If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Seattle or surrounding areas, you have legal rights, and you should take advantage of them. Washington state personal injury law provides a legal remedy, and compensation, for those who have suffered harm due to someone else’s carelessness or intentional conduct.
The insurance company is NOT on your side, and will almost certainly make you a much lower settlement offer than you’re entitled to, because it’s the insurance company’s goal to pay out the least amount possible for car accident injury settlements.
We negotiate with insurance companies every day, and we have a proven track record of fighting the insurance company to get you the highest possible compensation for your pain and suffering. We will also fight to get your vehicle repaired, medical bills paid, even lost wages from your job that you’re legally entitled to.
How Our Approach To Injury Claims Can Benefit You
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, our lawyers will work aggressively with you to prove negligence on the part of the at-fault individual. If we are able to prove that they acted negligently and that their negligence was a proximate cause of your injuries, then you may be able to collect substantial money damages.
Extreme financial hardship through loss of wages and accumulated medical bills, as well as other expenses, can cause you immense stress and prolong your road to healing. If this is your situation then you can be sure that if you choose to work with us, our Seattle car accident attorneys will work relentlessly to help you obtain the compensation you truly deserve for your pain and suffering.
Seattle Car Accident FAQs
Although mist and fog increase the risk of car accidents for Seattle residents, accidents can happen in any weather conditions. In the Seattle area in one recent year, 100 fatal vehicle collisions and another 490 collisions took place that resulted in victims suffering severe injuries. In addition, a total of 12,592 collisions caused minor injuries.
If you were in an accident, you may not know how to move forward. As a result, here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) for car accident victims at Boohoff Law.
I was injured in a Seattle car accident. Who pays for those injuries?
Any payment to an injured person depends on who caused their injuries, and car accidents in Seattle are no exception. If another person or entity (such as a business) caused an accident, which caused the victim’s injuries, the business may be financially liable for any accident-related expenses.
If the responsible party is another driver, injured victims may be entitled to seek payment in various ways. First, victims can approach their own insurance provider. Seattle has adopted a fault system for determining liability for damages resulting from car accidents. Under a fault approach, the party who is at fault, or caused the accident, is financially liable for accident-related injuries and expenses. (Other states, in contrast, utilize a no-fault system, which requires each injured person to file a claim with their own insurance provider.)
It’s always a good idea to gather contact information and insurance information from all drivers involved in an accident. An insurance provider may need all parties’ information to process a claim.
Injured parties may want to inform the at-fault party’s insurance provider if the damages exceed the coverage offered by their own auto insurance policy. Typically, after injured parties notify their own insurance providers, representatives will then contact the at-fault party’s insurance company for payment.
Finally, injured victims may file a Seattle car accident lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault party. Each of the above methods for seeking compensation is not mutually exclusive. After filing a claim with your own insurance company and contacting the at-fault person’s insurance company, they may not be willing to offer a fair settlement. When settlement negotiations prove to be unsuccessful, it may be best for the claim to proceed to trial. For example, in some cases, a judge and jury might show more sympathy, so the case must proceed to trial to seek just compensation.
Of course, other drivers don’t cause all accidents. Manufacturing defects or inadequate maintenance of a vehicle cause some accidents. In many cases, the manufacturers bear responsibility for accidents caused by vehicle defects. If inadequate or improper repair caused the accident, the company or mechanic that performed repairs or maintenance may be responsible for accident-related damages. When third-party actions contributed to an accident, injured victims may approach the company’s or mechanic’s insurance provider or name the parties in a Seattle car accident lawsuit.
What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
In Washington, individuals who drive vehicles for which the state requires registration must show a source of funds to cover financial responsibility in case of an accident when registering.
Most people purchase motor vehicle insurance with the mandated minimum coverage. However, the state also allows other methods, for example:
- Drivers may obtain a certificate of deposit for at least $60,000 to guarantee financial responsibility for an accident;
- Individuals may be self-insured if they own 26 or more vehicles; and
- Drivers may obtain a liability bond with a $60,000 minimum, filed by a surety bond company authorized to do business in Washington.
