Car Accident and Truck Collision

Do the police always need to be called after an auto accident?

I was injured in a car accident while I was visiting family in Seattle but I live in another state. In which state should I find an attorney?

I live in another state and I rented a car to drive across country. While I was in Washington State I was involved in an auto accident. What should I do?

I was hit by a car during extremely icy conditions. Is the other driver still at fault?

What is the Crime Victims Compensation Fund and who qualifies for it?

I want to hire a Washington auto accident lawyer, but I need money to pay my medical bills right now. If I apply for and am approved for the Crime Victims Compensation Fund will I have any issues when I file suit against the other driver?

What are the most common types of injuries in an auto accident?

How can I best prepare myself for an auto accident?

What should I do if I’m involved in an auto accident?

What happens if the rider or passenger dies in the auto accident?

Will Insurance Cover Injuries Suffered by a Passenger During a Car Accident That Was My Fault?

Is the manufacturer of a vehicle liable for my injuries if the airbags did not deploy?

Should I talk to the insurance company about my accident and let them take my recorded statement?

Can I get money for the time lost from work after my auto accident? What if I have to switch careers?

What do I do with my medical bills while the case is in progress?

How much do I have to pay to hire you as my attorney?

Can I change my lawyers if I am not happy with them? How much is that going to cost me?

Is a rear-end collision in Washington State automatically the fault of the driver that hit the other?

How much is my case worth?

What is the Statute of Limitations for auto accident injuries in Washington State?

What do I do if the driver that hit me was uninsured or under-insured?

What if my injury expenses are higher than their liability coverage?

I was recently involved in an auto accident and it turns out that the person that hit me has the same insurance company that I do. Is this a good thing?

My daughter was recently involved in a serious car accident and an insurance adjuster came to the hospital to get a recorded statement, but I told him no because my daughter wasn’t awake. He said he would come back later. Should I let him get a statement after she wakes up?

My car is wrecked. Can I receive money for property damage before I get money for my injuries?

Do The Police Always Need to be Called After an Auto Accident?

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Yes! Even if no one was injured you should still call the police so that they can make a report of the accident. Their report will generally contain the other drivers personal information, including insurance, and witness statements along with the details of the accident.

If someone was seriously injured it is even more important that the police are called because the report will be used to prove your case when you are trying to settle with the insurance company.

I was Injured in a Car Accident While I was Visiting Family in Seattle but I Live in Another State. In Which State Should I Find an Attorney?

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Even though you live in another state you need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney that is licensed to work in the state where the accident happened — in this case, Washington. If your claim goes to trial your attorney will have to be licensed in the jurisdiction where the case will take place so it wouldn’t make sense to hire an attorney that isn’t licensed to practice in Washington State.

I Live in Florida and I Rented a Car to Drive Across Country. While I was in Washington State I was Involved in an Auto Accident. What Should I Do?

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It is always a good idea to purchase insurance on a rental car, unless you know that you have something that will cover you and the car if you are involved in an auto accident; like a credit card or rental car coverage that is part of your insurance policy. Either way you need to let the rental agency know about the accident. If your insurance policy does cover rental cars than you will want to let your own insurance company know about the accident as well.

I was Hit by a Car During Extremely Icy Conditions. Is the Other Driver Still at Fault?

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Icy road conditions are not a defense. In Washington State all drivers have to act with due care in regards to road conditions. So if they are icy you need to slow down and continue with caution. If a driver crashes into you because of icy road conditions they can still be held responsible for causing an auto accident.

What is the Crime Victims Compensation Fund and Who Qualifies for it?

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The crime victim’s compensation fund was started in the late 70’s after two Washington State newspapers ran stories complaining that criminals had everything paid for by the state while they were in jail, including health care, but that their victims were stuck trying to pay for the damage caused. The Washington State legislature decided that this was unfair and created the Crime Victims Compensation Act.

The fund is meant to cover costs associated with a violent crime; typically any drunk driving accident will qualify. The fund covers victims costs associated with the crime, things like medical bills, loss of earnings and even funeral expenses. But you can only qualify to receive the money as a last resort. So if you have insurance that will cover all of your medical expenses you wouldn’t qualify to receive money for that. You have to have reported the accident to the police with a year and file a claim within two years.

I Want to Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer, but I Need Money to Pay My Medical Bills Right Now. If I Apply for and am Approved for the Crime Victims Compensation Fund Will I Have Any Issues When I File Suit Against the Other Driver?

It is possible that if you accept money from the fund that you will not receive as much of a settlement from the other driver as you would if you just waited. Accepting the money will not prevent you from suing the at-fault driver but if you go to trial the jury may have a hard time believing that you need money for medical bills that were paid by the fund.

Before you make the decision to apply for the Crime Victims Compensation Fund consult with your attorney to make sure that it will not impede your case. If you don’t have an experienced Washington personal injury on your side this would be the time to set up a consultation.

What are the Most Common Types of Injuries in an Auto Accident?

