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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  • Using Hands-Free Devices While Driving: Safe or Dangerous?

    We all know distracted driving is dangerous. But in our eternal quest to increase our productivity through multitasking, we continue to engage in various types of distracting behaviors. Fortunately, the marketplace is flooded with tons of hands-free devices like Bluetooth cell phones and even voice command navigation and cell phone features built right into the center console of your car. But new evidence indicates using hands-free devices while driving is not as safe as we first assumed. Find out more about the safety of hands free devices from the Kirkland car accident lawyers at Max Meyers Law.

    How dangerous is using your phone while driving?

    According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), sending a text message keeps your eyes off of the road for four to five seconds. Traveling at 55 miles per hour, this is enough time to drive across an entire football field.

    During the time that your eyes are off the road, a pedestrian may step into your path or the driver in front of you may slam on her brakes.

    Talking on the phone causes inattention blindness, an inability to stay in the lane, and a slower response and reaction time, according to the National Safety Council (NSC) in its report Understanding the Distracted Brain.

    Are hands-free devices really safe to use?

    Intuitively, we assume that hands-free devices, such as a Bluetooth headset for your cell phone, are safer to use while driving than traditional cell phone usage. After all, although it is illegal to talk on your cell phone in many states, those same states make exceptions for hands-free conversations. However, hands-free technology may not actually be safe.

    Woman driving while speaking into a hands-free device. 

    According to the NSC, drivers are four times more likely to get into an accident while using a cell phone. Furthermore, they argue that there is no difference in this risk between traditional cell phone use and hands-free use. This is because talking on a cell phone limits your ability to focus on the road.

    For example, the NSC claims that activity in the part of your brain that processes moving images decreases by up to 33 percent while you are talking on a cell phone. Furthermore, drivers who are speaking on a cell phone have a narrower field of view than those who are not distracted. This means that even if your hands are both on the wheel, you could still be involved in an accident.

    And it is not just hands-free phone conversations that are dangerous. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that voice-to-text messaging through the car’s dashboard or Bluetooth system can actually be more distracting for drivers than traditional texting by hand.

    And the distraction does not stop once you end your text. Mental distractions can linger for up to 27 seconds after sending a voice text.

    Myth Busted: Hands-Free Technology is NOT Safe

    It is not just the NSC and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that agree hands-free technology is not safe to use. The MythBusters team set out to discover whether hands-free cell phone use is actually safer than regular cell phone use while driving.

    In two separate studies, one with the hosts of the show driving on a closed obstacle course and the other with multiple drivers operating cars within a high-tech driving simulator, the results were the same: driving while using hands-free cell phone technology is equally as bad as driving while talking on a hand-held phone.

    Contact Max Meyers Law if You Were Hurt in a Crash

    Now that you know hands-free technology is not as safe as we initially thought, keep this in mind as you and your loved ones get behind the wheel. Whenever possible, postpone your calls until you can pull over to the side of the road or you reach your destination. Taking this precaution could save your life.

    Regardless of the cause of your accident, if you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident, contact a car accident attorney at Max Meyers Law, PLLC at 425-399-7000 to set up your initial consultation today.

  • Can I file an injury claim with minimal vehicle damage?

    The absence of vehicle damage should not impair your ability to collect an injury settlement. However, many insurance companies deny injury claims because the vehicle damage is not consistent with the claimant’s injuries. While insurance companies are within their right to question your injuries if there was little vehicle damage, some injuries can occur without vehicle damage. If you are having trouble recovering compensation from an injury claim with minimal vehicle damage, Max Meyers can help.

    Call a Kirkland car accident lawyer today at 425-399-7000 for help with providing the right evidence to prove your right to a settlement. 

    Does my vehicle have to show damage on the outside?

    No, a well-built bumper in a rear-end collision might show no signs of damage. However, the force of the impact could cause internal damage to your bumper, trunk, and even wheel alignment. Most manufacturers use a foam and steel core to make their bumpers and then cover it with an external plastic shell. This plastic shell will take the brunt of the impact, pushing the plastic back into the foam.

    Plastic is pliable, and a dent can easily pop back into shape on its own, leaving little to no signs of impact. However, the interior core could suffer damage and therefore reduce your protection in a later, more serious accident.

