Washington Car Accident Lawyer
Personal Injury Law Firm Handling Auto Accident Cases
Driving can be stressful enough without having to worry about an irresponsible driver causing an accident. In the state of Washington, there were 98,820 total collisions in 2011, according to a WA Department of Transportation report. Many of these crashes were minor incidents, many were serious, and some were fatal.
When a driver's irresponsible actions cause harm to another driver, the law provides avenues for responsible drivers to seek restitution so they do not have to bear the costs of the crash. Drivers need to be aware of their responsibilities in accidents and protect themselves in order to make good on these options for recovery. Read below as our Kirkland auto accident attorneys share valuable information regarding potential auto accident lawsuit cases in Washington State.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Washington State?
Immediately after a Washington car accident, drivers need to check their safety, the safety of their passengers, and the safety of the other drivers. Medical treatment should always be sought when necessary after an accident. Once drivers are sure that everyone is safe, they should gather information, such as:
- Phone numbers
- Insurance information from the drivers involved in the accident
Having the police file a crash report is also a good idea after an accident. Crash reports may contain vital information about the incident, including roadway condition, weather, vehicle position, vehicle conditions and sobriety of drivers. Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of the people who witnessed the accident as well. They can verify which party was at fault later on.
Once everyone receives medical treatment, drivers should contact their insurance companies. Washington is a fault-based insurance state, so injured drivers can file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Be sure to notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company of the accident as well.
Drivers who have certain types of coverage on their policy like collision or personal injury protection can file a claim with their own insurers. These provide coverage of damages like vehicle repairs and medical bills, regardless of who is at fault.
Frequent Causes of Car Accidents in Washington
As you probably know, there are many different circumstances that can contribute to a car accident. However, among the many causes, there are certainly a few that play more prominent roles than others. The Washington State Department of Transportation's most recent report summarizing collision data from 2011 provides a helpful look at some of the more common causes of car accidents in Seattle and the rest of the state:
- Did not grant the right of way to the vehicle
- Following too closely
- Under the influence of alcohol
- Disregarding stoplight
- Improper turn
Options to File a Lawsuit for Injured Parties
When claimants do not receive fair compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company, they can file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue the compensation to which they are entitled. All personal injury lawsuits must prove:
- a duty of care among the parties;
- a breach of that duty by the defendant;
- the breach of duty was a proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries; and
- the plaintiff suffered damages as a result
Most Washington State personal injury lawsuits come down to whether one party was negligent – failed to use reasonable care to prevent injuries to another – and therefore breached the duty of care they owe to others on the road. In fatal accidents, wrongful death lawsuits can recoup economic and non-economic harms loved ones suffer from the accident.
What Is Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is an optional type of insurance you buy on your auto insurance policy to protect you and your family against vehicles that have no insurance. Unfortunately, many cars on Washington state roadways do not have any insurance to cover damages caused in a car accident.
When you’re in a car accident that is not your fault the other car’s insurance is suppose to pay:
- To fix your car
- Pay your medical bills
- Pay your lost wages
- Compensate you for all your harms and losses
When an at-fault driver has no insurance your UM coverage is supposed to step in and take the place of the at-fault party’s insurance. Your UM insurance will pay for all the damages you suffered in the accident caused by the negligence of someone else. (Note that this differs from Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage, which covers you if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient coverage to cover your damages.)
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in a Personal Injury Claim?
Common Personal Injury Damages
Generally, there are two different types of damages: economic damages and non-economic damages. These damages are often called special damages (economic damages) and general damages (non-economic damages).
Below are some specific damages that fit into each of these categories:
- Economic damages: medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, future medical expenses, future lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and travel expenses as a result of the injury (such as to medical appointments).
- Non-Economic damages: pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, disfigurement, inability to lead a normal life, loss of consortium.
Statute of Limitation for Injury Cases in Washington State
In Washington, the statute of limitations for filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party is stipulated by Title 4, Ch. 16, Section 4.16.080 of the Revised Code of Washington, which sets the statute of limitations at three years. That means you must settle your personal injury claim or file a lawsuit within three years.
However, whether you fall within or out of that three-year time period, you should still talk to an attorney. That’s because you want to avoid further delay and also because your case may consist of special circumstances which will permit you to file beyond the three-year period.
What Areas of Washington State Do You Service?
Car Accident FAQs
Common Injuries Sustained in Washington Car Accidents
Because motorcycle injuries are often severe, treatment can be expensive - however, injured riders may be entitled to pursue compensation for their accident damages. Keep reading to learn more about the most common types of motorcycle accident injuries and how they might factor into your injury claim.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Suffering a traumatic brain injury from a car accident can be a life-changing event. You need to be careful to protect yourself in case your traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects your ability to work and function in daily life.
- Knee injuries. A car crash puts drivers and passengers at risk for serious knee injuries, including a severed patellar tendon.
- Dental injuries
- Whiplash. Whiplash is an uncomfortable and frustrating injury that frequently occurs in car accidents, particularly when a victim has been rear-ended.
- Herniated Discs. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of herniated discs.
- Cervical Radiculopathy. While the injury of cervical radiculopathy from a car accident most likely will not cause long-term damage, it can be extremely painful and maybe debilitating until it is corrected.
- Injuries that pregnant women may suffer when involved in an auto accident
- Compartment Syndrome
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Contact a Washington Car Accident Lawyer Today
Document any medical expenses, property damage, or lost wages resulting from the accident. Avoid releasing any medical records or employment records to the insurance company. Any serious injuries that arise from the accident often require the specialized knowledge of a lawyer to get an appropriate settlement from the insurance company or to file a lawsuit if the insurance company fails to offer a reasonable settlement.
If you've suffered injuries from an auto accident, contact our offices today or call us at 425-428-6052 to schedule a free consultation, we have proudly servicing clients throughout Bothell, Kirkland, and the surrounding areas.