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Auto accident injuries range in severity from accident to accident. Sometimes the accidents that look the worst will only result in a few cuts and bruises while some accidents that may appear harmless actually leave drivers suffering from whiplash complications for years.

For minor auto accidents, whiplash and contusions or bruising are common. For more extensive accidents, head trauma injuries such as concussions, brain contusions, Intracranial Hematoma, or broken bones are common. These massive injuries can leave accident victims paralyzed or dead.

How Can I Best Prepare Myself for an Auto Accident?

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It is very important for you to be prepared for an auto accident to happen at any time. There are several different steps to take to make sure you are prepared at all times. Here is a list of things to prepare in case you are involved in an accident:

1) An accident kit. An accident kit can be kept conveniently in your glove box and should include the following: pen, notepad, disposable camera, measuring tape, and a flashlight. The information you collect in an auto accident is essential. You must have adequate descriptions such as street names, vehicle make, model and color etc.

2. Emergency Kit

Keeping an emergency kit in your car is important for the roads unexpected hazards. The kit should include:

• Jumper cables
• Roadside flares
• Two quarts of oil
• Antifreeze
• First aid kit
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Flat head screwdrivers
• Phillips head screwdrivers
• Pliers
• Adjustable wrench
• Tire inflator (such as a Fix-A-Flat)
• Tire pressure gauge
• Rags
• Duct tape
• Washer Fluid
• Pocketknife
• Ice scraper
• Granola or energy bars
• Bottled water

What Should I Do if I’m Involved in an Auto Accident?

If you have been in an auto accident, there are a few things that you need to do that will significantly help your case.

1) Get as much information on the at-fault driver as possible. You should get his name, contact information and auto insurance information exactly who so you know you are filing a claim against.

2) Get as much information from witnesses as possible. This could be anybody who saw the accident – from somebody that was driving behind you, to someone that saw the accident through a restaurant window. Not everybody who sees an accident will offer to act as a witness, so it is important that you approach anybody in the vicinity to ask if they saw the accident.

3) Check to see if the accident was caught by a surveillance camera. This isn’t too common, but if you can get video of the accident, it will be a huge help to your case. It is important to get these tapes as fast as possible, though, because they are usually taped over within a couple of days.

4) Take pictures of the scene. Take as many photos as possible of your car, the other car, and the location of the accident. These pictures can be crucial in proving that the other person was at fault for the accident.

What Happens if the Rider or Passenger Dies in the Auto Accident?

This becomes a case of wrongful death. In Washington, fatal accident cases survive the death of the victim. These cases can be very difficult, and it is best to seek the advice of an experienced wrongful death lawyer.

Two of our attorneys, Jason Epstein and Patrick Kang, have authored a book on the topic; In Case of Death – Straight Talk on Washington Wrongful Death which is provided free to Washington state residents. You may order your free copy on our website.

Will Insurance Cover Injuries Suffered by a Passenger During a Car Accident That Was My Fault?

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If you have liability coverage, then that should cover the passenger in this type of accident. If the passenger sues you for the injury, your insurance company has an obligation to step in on your behalf and defend you.

Is the Manufacturer of a Vehicle Liable for My Injuries if the Airbags Did Not Deploy?

 

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It depends on the accident. Airbags are not meant to deploy in every accident. In order to determine whether or not they should have in your accident, you would need an engineer to do an analysis of the accident. If the engineer finds that the airbags should have deployed but did not, the next part of the process would be to determine what damages were caused as a result. In other words, which injuries were caused or made worse because of the failed deployment.

Should I Talk to the Insurance Company About My Accident and Let Them Take My Recorded Statement?

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No. Absolutely not, especially in the case of a catastrophic injury. It is vital that a law firm that understands how carefully a settlement needs to be structured protect your rights, because no insurance company is on your side – ever – even your own. They are only trying to find an excuse to get away with paying you very little or not paying you at all. Statements made while your brain isn’t functioning at par could be used against you. Sometimes, you have to provide your own insurance company with a recorded statement because your policy requires it. In that scenario, you should consult with your attorney who will prepare you for the statement.

Can I Get Money For the Time Lost From Work After My Auto Accident? What if I Have to Switch Careers?

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Absolutely. You must first prove that the accident occurred – not hard to do if the accident was serious – and discuss with your physician the nature of your work. If the physician agrees that you will not be able to perform your work as a result of your injuries, and instructs you to take off from work for a certain period of time, you will be entitled to get all the money that you would have earned if you had gone to work in that period of time (even if you wind up getting paid by using sick leave or vacation time). Furthermore, you are entitled to compensation for loss of income capacity if you are no longer able to perform the same occupation as prior to the injury (i.e. income you would have been able to earn had you not been injured that you are now unable to earn).

What Do I Do With My Medical Bills While the Case is in Progress?

While your case is being handled, make sure you continue seeking treatment for your injuries and follow your doctor’s instructions. Do not stop with your treatment without first consulting your attorney as this can hinder the progress of your case. Also make sure to mail copies of all insurance forms received and receipts for medications and tools necessary for your recovery.

How Much Do I Have to Pay to Hire You As My Attorney?