    It is important to have a mechanic inspect your vehicle for hidden damage and include his/her report in your claim.

    How can I be injured if my vehicle has no damage?

    Today's vehicle manufacturers are designing smarter cars, capable of reducing damage in crashes. The addition of crumple zones and reinforced impact areas help a vehicle sustain less damage when another car hits it. However, even if your vehicle does not show outward signs of damage, the contents within — you and your passengers — can suffer serious injuries in a collision.

    When a moving object such as a car comes to an abrupt stop, the items inside do not stop at the same moment. Therefore, upon impact, your body continues to move forward. This movement can cause whiplash, back injuries, and much more.

    If the force forward is great enough, you could also suffer bruises and damage to your chest and abdomen from where the seat belt holds you back. If the airbags deploy, the bag force could injure your face, head, or arms.

    How can insurance companies deny my injury claim for lack of vehicle damage?

    Even though property damage should have no effect on your injury claim, insurers can and will use any excuse to deny your claim.

    It is not right, but unless the insurer is acting in bad faith (e.g., committing deceptive practices, failing to uphold duties, etc.), it is likely not violating any rules.

    What can I do to preserve my injury claim?

    The insurance company might claim your injuries are pre-existing and could not have occurred from the car accident. If this is the case, your medical evidence should be able to prove them wrong.

    We can collect your medical records from before the accident and compare them with your post-accident diagnosis. Additionally, doctors can sometimes determine how old an injury is by looking at scar tissue or scans of the area. When necessary, we can bring in medical experts to testify on behalf of your claim. 

    You should also make sure to call the police and have them investigate the scene to create a police report. If there are witnesses, their testimony could help prove how the accident occurred and verify that there was an impact between your vehicle and the other vehicle.

    When You Are Injured, Do Not Take No for an Answer

    The insurance companies will not pay out for a claim unless they have to. If you do not pursue your settlement with solid information and evidence of your right to injury damages, you will likely lose the compensation you deserve. Max Meyers Law is here to help Seattle residents avoid this situation, no matter how little damage is visible on their vehicle.

    Call a car accident lawyer at 425-399-7000 to discuss your options during a free consultation.

  • What is a structured settlement in a car accident case?

    A structured settlement pays an injury victim the compensation from his/her claim over time instead of in a single lump sum. Some injury victims opt for a structured settlement in a car accident case, while others end up with one through a court order.

    Before you choose a structured settlement, or if the court ordered one in your case, there are a number of things you need to know about how this will affect your pay out.

    At Max Meyers Law, we can help you understand the pros and cons of a structured settlement, and ensure you structure your settlement in a way that works for you and your family. Call our Kirkland office at 425-399-7000 to schedule a time to discuss your case with Washington State car accident lawyer Max Meyers.

    Why do some injured parties use structured settlements in Washington State car accident claims?

    Most victims receive car accident settlements in a lump sum payment. This type of payout offers the victim and his/her family quick access to a lot of money they likely need, but it also has a number of drawbacks. With an influx of cash, families often struggle to budget funds for long-term care and many run out of money long before the victim receives all the care s/he needs.

    While you can choose your payment type, courts often order structured settlements when the victim is a minor. Because car accident settlements should cover the ongoing care costs of the victim, it is important to ensure the money is available when care is necessary. A structured settlement offers a steady influx of funds to cover these costs, without the family having to budget the money or worry about theft or fraud.

    What does Washington law say about structured settlements?

    Washington State offers protection for accident victims who receive structured settlements through the Structured Settlement Protection Act. This law requires a court review of any proposed structured settlement, and a number of mandatory disclosures, including:

    • A schedule for payments, including amounts and dates of transfer
    • The value of each payment, known as the “discounted present value”
    • Amount of any up-front cash payments
    • Any expenses stemming from the annuity


    Many people worry about paying taxes on a Washington State personal injury settlement. However, this is not a concern you should stress about. Both a lump sum settlement and a structured settlement from a Kirkland car accident claim are tax-free. The compensation from most personal injury cases is non-taxable according to federal law.

    Note: Compensation for lost wages is taxable.

