Seattle car crashes happen for many reasons, whether medical emergencies, vehicle malfunctions or the negligence of a driver. No matter the reason, you suffered injuries and now have medical expenses on top of being out of work. After a car wreck, get medical attention, even if you think your injuries are minor. Some serious injuries do not manifest for hours or days later.
Contact a car crash lawyer in Seattle at Boohoff Law if your bills from car crash injuries are piling up or if you lost a loved one in a car wreck.
Types of Vehicle Accidents
The severity of your injuries depends on many factors, including the type of vehicle that hit you. The experienced Seattle car crash attorneys represent you in all types of vehicle accidents, including:
- Multi-vehicle accidents: A multi-vehicle accident could mean that two or more vehicles wreck at the same time, or, as commonly seen on highways, when people crash into vehicles that already wrecked.
- Big truck accidents: Truck drivers have huge blind spots. Sometimes accidents are because people sat in a truck’s blind spot too long and the truck driver did not see them. Other times, the truck driver’s actions cause the accident, whether the driver is tired, fatigued, distracted, driving under the influence or has a medical emergency.
- Rubbernecking accidents: Rubbernecking accidents happen when someone driving past an accident does not pay attention and hits the already-wrecked vehicles or first responders. If the rubbernecker hits a victim of the original accident or a first responder who is trying to help the victims, a non-fatal accident could become fatal.
- Car accidents: Many accidents are car vs. car, but cars come in many different sizes, from compact cars to pickup trucks and large SUVs. The severity of your injuries depends on your speed, the size of your vehicle, the size of the vehicle that hit you and several other factors.
- Boating accidents: Boating accidents could happen on the ocean, in a river, a canal or even a small pond. Large boats creating large wakes could tip smaller boats. Equipment on a boat, particularly a sailboat, could cause injuries or even death. The boat could malfunction and cause injuries or drownings.
- Motorcycle accidents: Motorcycles go as fast as vehicles with four or more wheels, but they have much less protection. Riders wearing helmets and leathers often suffer fewer minor injuries than those in car accidents since the leathers and helmets protect their skin, but they suffer more severe major injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and other major injuries.
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents: A bicyclist or a pedestrian has very little protection against injuries. The risk of catastrophic injuries or death is much higher than other types of vehicle accidents because a bicyclist or pedestrian wears little to no protective gear and has nothing else to protect himself or herself.
- Commercial vehicle accidents: Commercial vehicles come in all sizes, from a compact vehicle used for small, local deliveries or as transportation for salespeople, to large tractor trailer trucks.
Even with the active safety features on many vehicles, people still get into accidents, including:
- Head-on collisions;
- Rear-end collisions;
- Sideswipe accidents;
- Single vehicle accidents;
- Wrong-way driving accidents;
- Driving under the influence wrecks;
- Distracted driving crashes.
Never just settle for an amount the insurance company first offers. Depending on what caused the accident, you might recover compensation from more than the driver. Vehicle manufacturers, owners, drivers, dispatchers, and others could all share in the responsibility for an accident.
What You Should Do After a Car Wreck in Seattle
If you get in a car wreck and you can move without causing additional injuries, call 911 and check on the other drivers. If it looks like more than one other person has severe injuries, let the dispatcher know so he or she can dispatch an extra ambulance. When talking to the other drivers, do not discuss the accident—simply find out if they need an ambulance. When relaying your version of the accident to the police, do not admit guilt.
After you call 911, then:
- Get the other driver’s contact, insurance, and registration information.
- Get a name and phone number for each witness.
- Take pictures of the accident, including any marks on the road.
- If everyone can move and all of the cars will drive, move them to the side of the road, but only if you can do it safely and only if the accident is minor.
- Get medical attention even if your injuries are minor. Some injuries do not show up for hours or days, or you could have internal injuries. The doctors will do tests to find out if you have “hidden” injuries or internal injuries.
- Contact a Seattle car wreck attorney as soon as possible.
- If an insurance company forwards you an offer, do not sign it. Take it to your car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Car Accident Injuries
Injuries vary from situation to situation. The severity of your injuries depends on many different factors, including but not limited to the speed you and the other drivers were traveling, the size of your vehicle and the other vehicles involved in the accident, how the other vehicle or vehicles hit you, and the safety equipment in your vehicle, including airbags, seat belts, and crumple zones.
Injuries range from:
- The death of a loved one;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Back and neck injuries;
- Simple fractures;
- Compound fractures;
- Sprains and strains;
- Pulled or bruised muscles and other soft tissue injuries;
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
Several factors could affect how quickly you heal. Catastrophic injuries are often long-term or permanent. If you have underlying conditions, it could take months longer to heal. Diabetes and some other conditions cause you to heal slower, which means that you have an increased risk of infection.
