
If a driver reads, writes, or sends a text message on a wireless device, even if at a stop light or stuck in traffic, the driver has violated Washington State law.
The driver might deny texting, claiming that he was instead merely using his cell phone. Since Washington state law prohibits the use of cell phones (whether texting or talking) while driving unless the wireless device was being used in hands-free mode (i.e., using a headset, an earpiece or a speaker), this tactic is unlikely to be successful as a defense.
What should I do at the scene of the accident to prove my case?
There are several things you can and should do at the scene of the accident to preserve your claim against the driver who was texting:
- Notify the law enforcement officer at the scene that the driver was texting. The officer can take the cell phone as evidence under certain circumstances. (Note: Only do this if you saw the driver texting. Officers will likely not appreciate unfounded accusations.)
- Get the contact information of all possible eyewitnesses who may have seen the driver texting.
- Look around at the scene for any surveillance cameras that might help prove your case.
What should I do after the accident to prove my case?
After the accident, you should work with a car accident lawyer to locate and obtain all the evidence you can. For some types of evidence, your lawyer might have to use a subpoena to force the person or company to give you the evidence.
The driver's cell phone carrier is unlikely to provide the phone records voluntarily. Your lawyer might have to use a subpoena through the court to get the driver's cell phone records and to obtain surveillance camera footage from locations surrounding the scene of the accident.
Make sure to get eyewitness testimony early on, as memories can fade over time.
Make sure you get a copy of the police report. Note whether the police report mentions any use of cell phones or of text messaging by any of the drivers or passengers in the vehicles.
If the police report addresses this important issue, you and your lawyer need to discuss it. It can be very helpful if the police report identifies the cell phone service provider of the driver who was texting at the time of the accident. If it does not, there are other ways for your lawyer to obtain the necessary records.
Evidence You Need for Your Case
Car accident cases involving a texting driver need standard types of evidence typical in car accident cases, as well as some types of evidence that are unique to these cases. These can include:
- Police report information on cellphone usage and carrier
- Eyewitness testimony
- Cell phone service provider records
- Surveillance camera footage
It can be complicated and time-consuming to obtain the evidence you may need to prove that the other driver was texting at the time of the accident. Expect the insurance company to make it difficult to get the records you need, especially if the records do, in fact, show that the other driver was texting.
Dealing with the insurance company, especially if you were injured or sustained extensive property damage, can be just too much to handle.
You do not have to deal with it alone.
If you were in an accident with a driver who was texting at the time of the accident, you need to be in good hands to get the evidence required to prove your case. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 today.
Is the vehicle owner liable for loaning the vehicle to the person who caused my accident?
If the driver who caused your accident was driving a borrowed car, determining who is responsible for covering the cost of your injuries is not always straightforward. It is often the driver himself, although in some cases you may be able to find the vehicle owner liable, thanks to a concept known as negligent entrustment.
If you suffered serious injuries after an accident with a borrowed car, a Washington State car accident attorney can ensure you target the proper party. Call Max Meyers Law PLLC today for a free case evaluation: 425-399-7000.
What is negligent entrustment?
Negligent entrustment occurs when the owner of a vehicle loans it to an irresponsible party who any person exercising a normal level of caution would recognize as a risk to the safety of others on the road. For example, if a vehicle owner loans his car to someone without ensuring the driver borrowing the vehicle has a valid license, a clear driving record, and is sober, he may be liable for any accidents the driver causes.
What does the Washington State laws say about these accidents?
Under RCW § 4.04, any damage done by a reckless or incompetent driver piloting a borrowed vehicle may fall on the shoulders of the car’s owner if any reasonable person could have recognized the danger the driver posed to others.
In other words, if the car owner should have foreseen the accident or other issues stemming from driver negligence, the car owner is liable for injuries sustained in your crash.
When is the car owner responsible?
Under the concept of negligent entrustment, the car owner is liable when:
- The driver was incompetent
- The owner knew he was incompetent
- The owner loaned him the car despite knowing this
- The driver was negligent, causing the crash and your injuries
For example, if a vehicle owner knows that the driver has had a few drinks but still loans the car to him, he will be liable if that driver causes an accident. On the other hand, if the driver hid his drinking and the owner never knew that he was intoxicated, the owner may not be liable.