    Do I need a lawyer to help me with my structured settlement?

    It is difficult to weigh all of the factors that come with taking a structured settlement, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You will also need to consider how to design the structure to best suit your family’s current and future needs.

    You will receive a part of your settlement immediately, to cover your current bills and to pay your attorney. Then, a broker will pay out the remainder of your settlement over a set time period, such as 20 years or the life of the victim. These payments typically come monthly.

    Not every month has to be the same amount, though. Structured settlements offer a lot of leeway to include predictable expenditures. This allows you to build in options for things like replacing a wheelchair, paying for your child’s college tuition or other needs. However, it is important to design your settlement in a way that works well for your family. Once the structured settlement is in place, you cannot alter it.

    For this reason, you should have a lawyer with structured settlement experience help work out the various complexities that come with a structured settlement.

    Max Meyers Law: Your Kirkland Structured Settlement Lawyer

    At Max Meyers Law, we can work with you to determine if a structured settlement is right for you. Our Kirkland car accident attorney can ensure you see the full picture of your family’s current financial situation and anticipate your future needs. Lastly, we can negotiate a structured settlement agreement that is fair and equitable.

    Call our office today at 425-399-7000 to schedule a time to meet with Max Meyers, and discuss your Washington State car accident claim.
     

  • Can I change lawyers in the middle of my car accident case?

    Yes. If you are not satisfied with your auto accident attorney, you have the right to schedule a consultation with another attorney, switch lawyers or even drop your lawyer all together and represent yourself. However, just because you can drop your attorney, represent yourself, or change lawyers in the middle of a car accident case does not mean it is always a good idea.

    For example, at Max Meyers Law, we would never suggest that you represent yourself in a car accident case where you stand accused of contributory fault.

    There may be a time, though, when you need to consider switching lawyers. There is no doubt that navigating through a personal injury case is stressful, and emotions often run high. Disagreements are bound to happen between attorneys and their clients.

    But if you cannot communicate with your lawyer, or if you would prefer someone with a different outlook on your claim, then you may need to consult with a different Kirkland car accident attorney. There is no doubt that having the right representation can impact the outcome of your claim.

    Are there rules and regulations that protect me if I switch attorneys?

    Washington State law gives you the right to change lawyers at almost any point during your car accident case. We encourage you to communicate your concerns with your lawyer as clearly as possible, and attempt to work out any differences before considering making a change. However, sometimes a change is necessary.

    If you opt to switch lawyers, the Rules of Professional Conduct state that your former attorney must still act in a way that protects your best interests. This includes maintaining all of the protections required in an attorney-client relationship such as confidentiality. If the attorney violates any of these rules, s/he may face sanctions from the Washington State Bar, and could even lose his/her right to practice law in the state.

    What happens with my case file?

    Under Washington State law, all of the documents associated with a car accident claim belong to the client who is paying for the legal services. This means that you retain your file if you ask your lawyer to withdraw from your case.

    Some attorneys may make this process more difficult than others, but most will forward all original papers and other documentation to your new attorney as soon as possible.

    How will I handle paying attorney’s fees?

    Since most lawyers handle Washington personal injury claims on a contingency basis, paying your attorney typically happens when your claim settles. This does not usually change when you swap attorneys. Your new attorney should arrange to pay your first attorney any money due after you win compensation. 

    How much you owe your original attorney depends on a number of factors, including:

    • How many hours of work s/he put into your case
    • The fee agreement you signed
    • Whether you paid a retainer
    • Any unethical behavior on his/her part, or other defenses

    Depending on why you changed lawyers, we may be able to help you negotiate a lower payment to your first lawyer or work with you to keep you from paying any additional expenses above and beyond what you expected to pay. It is also important to note that if you paid a retainer, your lawyer should refund any unused portion at the time you ask them to withdraw from the case.

    How could this affect my car accident case?

    The biggest downside to switching lawyers is that it often prolongs the case. It takes time for the new lawyer to learn about your case, any negotiations, and any motions the first attorney already filed. For this reason, it may not be the best time to switch right before a court date.

    At the same time, though, having a lawyer who fits your personality and understands your needs is an important part of walking away with a fair and just settlement in your case.

