Car Accident Attorneys Serving the State of Washington
Being involved in a car accident can be an overwhelming experience, leaving you unsure of what steps to take next. It all happens so suddenly and unexpectedly. If someone else’s reckless driving is to blame, it’s natural to feel anger. The pain you may be experiencing is not just physical but also mental.
But remember, you are not alone.
Car accident victims are often caught off guard by their injuries and are often surprised by the challenges they face in the insurance claims process. It’s a hassle that they never anticipated.
However, with the right support and guidance, you can navigate through this difficult time and seek the compensation you deserve.
Unfortunately, auto insurance companies often complicate the recovery process, making it more challenging than necessary. Typically, their initial settlement terms fail to adequately compensate victims for the full value they deserve.
If you or someone you care about has suffered injuries in a car crash in Washington, you might be entitled to a significantly higher amount of compensation than you realize. However, it is unlikely that the at-fault drivers and their insurance companies will willingly offer the full amount without the involvement of a skilled attorney. By enlisting the services of a lawyer, you can greatly enhance your chances of receiving the maximum recovery you deserve.
At Strong Law, our dedicated team of car accident lawyers is committed to fighting for every penny owed to you. We will explain your rights, options, and obligations under Washington state law. Additionally, we offer our assistance without requiring any upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses. We proudly serve clients throughout Washington.
What Is a Car Accident Lawyer?
A car accident lawyer serves as your dedicated advocate, fighting for justice on your behalf.
A skilled attorney comprehends the significance of achieving the outcome that truly counts. At Strong Law, we are not inclined to pursue the simplest or quickest path that may lead to a meager settlement. Instead, we diligently seek strategies to maximize compensation. That is our utmost responsibility.
Insurance companies may wield considerable power, but the pursuit of justice remains a legal imperative. Our mission is to rectify the imbalances and protect the rights of individuals—those who, through no fault of their own, should not bear the burden of another’s negligence.
We’re also here to handle daunting tasks such as making phone calls, filling out insurance forms, gathering medical records, examining police reports, investigating accident scenes, and conducting assertive negotiations. These are the tasks that you’d rather not do, but are necessary. Rest assured, we possess the expertise to handle them with utmost competence, and that’s our commitment to you.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive Following a Car Accident?
In auto accident cases, Washington state law acknowledges a wide range of damages. The compensation you can seek for your claim will vary based on the injuries you sustain and the extent of insurance coverage available. In most cases, compensation can include:
- Medical expenses, including doctor and hospital bills.
- Additional medical expenses
- Physical discomfort and anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of value to your vehicle
- Lost income
- Rental car costs
- Household help expenses
- Loss of future earnings
- Wrongful death damages (e.g., burial expenses, loss of companionship, etc.)
- Money you owe out of pocket
What are the car insurance requirements in Washington?
Similar to other states, Washington mandates that every driver maintain a minimum level of auto insurance coverage. While some drivers opt for higher coverage than the minimum requirement, there are those who choose to drive without any insurance at all, despite it being illegal to do so.
It is important to have a good understanding of the state minimums as they not only determine the amount of insurance you should purchase but also impact the coverage that may be available to you in the unfortunate event of harm caused by a negligent driver. Let’s take a look at Washington’s car insurance requirements:
- Bodily injury liability: This coverage provides a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident to protect against bodily injuries caused by an insured party.
- Property damage liability: Ensure a minimum coverage of $10,000 to protect against any potential damages.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): The minimum PIP coverage required by Washington Law is $10,000, along with $25,000 for uninsured motorist coverage (UM). It is mandatory for the insurance company to provide PIP and UM, unless you choose to waive these rights. However, it is crucial to exercise caution before giving up on such essential coverage.
- Underinsured Motorist (bodily injury): Provides coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in the event of an accident involving a motorist with insufficient insurance coverage.
- Underinsured Motorist (property damage): Provides coverage for a minimum of $10,000 per accident in case of damage caused by an underinsured motorist.
