Auburn, WA, Car Accident Lawyers
When someone hits you with their vehicle, you may suffer injuries like minor cuts and scrapes, or you could suffer catastrophic injuries. The at-fault driver, or their insurance company, should pay for your medical expenses and other damages. Our Auburn, WA, car accident attorneys can help you protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
After an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is usually responsible for paying damages. However, insurance companies will certainly try to avoid paying a claim; and they’re notorious for offering minimal amounts to settle.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, contact one of our Auburn, WA car accident lawyers at Strong Law at 206-741-1053 for a free case evaluation and assistance in dealing with insurers.
Our Team Gets Results for Our Clients
Find Out Why So Many People Trust Strong Law
Our Auburn, WA, car accident team works hard to get results for our clients. We take the time necessary to investigate your car accident case to the fullest extent. We leave no stone unturned so that we can represent your interests to the best of our ability.
The legal system is complex; and if your car accident case has more than one person at fault, it becomes even more complicated. Count on our experience, our strategic and negotiating skills and our knowledge of the law. We make sure insurance companies and other defendants do not violate your rights. We will make sure that you get all the compensation you deserve. Some of our results include:
- A client was rear-ended while sitting at a stoplight. His neck surgery forced him to stay in a rehabilitation center for two months. We recovered $1.1 million for him.
- A drunk driver crossed the center line, causing a head-on collision with our clients. We recovered $1 million for them.
- A vehicle hit our client as the client was crossing the street. His injuries required surgery on his knee and shoulder and caused him to be out for work for over a year. We recovered $900,000 for him.
- Our client was a passenger in the vehicle driven by an acquaintance. Unbeknownst to our client, the acquaintance was drunk. The driver crashed into a tree, causing our client to suffer neck injuries that required surgery. We recovered $875,000 for our client.
- Three young children were riding in a car that was T-boned while the driver was making a left turn into a parking lot. The three children suffered injuries in the wreck. We recovered $680,000 for the children.
Each matter is unique, and your results may vary.
Proving Liability in a Auburn, WA, Car Accident
Our Experienced Attorneys Know How to Show Who Was at Fault
In some cases, it is obvious who was at fault in a car accident. In other cases, your attorney might have to retain private investigators to determine who was at fault in the car accident. While the police report can point to liability, it is not the only tool a car accident lawyer in Bellingham will use.
To recover damages in a car accident, you must be able to show that the other driver met the four elements to prove liability. Those elements are:
- The driver – also known as the defendant – had a duty of care not to harm you.
- The driver violated that duty.
- The driver’s actions caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages as a result of those actions.
More than one person could meet these elements – and if they do, they are also responsible for your injuries and other damages.
To help prove who shares in the liability for the damages you can collect, our Auburn car accident lawyers will investigate the accident scene and use expert witnesses to recreate the accident, when necessary. Our attorneys will also interview first responders, police officers and other witnesses who were at the scene of the accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Auburn, WA
In many cases, your injuries could prevent you from doing anything after a car accident. However, if you feel that you can move around without causing additional harm to yourself, you should take the following steps after a car wreck:
- Call first responders and check on others involved in the wreck.
- Obtain the other drivers’ contact information, insurance information and registration information.
- Speak to witnesses. First, obtain a good phone number from anyone who witnessed the accident. You can also ask a witness what he or she saw. If you do, be sure to take notes about which witness said what.
- Allow the emergency medical technicians to check you over, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries will not manifest for hours or even a day or two.
- After the police release you from the scene, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Let the medical personnel know that you were in an accident and you want to ensure that you do not have any injuries that have not manifested yet.
- Contact our car accident lawyers in Auburn, WA.
Recoverable Damages After a Car Accident in Auburn
In Washington, you can recover economic damages and non-economic damages. You cannot recover punitive or exemplary damages for a car accident in Washington State, even if the at-fault driver’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent.
Economic damages and non-economic damages are compensatory damages. The court orders these types of damages in an attempt to make you whole again. While the money does not bring back a loved one, it does reduce financial stress for family members and for the accident victim who might not be able to work again.
Special damages, usually referred to as economic damages, have a monetary value. They include:
- Past and Future Medical Expenses: Past medical expenses are those you incurred because of the accident and prior to a trial award or a settlement. Future medical expenses are those you expect to incur after you settle or win a trial award. Medical expenses also include any therapy you might need, such as cognitive and other psychological therapies, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
- Past and Future Lost Wages: Past lost wages are those you lost from the time of the accident through the time you settle your case or win a trial award. Future lost wages are those you expect to continue losing after a settlement or a trial award. If you are able to work but your disabilities prevent you from making the same hourly rate or salary as prior to the accident, you could recover partial future lost wages.
