What does a car accident lawyer do?

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young woman sitting next to rear-end car crashMaking sense of a car accident can be difficult without the right assistance. You might know that the other motorist was at fault yet still struggle to negotiate a fair settlement with their insurer. Even if you have evidence of their wrongdoing and medical records to substantiate your injuries, the adjuster might refuse to listen to reason, coming up with a never-ending list of excuses to delay your claim.

An experienced Seattle-area car accident attorney can not only help you overcome the insurance company’s excuses, but he can also fight to secure the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.

The Advantages of Hiring a Washington Automobile Accident Attorney

Your Washington car crash lawyer does far more than argue your case in court. An experienced advocate can help you by:

Proving You Have Standing to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Car accident claims are often dependent on the availability of evidence. Like most other states, Washington’s civil code requires that personal injury plaintiffs establish the following elements when pleading a case:

  1. The at-fault motorist owed you a duty of care, meaning that they had a legal obligation to operate their vehicle in a reasonable and safe manner.
  2. The at-fault motorist breached their duty of care by acting negligently.
  3. The at-fault motorist’s negligence caused your injuries.
  4. You suffered damages that can be recovered in court.

An attorney will help you establish the standing needed to file a lawsuit by collecting evidence of the other motorist’s wrongdoing.

Collecting Evidence of Fault

Even if the other motorist has openly admitted liability, their insurance company might still refuse to grant the damages you deserve if you lack the evidence needed to not only establish fault but substantiate your injuries.

Your Seattle-area car crash lawyer could help you collect the evidence needed to prevail in court by:

  • Reviewing law enforcement reports
  • Taking photographs of the crash site
  • Subpoenaing surveillance camera footage
  • Obtaining a court order to review the at-fault driver’s cell phone call log and text message history 
  • Analyzing your medical records
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses
  • Collaborating with safety experts to prove that you did not cause the accident
  • Referring you to medical specialists to assess your immediate medical needs and long-term care requirements

Calculating Your Damages

Washington allows automobile accident victims to obtain compensation for:

  • Economic damages. Economic damages reimburse objective, quantifiable monetary losses resulting from an accident. Your economic damages could include your medical expenses, physical rehabilitation costs, and lost income from work.
  • Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are compensation for comparably subjective losses, such as emotional pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and disfigurement.

Since the Evergreen State does not cap the damages available in most personal injury claims, you could receive the compensation you need to rebuild your life and reclaim your independence.

However, calculating damages can be difficult, especially if you have continuing care needs or harder-to-quantify non-economic damages. Your attorney will refer to state law, court rulings, and precedents to determine a fair amount of compensation.

Standing Up to the Insurance Company

Insurance companies often do little to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by a car crash. All too often, accident victims expect that the at-fault motorist’s insurer will reimburse their medical costs and lost wages. However, this expectation is routinely challenged by adjusters who seem skeptical of every claim—adjusters who, it may seem, do everything in their power to deprive victims of their deserved compensation.

Since car crash lawyers have extensive experience advocating for their clients’ rights, we understand the strategies that insurance companies use to save money. We do not let adjusters bury our clients with paperwork or subject them to never-ending demands for ever-more medical examinations, phone calls, and statements.

Your attorney could take over communications with the insurance company, letting you focus on your physical recovery while we focus on holding the at-fault motorist and their insurer accountable.

How to Choose the Right Seattle Car Crash Attorney

When you visit a Washington car crash attorney for your initial consultation, you should prepare a list of questions. Consider asking the following:

  • Do you have experience handling Washington car crash claims?
  • What steps do I need to take to protect my legal rights to recovery?
  • What information do you need to evaluate my case?
  • Who will handle my claim: a senior lawyer or an associate?
  • How often will you communicate with me about my claim?
  • Do you expect clients to pay out-of-pocket, or do you take new cases on a contingency fee basis?
  • Do you think that I have a worthwhile claim?

Before committing to a car crash attorney, do your due diligence: visit their website, read client testimonials, and see whether they have delivered worthwhile results to similar clients. Remember: a consultation is not legally binding, and you should never feel obliged to hire a lawyer who makes you feel uncomfortable or undervalued.