Understanding Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Washington
Being involved in an accident caused by a drunk, reckless, or negligent driver is already a terrible situation. But imagine finding out that the motorist responsible was driving without car insurance, which unfortunately occurs more frequently than one might expect. In fact, there has been an increase in uninsured and underinsured motorist accidents since the economic decline of the last decade.
Fortunately, most insurance providers in Washington offer coverage options to protect you in these cases. Underinsured Motorist Coverage is designed to provide you with financial protection if the at-fault driver has some insurance but not enough to fully cover the damages. On the other hand, Uninsured Motorist Coverage comes into play when the driver doesn’t have any insurance at all. Many insurance companies combine these coverages into a single provision known as UMC. It’s important to note that your coverage under these provisions is limited to the policy limits specified in your UMC provision.
Choosing to carry Underinsured Motorist Coverage is a wise decision as it serves as your primary defense against drivers who disregard Washington’s insurance requirements. Additionally, it can assist your lawyer in seeking compensation on your behalf. While most auto insurance policies in our state automatically include these provisions, it’s still recommended to verify your coverage by contacting your insurer today.
It’s worth mentioning that individuals sometimes unknowingly waive their right to these coverages when purchasing insurance. To avoid any surprises, it’s advisable to confirm with your insurer that you are indeed protected.
What does PIP stand for in Washington?
Washington is among the few states that offer Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. With PIP, your policy covers your medical expenses and lost income, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This coverage proves valuable when fault is unclear or when you are responsible for the crash. However, it does not absolve negligent drivers of their responsibility. Typically, at-fault parties are required to reimburse the PIP funds as part of your overall settlement. Determining these factors can be intricate, so it is advisable to seek representation from an experienced attorney who can safeguard your interests. An attorney can also help reduce the amount you need to repay PIP, which is good news. While Personal Injury Protection is commonly included in auto insurance policies in Washington, you do have the option to waive it in writing. It is important to contact your provider to ensure you have appropriate coverage.
Who is responsible for compensating me in the event of a car accident in Washington?
In most situations, the insurance company of the driver at fault has a legal obligation to cover the damages caused by their policyholder (up to the limits specified in their policy). However, if both parties share some degree of negligence, there are considerations to be made. What happens if you sustain injuries and the other driver is primarily responsible, but you also bear some responsibility?
The answer varies depending on the state. In Washington, we follow a legal principle known as Comparative Negligence. This means that each party assumes a portion of the fault, usually determined as a percentage by the court or negotiated by both parties’ lawyers. The total compensation awarded is then adjusted accordingly.
Let’s consider an example. You approach a stop sign but inadvertently allow your vehicle to roll past it, causing your car to extend into an intersection. Suddenly, another car comes speeding at 100mph, runs a red light, and collides with you head-on. While the other driver remains unharmed, you suffer injuries amounting to $50,000. The court might determine that the speeding driver is mostly at fault, but you share approximately 10% of the blame. Under the Comparative Negligence doctrine, your total recovery would be reduced by 10%, resulting in a judgment of $45,000 in your favor.
Washington Car Accident Facts: An Insightful Overview
These statistics are sourced from the 2016 traffic accident report by the Washington State Department of Transportation. They provide a vivid illustration of the significant threat present on Washington’s roads. It’s important to remember that even seemingly minor accidents can have a substantial impact on the lives of those involved.
- Fatal car crashes: 508
- Car crashes resulting in serious injuries: 1,896
- Car crashes resulting in minor injuries: 35,772
- Total motor vehicle accidents: 122,337
Guide to Follow After a Car Accident in Washington
If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know how unsettling and painful it can be. But even if you haven’t experienced it, statistics show that most American drivers will encounter at least one minor vehicle accident in their lifetime. The initial moments after a collision can be bewildering and disorienting. That’s why it’s crucial to know what steps to take. Take a moment now to commit these instructions to memory or store them in your phone or car’s dash compartment.
- Stay calm. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, so take a deep breath and try to stay composed.
- Call the authorities. Dial 911 and stay at the scene, even if there is no visible damage. Waiting for the police is necessary.
- Check for injuries. Assess yourself for any signs of injury. If you notice any, inform 911. Also, check if anyone else at the scene requires assistance.