Economic losses also include property damage. These damages sometimes have an emotional component as well.
General damages, usually referred to as non-economic damages, are more difficult to compute in monetary terms. They include:
- Pain and Suffering: This general category usually includes emotional distress, for those who suffered injuries in a car wreck. Money cannot relieve emotional pain and suffering. But it is the only remedy available under Washington law.
- Lost Quality of Life: Some accident injuries cause disabilities that might require medication or the use of ambulatory aids for the rest of your life. You could recover compensation for loss of quality of life if the accident injuries caused such life-changing changes.
- Loss of Companionship: If your car accident injuries caused long-term or permanent disabilities that preclude you from enjoying family events and activities, you could recover extra compensation.
- Loss of Consortium: If the car accident injuries caused a long-term or permanent disability that precludes you from having a physical relationship with your spouse, whether those injuries are physical or emotional, you could recover extra compensation.
To determine a reasonable amount of non-economic losses, most Auburn, WA car accident lawyers multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four, mostly depending on the facts of the case.
There Is No Fee Unless Our Auburn, WA, Car Accident Lawyers Win
You might be thinking that it is all well and good that we can obtain these types of results for our clients, but you worry about fees to retain us. This is one concern you don’t need to have.
Your initial case evaluation is free, and you don’t pay our attorney’s fees unless we win your case for you. If we win, we take our attorney’s fees from your settlement or trial award. We understand that you are going to have a hard enough time paying bills while you are out of work due to accident injuries. We have the resources to investigate your case and negotiate for a settlement to cover your injuries and costs or to take your case to court.
To win the compensation you deserve, contact our Auburn, WA, car accident attorneys at 206-741-1053 for a free case evaluation as soon as possible.
Auburn, WA, Car Accident FAQs
When should I contact a car accident lawyer in Auburn, WA?
You should contact our Auburn, WA, car accident lawyers as soon as possible after the accident. Even if you are in the hospital, we can still meet with you for your initial case evaluation. We can visit you in the hospital or conduct a case evaluation over the phone or via video call.
If you are not able to meet with us due to your injuries, a loved one may contact us on your behalf. We will let your loved one know what steps to take.
My accident was not in Auburn, and the at-fault driver and I live in another city. Do I have to use your Auburn office?
No. You can work with our car accident lawyers in our office in Tacoma, WA, or even Portland or Eugene, OR. We also have an office in Salt Lake City, UT. Because of jurisdiction and venue laws, you should visit the office closest to where you or the defendant lives or closest to where the accident took place.
The insurance adjuster for the defendant’s insurance company keeps calling me. What should I do?
First and foremost, try not to get upset or alarmed. These negative emotions delay your recovery. The Strong Law team is deeply concerned about your physical and financial recovery. That is why we do what we do.
When adjusters call, and they will, say as little as possible. Telephone adjusters are basically actors. They are trained to show concern for your case and frame the settlement proposal as something that is in your best interests.
Neither of these things is true. Insurance adjusters only care about the company’s bottom line. Furthermore, these conversations are recorded. Pretty much anything you say, as well as the tone of your voice, could be used against you later.
As quickly as possible, ask the adjuster to contact our office. If you have given the insurance adjuster this information previously, tell the adjuster not to call you again. Additionally, let our office know that the insurance adjuster continues to reach out to you. We will also inform the insurance adjuster that he or she should not contact you.
It is usually illegal for an insurance adjuster to contact a victim who has retained an Auburn car accident lawyer. But you do not need to debate this point with the insurance company. Let us handle this interaction.
I need to have my car fixed before my case settles. How do I get it fixed?
Property damage claims are usually much more straightforward than other elements of a personal injury claim. So, most insurance companies have separate departments for such matters. As a result, property damage claims often settle almost immediately, even if there are questions in other areas.
If the insurance company does not immediately arrange for vehicle repair or replacement, our Auburn car accident lawyers step in. We independently arrange for vehicle repair or replacement, usually at no upfront cost to our clients. Additionally, we ensure that our clients get the service they need, as opposed to the service an insurance adjuster is willing to pay for.
If the driver who hit me was on the job, can I also collect from his or her employer?
Most likely. Respondeat superior (let the master answer), a third-party liability doctrine, usually applies in truck driver, bus driver, Uber driver, taxi driver, and other commercial operator matters. This doctrine applies if the negligent driver was:
- An employee
- Who was working in the course and scope of employment at the time of the wreck.