The owner may also be liable if he loans his car to someone with a known history of aggressive driving and accidents.Max Meyers Law PLLC helps Washington State car accident victims file insurance claims, negotiate settlements, and pursue other legal options when necessary to ensure clients get the compensation they need. If you have medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages or other accident-related expenses, we can help you get money to pay for these damages. Contact us today at 425-399-7000 to learn more.
Is a driver who violated a traffic law automatically at fault?
While we expect all drivers to treat us with care and obey all traffic laws, some drivers break laws and cause accidents. While some states consider breaking traffic laws in an accident “negligence per se,” Washington State law says that just because the other driver was speeding, ran a stop sign, ignored a traffic signal, failed to yield, or violated another traffic law does not mean he is always automatically at fault.
Even though this seems unfair, traffic laws still play an important role in establishing duty of care, and you can submit these violations as proof that will support the driver’s breach of that duty.
Are there exceptions to the law?
Washington State still follows negligence per se when the at-fault driver broke a law relating to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This includes all local ordinances, county statutes, state laws, or even administrative rules.
In short, this means that a driver automatically breached his duty of care and acted negligently if he received a citation for drunk driving or a related violation. You will, however, still have to prove this caused the accident that led to your injuries in order to claim compensation.
Let us consider an example: if the driver ran a red light and hit you while you were driving through the intersection, the other driver is not automatically at fault for the accident. However, if you are able to prove that the driver passed out and ran the red light, you will be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.
Note: Do not think that just because the driver was intoxicated that he was 100 percent at fault. If the driver can prove that you were speeding through the intersection, you may be partially at fault which would reduce your compensation amount, e.g., if you are 10 percent at fault, you compensation would be 10 percent less.
Can attorney Max Meyers help me win the compensation I need?
Max Meyers Law PLLC is a Washington State personal injury firm that helps car accident victims get the compensation they deserve to cover crash-related damages. If you need help getting money to pay for medical bills, rehabilitation, ongoing healthcare costs, lost wages and other expenses, call one of our car accident attorneys.Contact us today for a free, no obligation case evaluation: 425-399-7000. We can file a claim, gather evidence, manage communications and negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurer, and even file a lawsuit if necessary.
When is a vehicle manufacturer liable for a car accident?
We trust the manufacturers of the cars on our roads have designed and produced them with safety in mind and have adhered to high quality standards. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and negligent manufacturers can create dangerous situations if they sell defective or dangerous vehicles. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be able to hold a vehicle manufacturer liable for your injuries.
Manufacturer Liability Laws
The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) § 7.72.030(1) states, "a product manufacturer is subject to liability to a claimant if the claimant's harm was proximately caused by the negligence of the manufacturer in that the product was not reasonably safe as designed or not reasonably safe because adequate warnings or instructions were not provided."
This law places liability on manufacturers if they sell a dangerously designed vehicle or fail to include proper warnings or instructions for use in an owner’s manual. Warnings may include stickers placed on various areas such as behind the sun visors where they warn about front seat airbags.
An example of defective liability is if the design of your vehicle model put the engine too close to the power steering lines. As the car runs, the engine heats up, and the lines melt, causing a loss of control. If this resulted in a crash and you can show evidence that the melted wires caused you to lose steering control, you may be able to hold your vehicle's manufacturer liable for that design flaw.
RCW § 7.72.030(2) adds to the manufacturer's liability by stating that a manufacturer may be liable for damages caused by a vehicle that was, "not reasonably safe in construction." This means that even if the manufacturer designed the car to be safe, if it did not assemble it properly at the factory, you can hold the manufacturer liable for your vehicle’s defects from production.
Strict Liability in a Dangerous or Defective Vehicle Claim
The laws hold product manufacturers to a higher standard of liability than your average person. This law, known as strict liability, allows you to hold the manufacturer liable without having to present proof that the manufacturer was negligent. Strict liability laws came about to make filing claims against big manufacturers easier on claimants.