- Gather names & information. Ask the other driver for their name and insurance details. If the driver appears dangerous, angry, or unable to provide information, ask the police officer to handle it. Document the contact information of any eyewitnesses before they leave.
- Capture photographs. Take detailed pictures of both vehicles and the damage sustained. If possible, take wide-angle shots of the entire scene (without jeopardizing your safety). Don’t forget to photograph the license plates and any injuries.
- Notify your insurance provider. It’s crucial to inform your insurance company promptly, as your policy likely requires it.
- Seek non-emergency medical attention. Even if you didn’t require an ambulance at the scene, it’s advisable to visit a doctor if you experience any pain in the days following the accident. Proper medical documentation is essential for supporting your claim.
- Contact our Washington car accident lawyers. We suggest adding Strong Law to your phone’s contacts list for immediate access.
Should I hire a car accident lawyer?
We strongly recommend consulting with a seasoned attorney to discuss your options before finalizing any paperwork or taking any legal steps. You may be entitled to far more than you currently realize. Research indicates that injury victims often secure higher compensation when they have the guidance of a skilled car accident lawyer by their side.
Washington Car Accident Lawyers
You don’t have to face the insurance companies on your own, and settling for anything less than you deserve is not an option. The car accident attorneys at Strong Law are here to fiercely fight for the best possible outcome for you.
We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t be charged unless we secure a financial recovery for you. Reach out to our office as soon as possible to schedule a complimentary and obligation-free consultation. Time is of the essence in these cases, so please don’t delay. Contact Strong Law immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Washington
Under Washington law, when does driving cross the line into negligence?
Negligence can be generally defined as careless or unreasonable behavior. We’ve all witnessed instances of careless driving, which can manifest in various forms. Even if unintentional, it poses significant danger and holds the driver liable for any resulting damages. Examples include:
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Engaging in texting while driving
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while experiencing sleep deprivation
- Displaying aggressive driving behavior
- Failing to use turn signals appropriately
- Following other vehicles too closely
- Engaging in dangerous merging or weaving between lanes
- Disregarding red lights
- Failing to yield
- Driving a vehicle in a state of disrepair
- Violating the statutory Rules of the Road.
What is the estimated value of my auto accident claim in Washington state?
As each case is unique and the law does not guarantee specific outcomes, it is impossible to promise a specific dollar amount or guarantee a victory. However, relying on the expertise of a skilled car accident attorney allows you to gain a comprehensive understanding of your case, including its prospects, available options, and potential monetary recovery. Furthermore, a lawyer can provide insight into the typical compensation received in car accidents similar to yours. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by what you are rightfully entitled to.
How much time does it typically take for Washington auto accident claims to be resolved?
The answer to this question depends on various factors, such as the complexity of your case and the duration of your recovery from injuries. It is advisable to engage an attorney as early as possible to ensure the best course of action. By doing so, you and your lawyer can strategically make decisions on when and how to proceed. Additionally, your attorney can work towards preventing unnecessary delays in resolving your claim by the opposing party. Remember, there is a statute of limitations, and it is crucial to resolve the claim or file a lawsuit before the statute expires.
Should I consider accepting the settlement offer from the insurance company?
When it comes to car accidents in Washington, it’s crucial to consult our lawyers first. While an initial offer from an insurance company may seem tempting, it’s important to explore all your options with a skilled attorney. In most cases, the proposed settlement terms from the insurer do not accurately reflect the true value of your claim. Remember, insurance companies prioritize their own interests, but your attorney will prioritize yours.
Contact Our Washington Car Accident Lawyers Today
At Strong Law, our dedicated team of car accident lawyers is here to fight for every cent you deserve. We are committed to providing you with a clear understanding of your rights, options, and obligations under Washington state law, all without any upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses. Get in touch with our law offices today to discover more about your claim. We proudly serve clients throughout Washington.
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“Excellent attorneys and staff!! My attorney, Peter, and his paralegal, Katrina, went ABOVE & BEYOND to get me a settlement that was even higher than my own personal bottom line. I highly recommend Strong Law for all your personal injury claims. I would not have been able to navigate this 3-year long journey without them! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”