    If you question the quality of your representation and having an open and frank discussion with your attorney has not changed anything, it may be time to schedule an appointment with Kirkland personal injury lawyer Max Meyers.

    Max Meyers Law: Kirkland Car Accident Attorney

    Car accident lawyer Max Meyers and his team at Max Meyers Law understand the important role a lawyer plays in guiding their clients through the car accident claims process. Having the wrong lawyer on the case increases stress, and can leave the accident victim and their family feeling doubtful about securing a just settlement.

    We want you to feel reassured and taken care of during the entire process. You can reach our Kirkland office to schedule a free consultation today at 425-399-7000.

  • Can not wearing a seat belt affect my accident injury claim?

    Most likely no. Not wearing a seat belt should not affect your injury claim, even though it will likely lead to more severe injuries. Learn more here.

    Do I have to wear a seat belt in Washington State?

    Yes. In Washington State, the law requires everyone to wear a seat belt. Passengers under 16 must either wear a seat belt or be secured in a child restraint device.

    If you are not wearing a seat belt at the time of your accident in Washington State, you have broken the law. In addition to breaking the law, you have likely contributed to your injuries. In many cases, this would be enough to prove comparative negligence.

    What is comparative negligence?

    Comparative negligence is a way of apportioning money damages based upon the fault of the people who were in the accident. If, for example, the other driver ran a red light and caused the accident, s/he will take the blame. However, if you were speeding or texting at the time of the collision, you might take some of the blame.

    In this case, the insurer might assign the other driver 90 percent and you 10 percent. This means you can only recover 90 percent of your settlement (e.g., $90,000 if you asked for $100,000).

    Also, depending on the state, you might have to be less at fault than the other driver to recover damages. However, because Washington State follows a contributory fault rule, drivers can be 99 percent at fault and still recover damages. However, as we mentioned above, your proportion of fault will decrease your settlement amount.

    So, if not wearing a seat belt is against the law, why does it not affect my claim?

    In many states, contributing to the accident or to your injuries will decrease your settlement or bar you from recovering anything. In Washington, however, the law is a little different.

    Although the law requires everyone in a moving vehicle to wear a seat belt, the law specifically prohibits using the failure to do so as proof of negligence.

    RCW § 46.61.688(6) states, “Failure to comply with the requirements of this section does not constitute negligence, nor may failure to wear a safety belt assembly be admissible as evidence of negligence in any civil action.”

    While this prohibits insurers from using it as negligence, you can be sure that the other party’s insurer will do whatever it can to reduce your settlement. For this reason, you need an attorney with experience defending accident victims against insurance companies.

    Where can I get help with my claim?

    First, we want to note that you should always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a car. However, if you were not wearing your seat belt at the time of your accident, you are still entitled to compensation. Contact Max Meyers Law PLLC today to schedule a consultation and see how we can help you win your case.

    Call us today at 425-399-7000.

  • What if my damages exceed the at-fault driver's insurance coverage limits?

    Accidents can lead to serious — and expensive — injuries. While you can recover compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer, most drivers only carry minimum car insurance coverage. If your accident-related damages exceed insurance coverage limits, our Washington auto accident attorney advises that you may have other options to pay for your damages.

    Depending on your unique circumstances, these options can include:

    Underinsured Motorist Protection in Washington car with windshield broken with truck behind it

    Underinsured motorist protection (UIM), not required under Washington State law, will cover what the other driver’s insurance coverage will not. UIM can pay for your damages that exceed the at-fault driver’s liability coverage, up to your policy’s limit.

    Remember that UIM is optional. If you did not purchase it, or you did not choose a high enough amount of UIM coverage (in most cases, your UIM coverage will need to be higher than the other driver’s liability coverage to collect compensation), this coverage will not help.

    Your Personal Injury Protection Coverage

    Personal injury protection (PIP) is another optional coverage available to drivers in the State of Washington. PIP coverage, available between $10,000 and $35,000, can help pay some of your damages, including medical bills and lost wages.

    If you do not have PIP coverage, but someone in your household does, you can use his/her coverage to pay for your injuries.