Washington law defines these key terms in broad, victim-friendly ways. For example, many Uber drivers, truck drivers, and other commercial operators are independent contractors for most purposes. But these individuals are employees for negligence purposes. That’s because the employer has some control over these drivers.
If I caused an accident because of a defective part on my vehicle that the manufacturer would not recall, can I sue the manufacturer?
Yes and no. Generally, manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their defective products cause. However, if you knew about the defect and did nothing to make your vehicle safer, the manufacturer could use that inaction as a defense.
Strict liability is a higher standard than negligence. A defective product, like a defective tire or an ignition issue, could seriously injure thousands of people. There are basically two kinds of product defects in Washington law:
- Design Defect: The 1970s Ford Pinto is an example of a design defect. To make the car lighter and cheaper, designers put the Pinto’s unlined gas tank behind the rear axle. As a result, it was overly prone to rupture and explosion, even in a relatively low speed accident.
- Manufacturing Defect: 1990s Takata airbags are an example of a manufacturing defect. To cut costs, the manufacturer replaced a stable and expensive chemically propellant with ammonium nitrate, which is unstable and cheap. Ammonium nitrate is basically the same compound Timothy McVeigh used in the Oklahoma City truck bomb.
The unforeseeable use doctrine is basically the only legal defense in a defective product claim. Manufacturers are not liable for damages if individuals misuse a product, and that misuse causes injury. The misuse must be extreme, like using racing tires to go off-roading in the Cascades.
Is it possible to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder after an accident?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s also possible to suffer from PTSD-like symptoms, and obtain compensation for them, even if you were not otherwise injured.
About half of car crash victims suffer from PTSD. Going through a stressful event, like a car wreck or combat firefight, alters brain chemistry. The amygdala (part of the brain that controls emotional responses) enlarges, and the cerebral cortex (logical responses) shrinks. This imbalance causes effects like depression, anger, flashbacks, and other symptoms that make it difficult or impossible to function in everyday life.
Furthermore, the additional stress parents feel when they see their children injured triggers a special legal doctrine, called the zone of danger rule. Therefore, parents in these situations are entitled to compensation for bystander injuries. This compensation could include both the economic and noneconomic damages mentioned above.
What if the accident was my fault?
Tragedies like car crashes often have multiple causes. So, both drivers could well be partially responsible for the wreck. However, there are two important things to remember in this area.
First, there is a difference between fault and legal responsibility (known as “liability”). An insurance adjuster, who will have the insurance company interests as their focus instead of yours, usually determines fault based solely on the immediately available evidence. If your case goes to trial, a jury or judge determines liability based not only on the evidence at the scene, but also on electronic and other subsequently available evidence.
Additionally, even if you were partially responsible for the accident, compensation is still available. Washington is a pure comparative fault state. So, even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for the collision, the negligent driver is liable for a proportionate share of damages.
“I hired Strong Law after my car accident. Jed and his team worked hard on my case. They were professional and compassionate through my surgery and as I recovered, and they were awesome on communication. I got justice and awesome compensation. I would recommend Strong Law to anyone in my situation.”
– Rick R.
“I want to thank Jed and Tory of Strong Law for their outstanding help with my case. The attention to details and keeping me informed at all times made for a positive outcome. Thank you again for your help, determination, and hard work. I would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone in need of an excellent lawyer.”
– Jaretta O.
“Unbelievable work! I had a claim involving my own insurance company. I tried to negotiate with them, and they completely denied my claim – two times. I then hired Strong Law, and the change was instant. The insurance company immediately began negotiating, and Jed was able to secure an unbelievably good settlement. I will never again attempt to take-on an insurance company without Strong Law in my corner. Thank you!”
– Jonathon S.
“Absolutely outstanding! I was involved in a motorcycle accident and Jed led the way! Definitely top notch! When it matters, call strong law!”
– Edwin S.
“While working a wrongful death case of my husband’s, throughout the legal process, Jed pursued every possible resource and angle to ensure that we would receive policy limits despite intense resistance from the representatives of the insurance companies. We are deeply grateful to him for the funds we received and the lasting friendship that grew out of the entire ordeal.”
Contact Our Team of Auburn, WA, Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
Car accident injuries, especially those that cause long-term or permanent disabilities, can significantly change your life – and usually not for the better. While the compensation you deserve does not get rid of your injuries and disabilities, nor does it bring back a loved one who died in a car accident, the money does reduce the financial stress of not being able to work or of missing that second income.
Our Auburn, WA, car accident attorneys can help protect your rights after an accident and help you recover the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one was in a car accident, contact Strong Law at 206-741-1053 for a free case evaluation.