Do I need a lawyer if another driver caused my crash by running a red light?

red light at city intersectionEverybody knows that travel in and around Seattle can be stressful. However, motorists are still expected to respect the rules of the road, regardless of whether they are late to work or on their way to an important appointment. Unfortunately, not everybody exercises due diligence. When drivers run through red lights—whether intentionally or by accident—they endanger not only themselves but everyone around them.

Red-Light Accident Claims Aren’t Always Open-and-Shut

If you or a loved one has been injured after another motorist ran a red light and struck your vehicle, you could be entitled to significant compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

While common sense should suggest that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident, establishing fault in insurance negotiations or in court could present unexpected challenges. Insurance companies are, after all, for-profit enterprises: for better or for worse, they are motivated primarily by profit—and paying large, comprehensive accident settlements is usually anything but good for profits.  

Instead of accepting the evidence and taking you at your word, the insurance adjuster will likely try to save their employer money by finding any reason to devalue or deny your claim. They could:

  • Use your words against you. Shortly after your accident, the insurance adjuster might ask you to provide a recorded statement. While providing a recorded statement might seem like an ideal way to tell your side of the story, the adjuster likely has motivations beyond hearing your account of the accident: in all probability, they will analyze your statement for any and all discrepancies, hoping to find a way to minimize their liability. Since simply apologizing for the accident could jeopardize your settlement, you should never consent to a conversation with an insurance adjuster without first consulting an experienced Washington car accident attorney.
  • Use your medical history against you. Washington law allows insurance companies to request that accident victims submit to an “independent medical examination.” These examinations are conducted by supposedly impartial physicians, who will assess your post-accident injuries and write a report for the adjuster. However, independent medical examinations are often anything but impartial. While the examiner might be a trained and highly experienced practitioner, insurance companies usually refer clients to the same pool of physicians—physicians who are very aware of the fact that they owe much of their business to the insurance company and may be more inclined to issue adverse decisions against prospective claimants.
  • Use your evidence against you. Even if you have a dashcam recording or other seemingly unassailable evidence, the insurance company could still find a way to use it against you. If you had been talking on your cell phone at the time of the accident—or even changing radio stations—the adjuster could claim that you were also negligent. If you are found partially at fault for the accident, then the insurance company could reduce your settlement proportionate to its, or the court’s, determination of fault.

How an Attorney Could Help You Overcome the Insurance Company’s Obstacles

You should never have to pay the price for another motorist’s negligence. Max Meyers Law could help you overcome the insurance company’s attempts to minimize your settlement by:

  • Investigating the causes and circumstances of your accident
  • Subpoenaing critical evidence, such as surveillance camera footage, the other motorist’s cell phone records, and vehicle “black box” data
  • Interviewing potential eyewitnesses
  • Referring you to skilled medical practitioners who could help evaluate your injuries and determine your long-term care needs
  • Communicating with the insurance company on your behalf, letting you focus on your physical health and mental well-being while we advocate for your best interests in court

While Washington state does not currently cap the damages that car accident victims could receive in a settlement or court award, the Evergreen State does have a strict statute of limitations: if you wait too long to take action, the court could dismiss your complaint without giving you the chance to tell your side of the story.