    The Driver’s Umbrella Liability Policy

    Some people have an umbrella liability policy as additional coverage with their insurance. If the driver has an umbrella policy, you can use it to recover damages that exceed his/her automobile liability coverage.

    It is important to note that the driver’s insurer will not make this information readily available. Some investigation may be necessary.

    The Driver’s Employer

    Another possible option is making a claim against the driver’s employer. If the at-fault driver was on the job, whether in a company car or not, you might be able to hold the employer liable for some or all of your damages under the concept of vicarious liability company will defend against your claim aggressively; we will fight for you to get the full amount you deserve.

    Your Health Insurance Policy

    You might also be able to use your health insurance if you have exhausted all other options. Before relying on your health insurance, check your policy to ensure that it does not specifically exclude car accident injuries.

    Note: In many cases, your health insurance company will expect you to pay back whatever costs it covered from your accident.

    A Third Party

    In some cases, more than one person is responsible for an accident. If there is another liable party in your accident, such as another driver, the government entity in charge of road maintenance, or a manufacturer responsible for a defect, you may be able to recover compensation from that party.

    The Driver’s Personal Assets

    If you did not purchase UIM or PIP coverage, do not give up hope. You can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to obtain a judgment. If the driver has substantial assets, this could be worthwhile.

    We can determine whether filing a suit would be beneficial in your situation.

    There are multiple options for recovering compensation if your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage limits. These options can be tricky to navigate.

    A lawyer can help you explore these various options and choose the path that is best for you. It may be possible to pursue more than one of these options, depending upon the facts of your case.

    Where can I get help determining my options?

    Even though your insurer should be working for you, this is rarely the case. Recovering the compensation you need from your own insurer can be just as difficult as recovering it from another insurer. But you are not alone.

    If you or a loved one was injured in an accident and the other driver’s insurance will not fully cover your damages, you need the advice of a Kirkland auto accident attorney. At Max Meyers Law PLLC, we will determine your options, negotiate with your auto or health insurance company, or represent you in court if we believe that is the best option for your case.

  • Is Washington a no-fault car insurance state?

    No. Washington is not a no-fault state. Washington State is a comparative fault state, meaning the fault of all parties involved in a car accident comes into play when determining compensation for damages. However, Washington State residents have the option to add no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) car insurance coverage to their policy.

    Why would a driver want PIP insurance coverage?                 

    Ten thousand dollars of PIP insurance coverage is the minimum amount of PIP coverage you can add to your standard Washington State car insurance policy.

    This insurance covers injuries to yourself and your passengers in the event of an accident, regardless of who was at fault. PIP coverage will pay your medical bills as you seek treatment, and some policies might cover wage loss benefits for severely injured persons.

    What happens if I only have the minimum PIP coverage amount or rejected PIP coverage?

    If you only have the $10,000 PIP coverage and your damages go beyond that limit, or you do not have PIP coverage, you might have these options for additional recovery.

    UM/UIM Coverage

    Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is an optional type of coverage that can help cover your damages if the other driver does not have insurance, does not have high enough limits, or flees the scene.

    Health Insurance

    If you have exhausted all of your options, you can turn to your health insurance. Check your policy to see whether it excludes car accident injuries as many policies do.

    Note: In many cases, your health insurance will want you to pay back what it covered if you win a settlement.

    Depending on your degree of fault in the accident, you may have a third option of filing a claim with the other driver's insurance.

    Will I still be able to file a claim against the other driver if I use no-fault benefits?

    Yes, the PIP benefits pay immediate costs of medical care and wage loss when applicable. You will still be able to file a claim with the other drivers' insurance policy; depending on the limits of the driver’s policy and how responsible for the accident s/he is, his/her insurance will first reimburse your PIP insurance for the costs your policy covered.

    Continuing to pursue a claim against the other driver when s/he is majorly at fault is important if you suffered catastrophic injuries.

    PIP limits start at $10,000 minimum and go as high as $35,000. However, many injuries cost well beyond $35,000 in hospital care, rehabilitation, and long-term or permanent care. Therefore, the other drivers' insurance will need to cover the costs that your PIP insurance does not cover.

    Where can I get help with filing a car accident claim?