To be eligible to receive compensation, you must prove three things:
- The vehicle was unreasonably dangerous due to the design, manufacture, or delivery of the vehicle at the time of purchase.
- The defect caused an accident while you were using the vehicle in a normal and safe manner.
- You did not “substantially modify” the vehicle from its factory condition.
Using a vehicle in a normal and safe manner means you were following all applicable traffic laws and the accident would not have occurred but for the defect. A substantial modification would be modifying a part of the vehicle that is integral to how the vehicle performs, such as the engine.
Filing a Defective Vehicle Claim Against a Manufacturer
While strict liability does make it easier to file a claim, the manufacturer may be successful in defending against your claim if it had already started a recall for the defect before the accident. The manufacturer may claim you failed to heed prior warnings and correct the problem, which would make you liable for your injuries.
Fighting vehicle manufacturers on claims of dangerous or defective vehicles is difficult to do alone. A Washington car accident attorney can help you prove that the cause of your accident was a manufacturer and not personal negligence.
Contact Max Meyers Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your potential claim: 425-399-7000.
Can I report aggressive drivers in Seattle?
We have all been on the road when we see the car in front of us weaving in and out of traffic, narrowly avoiding other cars and not seeming to care whether he misses or not. And chances are we have all written it off and gone about our day. But is there something we can do about it? Can we report aggressive drivers? Do the police even care?
Yes, you can report aggressive drivers and Washington State really wants you to. The Washington State Police (WSP) is so devoted to keeping the roads safe that it created the Aggressive Driving Apprehension Team whose sole purpose is getting drivers who exhibit aggressive behaviors off the road.
What behaviors should I report?
Aggressive driving can consist of many different behaviors, but a few behaviors to be alert for include:
- Speeding (especially through construction or school zones)
- Cutting other drivers off
- Speeding up to get through traffic lights at intersections/running red lights
- Refusing to yield the right of way
- Making threatening or obscene gestures to others on the road
- Texting and driving
- Driving while impaired
Does WSP need any information from me?
If you encounter a driver exhibiting the above behaviors on the road, call 911 immediately. Try to identify the color, make and model of the vehicle, any identifying characteristics, license plate number, the location you saw the vehicle, and which way it was headed.
Be sure to do this safely. Do not distract and endanger yourself or others attempting to gather this information. Pull over and call 911 when it is safe to do so. Never follow the aggressive driver in an attempt to confront him or gather more information.
In the event that there is no immediate issue but you realize that there has been a problem in the past, you can still make a report to your WSP district office.
For past incidents, you will need to identify, in addition to the details described above, the approximate dates and times that you have observed the behavior. If there is a consistent time that you have seen a certain car, make note of it. Be prepared to discuss the incidents in detail. Your testimony will be important in keeping Washington drivers safe.
In any event, if you or your loved one suffered injury in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, speak with a car accident lawyer to protect your interests. Contact Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000.
How does Washington State define aggressive driving?
Washington State defines aggressive driving as when an individual commits “two or more moving violations” likely to endanger people or property. The definition also includes a “single intentional violation that requires a defensive reaction of another driver.” Essentially, this means that if a driver commits two or more traffic violations that may injure others or commits one act to require another driver to react in a defensive manner, e.g. swerving to avoid.
So what kind of behaviors does Washington State consider aggressive driving?
As stated above, Washington State considers actions that may endanger others aggressive driving. These may include:
- Driving while impaired
- Driving while distracted
- Following too closely
- Disregarding traffic signs
- Passing improperly
- Weaving through traffic
- Accelerating to lights
- Honking or flashing headlights
- Using vulgar language or signals
- Making threatening gestures
- Braking excessively
- Driving to impede another
Any of these indicators alone shows a lack of concern for the safety of the offending driver, his or her passengers, and the rest of the people on the road. In combination, not only are they dangerous, but they can in fact be deadly.
Why does it matter?
Because aggressive driving is a factor in so many accidents, knowing how Washington State defines it will help you in an accident claim. If an aggressive driver caused your accident, you can use his reckless and aggressive driving to show negligence and establish liability.