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Nothing. You don’t have to pay anything upfront. You hire us on a contingency basis, which means we don’t charge you anything unless we win your case. We even pay for all of the expenses associated with your case out of our own pocket. Also, if for any reason we don’t recover any money (for example if we find out later that the party at fault has no insurance), we still don’t charge you anything. However, when your case settles, we take a percentage of the settlement for our fees and costs. This percentage depends on whether your case resolves before litigation or after trial. Please note, however, that in Washington, the law requires that the client ultimately be responsible for reimbursing an attorney for costs advanced, even if the case is unsuccessful. Please contact us so that we can explain how this would work in your case.

Can I Change My Lawyers If I Am Not Happy With Them? How Much is That Going To Cost Me?

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Fortunately, you can change your lawyer anytime at absolutely no cost to you. All you have to do is call us and let us know. We will immediately send a letter to your former attorney. As soon as they receive our letter, by law they are immediately obligated to forward your file to our office. Also, they are forbidden to contact you. You are not even required to inform them of your decision. Of course, if they have done substantial work in your case, they are entitled to get a portion of our fees for their contribution. This will only affect our fees and will not change your recovery.

Is a Rear-End Collision in Washington State Automatically the Fault of the Driver That Hit the Other?

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The automatic-determination of fault is no longer in existence in Washington, but there is an automatic presumption that the person rear ending is at fault. Insurance companies will try to use this to their favor and refuse to cover a claim, so it is important to hire an experienced lawyer to prove the facts and force the insurance company to take responsibility

How Much is My Case Worth?

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Only an experienced attorney can put a dollar value on your case and that is only after you have been examined by specialized physicians, the full nature and extent of your injuries are precisely determined, and the cost of your present and future medical treatments are known. Furthermore, there are other factors that determine the value of your case such as, recent jury verdicts on similar cases in your area, the credibility of all parties involved, the length of time, the frequency, and the intensity of your pain and suffering, etc. Give us a call at (206) 285-1743 to schedule a free initial consultation. This will allow us to better determine how much your case is worth.

What Is the Statute of Limitations For Auto Accident Injuries in Washington State?

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A statute of limitations creates a cut-off date after which a suit can no longer be filed. In general, an action must be filed within three years of the act that is alleged to have caused the injury. Because there are circumstances that can alter the statute of limitations, it is crucial to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

What Do I Do If the Driver That Hit Me Was Uninsured or Under-Insured?

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If you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, contact an attorney immediately, because you may be able to open a lawsuit against the individual’s estate to cover the damages. When you go to your consultation make sure you bring a copy of your insurance coverage so we may see what your limits are and if you have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) or UM/UIM (Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist) coverage. It is very important that you are fully protected by purchasing these important types of coverage.

What If My Injury Expenses Are Higher Than Their Liability Coverage?

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Unfortunately, if their insurance coverage cannot cover your damages, you may have a problem. If you have under-insured motorist coverage, you should bring the claim to your own insurance company. If your policy limits are high enough, you may be able to collect the amount you need to cover your damages. If you do not have this type of insurance, you have the choice of either accepting their offer at the insurance term limits, or going after the personal assets of the person that hit you. It is rare for this option to work out, but it should at least be looked into.

I Was Recently Involved In An Auto Accident And It Turns Out That The Person That Hit Me Has The Same Insurance Company That I Do. Is This A Good Thing?

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Not necessarily. Regardless of who the insurance company that you are fighting against is, the insurance adjuster will only be looking to make the company money. But when the two parties have the same insurance company the adjusters will probably try to low ball both parties because that is what would be in the company’s best interest.

When you have different insurance companies they will fight against each other to get the most money for their own client. Without someone to fight against your insurance company will try to get away with offering you far less than you deserve. If you are in this situation, don’t hesitate to call an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer who will be able to let you know if they will be able to get you a better settlement.

My Daughter Was Recently Involved In A Serious Car Accident And An Insurance Adjuster Came To The Hospital To Get A Recorded Statement, But I Told Him No Because My Daughter Wasn’t Awake. He Said He Would Come Back Later. Should I Let Him Get A Statement After She Wakes Up?

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No! Insurance adjusters should not ever show up at the hospital to get a recorded statement from a victim. If your daughter was critically injured she is most likely on medication that could make her foggy and not able to fully comprehend or remember what happened to her. If you do let them get a recorded statement your daughter may forget key facts and the insurance company will use those statements against her when you try to settle.

You should always at least consult with an experienced Washington personal injury attorney before you speak to the insurance company. The consultation is usually free and if you hire a personal injury lawyer they will help you prepare for your statement so that you don’t leave anything out or accidentally misrepresent the facts.

My Car Is Wrecked. Can I Receive Money For Property Damage Before I Get Money For My Injuries?

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Yes! Personal injury claims can sometimes take years to settle, and it would not be in the insurance company’s best interest to have to compensate you for loss of vehicle use or rent you a car for that amount of time. Your property damage claim is something that you will handle on your own, but your attorney will be able to provide useful advice that will help things move quickly.

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