    When you work with a Kirkland car accident attorney, you have the benefit of the attorney's knowledge and experience with accident claims to help you make the best decisions for your situation.

    Contact Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your options for compensation after a car accident. 

  • How do I know if my teen is ready to drive alone?

    One of the things that causes parents to worry the most is when their teens start driving. It is difficult to be objective about whether your teen is ready to drive alone. You can take the subjectivity out of the equation by walking through the following questions:

    1) Has your teen completed the Washington state graduated driver program?

    While Washington State’s graduated driver licensing (GDL) program does not prohibit teen drivers (with a valid license, not an instruction permit) from driving alone (except at night), it is best to ensure your teen has completed the GDL program before sending him/her off on her own.

    2) Does your teen understand the importance of safe driving?

    Many teenagers view driving as a sign of their independence and as a way to have fun away from their parents. If your teen sees driving as merely a joyride and does not appreciate the gravity of the harm that can come from his/her negligent actions, your teen is not ready to get behind the wheel alone.

    3) Does your teen check his/her cell phone when driving?

    Even if it has a hands-free mode, the safest practice is for your teen never to use his/her cell phone while driving. It can be a distraction, and with his/her limited amount of practice time behind the wheel, your teen might not be prepared to handle a sudden emergency driving situation if s/he is distracted by talking on the phone while driving.

    While your teen likely will not use his/her phone while in the car with you, look at where s/he places the phone. Is it in his/her lap or tucked away in the center console? Where s/he places the phone might give you an idea of whether s/he will use the phone when driving alone.

    Note: Under Washington State’s GDL laws, it is illegal for drivers with intermediate licenses to use a cell phone, even in hands-free mode.

    4) Does your teen always use his/her seat belt, whether as a driver or a passenger?

    Wearing seat belts saves lives and reduces the severity of injuries. If your teen does not wear a seat belt every single time s/he is in a car, regardless of whether s/he is a driver or a passenger, s/he does not demonstrate a sufficient appreciation for the harm that can occur in a car accident.

    5) Does your teen follow safety rules consistently?

    Does your teen consistently follow all relevant safety rules while driving, or does s/he cut corners on following safety rules? Many teens find safety rules to be boring and unnecessary things that get in the way of their having fun. A teen with this mindset is not ready to drive solo.

    6) Does your teen tend to speed when driving?

    Speed is one of the leading factors in fatal accidents involving teen drivers. If your teen has a “lead foot,” s/he may not be ready to drive alone. With the limited amount of time s/he has spent behind the wheel, s/he does not have the experience needed to handle sudden crises at high speed.

    7) Does your teen make good decisions? 

    Poor decision-making can have irreversible consequences when behind the wheel. It is better to wait until your teen consistently shows good decision-making skills before allowing him/her to drive solo.

    8) How emotionally mature is your teen?

    Teens tend to be all over the board in this subject. If your teen acts more grown up, it might be appropriate to allow him/her to drive alone. If not, it would be best to wait until your child has had time to mature, rather than risk a serious accident.

    9) Have you been a good role model for your teen driver?

    Regardless of what you have told your teen about safe driving habits, what kind of example have you been to your teen? Do you text while driving? Do you use your cell phone in standard mode, instead of hands-free mode? Do you always wear your seatbelt and consistently follow safety rules? Our children are more likely to do as we do, and not as we say.

    Before you let your teen get behind the wheel alone, check out these tips for teen driving.

  • 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
    • Clothing
    • MP3 players
    • Laptops
    • Tablets
    • Any other electronic devices
    • Jewelry
    • 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.

    Wiper Blades

    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.

    Rain Repellant

    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.

    Headlights

    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.

    Defogger

    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.

    Also see our page on walking in the rain and bicycling in the rain for additional rainy weather safety tips.

    If you have been injured while driving in the rain because of another driver’s negligence, contact a Kirkland 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 Kirkland car accident 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 Kirkland 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[5], 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 Kirkland 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:

    • Weaving
    • Speeding (especially through construction or school zones)
    • Tailgating
    • 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 while 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 Kirkland 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:

    • Speeding
    • 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 Kirkland personal injury lawyer Max Meyers Law PLLC today.

  • 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.