For example, if you were following all the rules of the road (driving within the speed limit, using your turn signals, paying attention) and a driver cut you off and you rear-ended him, if you saw him behaving erratically, you can use that to prove that he was at fault.
If you can prove the other driver was at fault in your accident, he may have to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
Note: In certain cases, such as if a driver intentionally ran you off the road, you may be able to sue for punitive damages, which a judge awards to “punish” the defendant and deter any further malicious wrongdoing,
If you or someone you care about sustained injuries in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, it is important to take action quickly. Be sure to speak with a Seattle car accident attorney about filing a claim for your injuries. Contact Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000.
Can rideshare partnerships with Uber and Lyft reduce drunk driving?
There is no doubt that reducing the number of drunk drivers on the roads is a public health goal. One innovative approach involves rideshare partnerships between state and local governments and private rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft. It is a well-known fact that people tend to drink more on holidays, which is why it is perhaps not very surprising that these partnerships focused, in part, on New Year's Eve.
What are the partnerships?
The Washington Traffic Safety Committee (WTSC) used this approach and teamed up with Uber, on New Year’s Eve 2016, for its Target Zero initiative to put a stop to traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. The Washington State Patrol supplied extra DUI checkpoints from November 1 to January 1 as part of the initiative and Uber offered first-time riders $20 off their ride.
The City of Seattle built on WTSC’s Target Zero initiative and teamed up with Lyft and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as part of its Vision Zero initiative with the same aims. The partnership started December 30, 2015 and runs throughout 2016.
What are the benefits?
The most important benefit of these initiatives is that they save lives, however, what makes them appealing is the direct benefit for customers. They receive a discount and they get home safe. In addition, the initiatives keep impaired drivers off the road by both giving impaired revelers an incentive to stay off the roads and by forcing rideshare drivers to stay sober.
Moreover, if a discounted Uber or Lyft ride and ensuring the safety of others is not enough incentive, riders save themselves from a DUI, which can include fines, jail time, and a license suspension. They also save themselves from having to fund an Ignition Interlock Device, which can cost $50-$100 a month.
Even though WTSC’s partnership with Uber seems to have only been for one night, remember that the City of Seattle’s partnership continues and Lyft is still offering $10 off five rides during 2016. The city also plans to expand the partnership to include other companies.
Regardless of what each initiative offers, they both have one common and that is to get Washingtonians home safe. However, not everyone is going to follow these recommendations. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver, contact a car accident attorney at Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000 today.
Should I report a minor car accident in Seattle?
Minor fender benders happen every day, often with little or no damage to the vehicles themselves, much less the occupants inside them. So, for these minor inconveniences, do you really need to call your insurance company and report the minor car accident? The answer, in every case, is yes.
Why should I report minor car accidents?
Think of your insurance policy as a contract with the insurance company. They, for example, promise to pay you certain benefits if you are in an accident. And you, on the other hand, promise things as well. And one of the things you promise to do is to let them know if you are in an accident. Therefore, from that perspective alone, you need to preserve your relationship and coverage by letting them know about the accident. You should also be sure to report the accident to the at-fault driver's insurer as well to ensure they are aware of the situation.
In addition, you should also always call the police, even if the accident was a minor fender-bender in a parking lot. Getting a police report is a critical step in the investigation and determination of fault, if that is in question. It is also a great way to gather evidence showing the extent of damages.
What are the risks of not reporting?
You take two big risks not reporting a minor car accident. The first is not collecting key evidence that you can use to prove potential injuries. Even though you may not feel any injuries, many soft-tissue injuries do not show symptoms until 24 to 48 hours after impact. Adrenaline may also hide other injuries. (Always have a doctor check you out after any accident; this can help prove the connection between the accident and any injuries.)
The second risk is that your insurance company does not have the option to investigate and gather facts about the accident, which would help you in an injury case. Your insurer may also drop you for breach of contract (not reporting an accident).
