According to data gathered by the Washington State Department of Transportation, a person was injured in an automobile collision in the state once every 12 minutes in 2012, and someone was killed once every 20 hours.
Many of serious collisions are related to speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving, though other contributing factors are to blame as well. These accidents can have tragic results for victims, causing severe injury or death, financial distress and emotional trauma. Fortunately, the law in Washington State allows injured drivers or their families to pursue restitution from these careless drivers.
It is vital that all responsible drivers know their options and what procedures to follow in the case of a serious Tacoma car accident. A lawyer can aid in these matters, so seek consultation for legal representation.
What to Do after the Accident
Once you are at home or in the hospital recovering, there are still a number of steps you should follow that could aid in recovering compensation for your damages.
It is imperative that you call your insurance company to report the accident. But don’t forget to call the at-fault driver’s insurance company as well. Washington is a fault-based insurance state, meaning that the at-fault driver’s insurer is responsible for paying any injured parties’ damages.
Start a file of all paperwork pertaining to the accident and keep track of all expenses relating to the collision (medical expenses, car rentals, loss of wages). Also obtain a copy of the accident report and any other evidence from the scene (photographs, witness statements, etc.). If you are incapacitated, have a trusted friend or family member keep track of everything. This documentation may be important to establish fault as well as the extent of your damages.
Do not accept any settlements from an insurance company at this time, nor forward them any medical information. Allow yourself time to determine the extent of your damages so you do not accept a settlement that is too low. Insurance companies seldom make the best offer first, and you want to make sure you are covered for all present and future costs. Once you accept a settlement, you cannot pursue further damages from the insurance company.
Should I talk to a Tacoma car accident lawyer?
If you suffered serious injuries and another party is responsible for the accident, then you should speak with a lawyer. Insurance companies have adjusters and lawyers working for them; it only makes sense to have a lawyer on your side as well.
When you are hurt, you are at your most vulnerable and you need an ally who understands the bureaucracy and red tape involved in insurance settlements following Tacoma car accidents. Your lawyer can aid you in collecting evidence, filing your claim and presenting your case to the insurance adjuster. If necessary, an attorney can help you take the case to court to recover fair compensation.
If you are in Tacoma and have been hurt in a car accident, call Max Meyers Law at 888-230-4970 to set up a free consultation. You also can fill out our online contact form.