To legally operate a motor vehicle in Washington state, drivers with out-of-state licenses must have the type of insurance coverage required for registered vehicles in Washington.
If the at-fault party in your accident has obtained a form of financial liability not accepted in Washington and/or does not have insurance, victims should consult with an attorney.
What compensation can I receive for my injuries?
For victims who suffer injury as a result of another’s fault, Washington state provides several categories of damages for which they may seek compensation. Damages are all of the injured party’s losses and harm that can be attributed to the at-fault party’s actions that caused the accident.
Some common damages sought by injured victims include:
- Medical bills – Injured victims may seek compensation for the costs of services for a wide range of treatment. For example, ambulance or other emergency transportation, emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, hospitalization, surgical procedures, urgent care, doctor’s office visits, prescription medication, rehabilitative therapy, and assistive devices.
- Wages lost from work – When injuries and recovery cause individuals to miss time from work, they may seek compensation for lost wages.
- Lifetime earnings—If victims suffer from permanent limitations or disabilities as a result of the accident, and unable to return to work, they may seek future lost wages.
- Property damage – Accident victims may seek compensation for personal property damage, such as damage to their vehicle or other personal property caused by the accident.
- Pain and suffering – Compensation for pain and suffering may include losses related to the physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering caused by the injuries.
What if my loved one died in a Seattle car accident?
Washington state law recognizes that family members and loved ones who lose someone in a car accident, struggle to cope with the emotional burden of their loss. An unexpected death can have extensive effects on a family’s financial situation, especially when the deceased provided the primary source of support.
When a person dies in a car accident caused by another party, certain family members may be entitled to file a wrongful death suit. Eligible family members include the spouse of the deceased, a domestic partner (as registered by the state), a child, or a stepchild. If the decedent has no spouse or children, a parent, sibling, or grandparent can bring the suit, as long as they reside in the U.S.
The damage compensation categories in wrongful death cases are slightly different than in personal injury cases.
Family members may seek damages for:
- Unreimbursed medical bills.
- Chronic or long-term care costs.
- Lost income from time off from work.
- Lost income resulting from the victim’s death.
- Pain and suffering.
- Damage to personal relationships, such as loss of companionship or loss of care in parent-child relationships.
- Negative impacts on quality of life.
Washington state limits compensation for non-economic damages. Total non-economic damages may not exceed 43 percent of the average yearly wage in the state, multiplied by the victim’s life expectancy (had death not occurred). An individual’s life expectancy must be at least 15 years.
How long do I have to bring a Seattle car accident lawsuit?
Most types of lawsuits must be filed within the time period provided by the statute of limitations. Should the time period expire, individuals or families are generally barred from filing a claim or lawsuit. For both personal injury and wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations provides that victims may file a claim within three years of the date of the accident.
Although you can file a claim at any time within the three-year period, it is typically best to initiate the claims process as soon as possible. All cases, whether insurance claims or court cases, require injured parties to present evidence supporting their claims. Police reports, surveillance footage, and eyewitness reports are all potential sources of evidence. Over time, evidence may be lost, misplaced, faded, or unusable, so begin the investigation early to preserve critical evidence.
Why won’t the insurance company settle my claim?
In an ideal world, insurance companies would settle all legitimate claims against their insured promptly and fairly.
Unfortunately, because insurance companies receive some claims that are without merit, they are reluctant to quickly and fairly settle every claim. As a result, insurance companies often deny claims for unfair reasons. Representatives may try to discredit the extent of victims’ injuries or may point to victims’ contribution to the accident in an attempt to absolve the insured of liability.
Insurance companies may also try to delay and deflect victim’s calls as a tactic to induce victims into accepting a lower settlement than they deserve.
To ensure victims’ rights are protected, they should consult with an experienced attorney. Car accident attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to.
For additional information, contact the Seattle car accident attorneys at Boohoff Law for a free case evaluation today.