Certain medications and therapies, such as chemotherapy, cause your white and/or red cell blood counts to drop, which means that you could take much longer to heal. If some of your injuries are open wounds, you are more susceptible to infection. In fact, some of the underlying issues could turn an injury that should heal in months into something that takes over a year to heal.
Damages for Car Accident Injuries
Many people ask what their case is worth. It depends on the cost of your medical expenses and the severity of your injuries. A third factor that plays into the value of your case is whether the defendant’s actions were intentional or grossly negligent. You might be entitled to up to three types of damages: Economic, non-economic and punitive damages.
Special damages, often called economic damages, are those with a dollar amount attached to them and include:
- Past medical expenses for injuries you suffered in the accident.
- Future medical expenses for additional surgeries, followup appointments and other ongoing medical care related to injuries you suffered in the wreck.
- Past and future lost wages.
- Loss of business and/or employment opportunities.
- Lost use of a property.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone for domestic services.
- Cognitive therapy if you need it after a traumatic brain injury.
- Physical therapy if you need it after a physical injury, such as a fracture or a pulled muscle that prevents you from using the muscle.
- Psychological therapy if you suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), anxiety or depression after an accident. Often, patients become depressed or anxious if injuries take too long to heal. Many people suffer from PTSD if the accident was fatal or resulted in catastrophic injuries.
- Repair or replacement of personal property, including your vehicle and anything else in your vehicle that was damaged in the wreck.
- Burial and funeral expenses if you lost a loved one in a car crash.
Like economic damages, non-economic damages, often referred to as general damages, attempt to make you whole again. The courts often award general damages when you suffer from long-term injuries or lose a loved one in a wreck. While the money does not bring a loved one back or erase permanent injuries, it can help you with bills if you lost a loved one or if you cannot work because of your injuries.
General damages include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of companionship if you cannot enjoy family activities and events.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you normally do, including but not limited to home maintenance, yard maintenance, shopping, cooking and cleaning your house.
- Loss of use if you lose partial or total use of an arm, leg, foot, hand, your eyesight, or another body part or function.
Non-economic damages have a cap in Washington. According to Washington Statutes, the cap is 43 percent of the average annual wage for your life expectancy. Insurance companies use a table for life expectancy. If you have to take your case to court, the court uses the same tables. However, the statutes do not allow insurance companies to assign a life expectancy of fewer than 15 years. The statute applies the limitation to those with bodily injury. Derivative claims, such as loss of consortium, loss of companionship and the destruction of a parent/child relationship, are also subject to the limitation on non-economic damages.
Seattle Accident Statistics
According to the Department of Transportation, Seattle saw 8,441 wrecks in 2019. Of those, 487 were driving while drunk crashes and 873 were distracted driving wrecks. Additional statistics include 19 fatal accidents, 167accidents with suspected serious injuries, 703 crashes with suspected minor injuries, 2,121 wrecks with possible injuries and 5,431 accidents with “no apparent injury.”
Why People Get in Accidents
People get in accidents for any number of reasons. Sometimes, the defendant’s actions are grossly negligent—a driver’s actions willfully cause an accident (think road rage).
Other reasons for accidents include:
- The malfunction of a vehicle system, such as the suspension, steering or brake system;
- Thinking you are great at multi-tasking (distracted driving);
- A medical emergency;
- Driving while high—the driver might be under the influence of illicit drugs or chemicals, or under the influence of prescription medications;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol;
- Poorly maintained roads;
- Roads with a poor and/or confusing design;
- Hitting something in the road;
- Reckless driving, including speeding or tailgating;
- Making an illegal turn;
- Going through an intersection when the traffic lights are not working;
- Fleeing and eluding;
- Weather conditions including but not limited to rain, fog, snow, ice, wind or the sun in your face; and
- Someone driving the wrong way.
If a commercial vehicle driver is at fault, the plaintiff could sue not only the driver, but the vehicle manufacturer, vehicle owner, the company that hired the commercial vehicle, the company that owns the commercial vehicle and even the dispatcher.
Contact a Seattle Car Crash Lawyer
After an accident, you should not try to negotiate with the insurance company yourself because their adjusters will twist your words or otherwise assign fault to you to lower or deny your just compensation. Instead, contact an experienced Seattle car crash lawyer at Boohoff Law at (877) 999-9999 to schedule a free consultation. We can work to prove the defendant’s negligence and secure for you the compensation you deserve.
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121