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 State 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.
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 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.
Preparing Your Car Accident Case
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.
The Kirkland auto accident attorneys at Max Meyers Law represent accident victims in Washington State throughout their car accident claims and/or lawsuits. Contact our office today at 425-242-5595, or toll-free at 888-230-4970. You can also contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.