The bottom line is that not reporting the accident is not worth the risk of violating your insurance contract or losing irreplaceable evidence. You may not need the services of a car accident attorney if the injuries themselves are minor, but you will definitely want the protection of insurance in any event. If you do find that the circumstances are complicated or injuries appear over time, contact Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000.
What is reckless driving in Washington State and how do I prove it caused my accident?
Reckless driving in Washington State is defined as driving that is “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons” using the road. The law also includes a disregard for property as a characteristic of reckless driving. A person who operates a motor vehicle in this manner is guilty of reckless driving. These offenses are considered misdemeanor offenses, and are punishable under the law.
To prove that reckless driving caused your car accident, you must provide evidence that can include:
- Red light and speed camera footage
- Police reports
- Investigation reports
What kinds of behaviors are included in the term “reckless driving?”
The term “reckless driving” could include a range of driving behaviors that range from driving at excessive speeds to negligent lane changes. Reckless driving can also include:
- Running red lights
- Making turns without using appropriate turn signals
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Distracted driving
Can I hold a motorist liable if he is guilty of any of these behaviors?
If a motorist is guilty of just one of these behaviors, a court may not necessarily find that he was guilty of reckless or negligent driving. You may have to establish that the motorist indulged in more than one of these behaviors.
Merely running a red light may not suffice; however, if you are able to establish that the person was driving under the influence of alcohol and ran a red light, your chances of establishing liability are much higher. A court may not consider speeding by itself as reckless driving. However, a court could consider driving at excessive speeds that are almost guaranteed to result in an accident as reckless driving.
In addition, a person could be driving at posted speeds, but could still be guilty of reckless driving if he was driving at a pace too high for the current traffic, and weather conditions. Therefore, it is important to investigate the accident and the other motorist’s driving at the time thoroughly in order to clearly establish the role of reckless driving in causing your accident. Discuss how to establish liability in your reckless driving accident claim with a car accident lawyer.
How can I get help after an accident?
Reckless driving accidents are typically high-impact accidents that result in devastating injuries. If you believe your accident was caused by reckless driving, speak with car accident attorney Max Meyers at Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000 or fill out our online contact form, and learn if you have grounds for a claim to help you recover damages for medical expenses, lost income and other damages. After an accident, download our free eBook, Car Accident Secrets Unlocked for any questions you may have.
If I use my PIP insurance, will my insurance go up?
Many people wonder if their insurance will go up after an accident. Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance rate should not increase purely because you use the coverage. In Washington State, insurance rates can only increase if you were at fault in an auto accident. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident, and investigations found that you were legally intoxicated at the time of the accident, the insurance company is likely to consider you as being at fault. In a case like this, your insurance rates could likely increase.
What is Personal Injury Protection?
PIP coverage is insurance coverage that will cover your medical expenses and lost income when you are involved in an auto accident. It is not mandatory to purchase Personal Injury Protection, but it is highly recommended that you do so.
If I am at fault in an accident, how much will my PIP rates increase?
How much your PIP rate increases really depends on the company. The company may increase your rates even if this was the very first accident on your record. In Washington, all insurance companies must file their insurance rates with the insurance department, and must also include clear definitions of how they will increase rates when they choose to do so.
Typically, most insurance companies will comply with the Insurance Services Office standard, and may increase insurance premiums according to the schedule. However, rate increases can differ widely from insurer to insurer.
Some insurance companies may slap you with a higher insurance premium for a moving violation, while other insurance companies have policies that will only increase insurance rates when you have been involved in a “chargeable” accident. These are accidents for which your insurance company has paid out a significant amount in damages. If your car is expensive to insure, and you are involved in an accident, you might find your premiums increasing substantially.
Talk to a car accident lawyer to learn what kind of insurance rate increases you can expect after an accident. For advice about insurance companies and what to expect after an accident download our eBooks “Car Accident Secrets Unlocked”, “Bicycle Accident Secrets Unlocked”, and “Motorcycle Accident Secrets Unlocked”.
Understanding how your PIP coverage works can be frustrating. If you have questions about the coverage that applies to you after an accident, call 425-399-7000 or schedule a free consultation to speak with an attorney at Max Meyers Law PLLC.
Should I take a Quick Settlement my Injury Accident Claim?
Many insurance companies will misinform consumers and trick them into believing that receiving a quick settlement is somehow a good thing after suffering injury in a Washington car accident.
Insurance Companies Count on Your Stress
When you’re injured in an accident through no fault of their own, medical bills can add up quickly, as can lost wages from missing time at work. The financial stress can quickly become overwhelming. Insurance companies use your stress to their advantage by offering a “quick settlement” to lure the injury victim into settling a car accident claim. Insurance companies also count on some folks thinking "I don't want to take advantage" or "I just want my ER medical bill paid."
The problem with this is you may not know the full extent of your damages a couple days or a week after the wreck. More serious injuries sometimes don’t become apparent right away (like injuries to a disc in your spine) and it can take weeks or months after the wreck for your doctor to figure out exactly what’s wrong and why you’re not recovering as quickly as expected. However, once an accident victim agrees to settle their personal injury claim it cannot be reopened!
Settling your claim before all of the potential injuries and damages have been discovered risks having more issues come up down the road that won’t be compensated. What if you need surgery down the road? The insurance company knows and is why they are moving quickly. They know if you accept a quick settlement you are likely not receiving full fair compensation for all losses you have suffered in the crash.
Paperwork isn’t always required to form a settlement. If the insurance gives you an injury settlement check and you deposit it, that can be taken as your consent or agreement to settle or close the claim altogether, even though you signed no paperwork.
What Are Your Legal Options - Call For A Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident in Washington State, attorney Max Meyers and the team at Max Meyers Law PLLC can help get your life back on track. Attorney Max Meyers operates on a contingency fee basis, which relieves the financial stress of affording a quality lawyer. If we do not recover compensation for you, you don’t owe attorney fees.
Call for a Free Consultation 425-399-7000.
I was hit by a stolen car, who will pay for my car repairs and medical bills?
This is a nightmare situation!! Normally the insurance for the car that hit you covers your damages, EXCEPT when the vehicle is stolen and the thief causes an accident with you. In this situation there is almost always no insurance available from the at-fault vehicle. If the thief had his own car insurance that could cover you but in all likelihood he has no car insurance of his own either.
What do you do?
You are going to have to lean heavily on your own auto insurance policy. Your insurance premium won't increase because you were not at fault, so don't hestitate to get your insurance involved early. If your rates do go up, contact the Washington Insurance Commissioner and file a complaint.
If you have collision coverage then your car repairs will be paid by your insurance company. You will have to pay for your deductible. But it's better to pay a few hundred dollars instead of a few thousand. If you have no collsision insurance coverage, unfortunately you will be left footing the bill yourself.
If you have PIP insurance your medical bills will be paid under that coverage up to 10,000 or 35,000 depending on the coverage you purchased. If you exceed the PIP coverage or have no PIP, then your health insurance will have to cover your medical bills to treat your accident injuries. Again, you will have to pay the deductibles and co-pays that apply. If you have neither PIP or health insurance, then there is one last resort option, Washington Crime Victims compansation program.
The Washington Crime Victims program is designed to help victims of violent crimes not be financially ruined by medical expenses and other associated expense suffered. In auto accident cases, if you were hit by a thief in a stolen vehicle or a DUI driver you would likely qualify for coverage. If you qualify, the program will pay some or perhaps all of your medical bills. This can be a huge blessing in a very bad sitaution. However, the Crime Victims program has a limited yearly budget. Once the budget for a year runs out then no more claims are paid. If you have an accident case where crime victims may help it's important to apply as soon as poosible.
Pain & Suffering
Hopefully you purchased lots of unisured motorist (UM insurance) on your own auto insurance policy. This coverage is designed to cover situations like this when the at-fault vehicle and/or driver have no insurance. UM insurance in essence steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver and provides insurance as if the at-fault driver was covered. UM insurance will cover all medical bills, lost wages, and other harms and losses (i.e. pain & suffering) up to the limit you purchased. However, UM insurance only pays one time so it's important to complete all injury treatment and make sure you are fully healed before talking settlement with the UM insurance adjuster. UM insurance doesn't pay medical bills as you treat or lost wages when you are home recovering, PIP does this.
If you find yourself dealing with all of these issues, you may benefit greatly from talking to a experience attorney who knows all the ins and outs of situations like this. Do yourself a favor and call attorney Max Mayers at 425-399-7000 to find out what your legal rights are before dealing with all of the items discussed above.
You may also find Max's book "Car Accident Secrets Unlocked" helpful as well.
What is my Seattle car, bicycle, or motorcycle accident case worth?
The answer is not as simple as you might think. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula or calculation where you plug in the numbers and a value is spit out. The old saying about multiplying your medical bills by 3, 4 or whatever and that’s your case value is false. Determining what your injury case is worth is more complicated.
There are multiple factors that influence case value:
loss of wages,
loss of ability to do your job/profession,
permanent injuries if any,
length of recovery time,
frequency of injury symptoms,
severity of injury symptoms,
intangible harms (like pain, frustration, stress, humiliation experience when recovering from injuries),
Accident victims can be entitled to compensation for some or all of the above factors depending on the specific injuries suffered.
The biggest impact in determining the value of an injury accident case is the total cost, extent, and length of medical treatment and whether a full recovery was made or if there are permanent and lingering injuries. If you treat for only a couple months and make a full recovery your case value is less than someone who treats for years and is left with a permanent injury. The more severe your injuries the more likely you will benefit, often greatly, from hiring an attorney to help you with your case.
The best way to get a range of what your Washington car, bicycle or motorcycle accident case may be worth is to talk to an experienced, knowledgeable attorney in your local area. If you have questions now, give me a call at 425-399-7000.
Do I have to pay income taxes on my Washington injury settlement?
This is one of the most frequent questions from clients when deciding on a settlement offer. The short answer in Washington is generally NO taxes are owed on money received in settlement of a personal injury claim.
Compensation for an injury is not considered income for tax purposes. You may be asking what does that mean exactly? According to current IRS law, if a car accident victim obtains a settlement for injuries suffered in an accident, which are paid by another party (for example, from the at-fault driver who hit you), the settlement money is not taxable.
Of course there are always exceptions!
The IRS generally taxes Punitive Damages. What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages are money that a driver is ordered to pay over and above the full value of a case. They are meant to be additional punishment because the conduct of the at-fault person was so bad or outrageous the jury or judge has decided to set an example for every other driver to heed.
The message of punitive damages is to all drivers beware, you better not do this, or you could be faced with owing a huge amount of money.
However, in Washington state punitive damages are not usually available in car accident claims.
When the media talks about huge verdicts from car accident cases, it usually is from another state that allows punitive damages.
If you are thinking about accepting an insurance company's settlement offer but don't have a lawyer, it might be a good idea to give an experienced Washington injury attorney a call to review your case and make sure you're doing the right thing. If you'd like to talk now, call 425-399-7000.
Who has the right of way at an uncontrolled intersection in Washington?
Two drivers approach an intersection at the same time. There is no traffic light, stop sign, or other traffic control device. Who has the right of way in the state of Washington?
Accidents happen when drivers don't know the answer to this question. Sometimes with tragic results.
Washington state law under RCW 46.61.180 says:
"When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right."
Many Seattle neighborhoods have uncontrolled intersections like this. Plus there are often cars parked on one or both sides of the street blocking the view of approaching vehicles. Driving too fast to and through these intersections can result in serious car accidents and injuries to passengers. The best bet is to drive cautiously and slowly when approaching an uncontrolled intersection. The life you save may be your own or your family members.
If you have a disputed collision the best thing to do is contact Max Meyers Law to discuss your specific accident circumstances. The exact details of what happened will determine who's at-fault, and if both drivers are partially at fault, that can complicate the claim as Washington's comparative negligence laws will apply. If you were in a car accident at an intersection, please call Max Meyers at 425-399-7000 to set up a consultation to review your case and discuss your legal options.