Given the traffic in Seattle, accidents are bound to happen. Any commuter can see wrecked cars pulled over to the side of the road almost every week. When these accidents happen, traffic slows to a crawl and injured victims see their lives turned upside down.
Car Accident Causes
There are many causes, but driver error is a leader. Many motorists make a mistake out of negligence or else drive recklessly. Some of the common causes include speeding, racing, tailgating, and making illegal maneuvers.
Other accidents are caused by dangerous road conditions, including ice, snow, and road defects. When a road defect has not been repaired, then the government or another entity responsible for the road could be to blame.
Still other accidents are caused by vehicle defects. Brakes that malfunction or seat belts that fail could contribute to our clients’ injuries. Manufacturers regularly recall vehicles that have serious problems that pose a danger to the public.
Identifying the cause of the accident is key, because Washington’s motor vehicle laws place financial responsibility for the accident on the shoulders of the person or entity at fault for the wreck.
Compensation after an Accident
An injured motorist can receive compensation to cover:
- Medical expenses, including future medical expenses for things like doctor visits, surgery, rehabilitation, prescription drugs, and assistive devices
- Lost wages, including lost future wages
- Property damage, such as damage to their vehicle
Many clients also receive compensation for pain and suffering, which describes the physical pain and anguish caused by injuries. You should speak with a Seattle car accident lawyer to identify the amount of pain and suffering compensation you might receive.
In some egregious car accidents, our clients also receive punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter others from committing intentional or grossly negligent acts.
Car Insurance in Washington State
This state requires that all people who register and drive a motor vehicle have insurance. Though some drivers can self insure, most will buy insurance through a company like Allstate or Progressive. The state sets minimum levels of insurance:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person, up to $50,000 per accident
- $10,000 in property damage insurance
Some drivers also carry underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, which can be a big help in an accident. For example, the driver who hit you might have been uninsured. Our clients cannot make a claim on their bodily injury liability insurance, since that only pays out if the client injures someone else. However, uninsured motorist coverage can kick in to pay compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
Underinsured motorist coverage is also excellent insurance to have. It can pay compensation when the driver at fault for the collision has exhausted his or her benefits. For example, you might have suffered $100,000 in losses but the driver only carries $25,000 in maximum liability benefits. Your own underinsured motorist coverage can step in to cover some of the rest.
Dealing with insurance adjusters is confusing and one of the prime reasons we recommend that injured motorists contact an attorney as quickly as possible.
Car Accident Myths
As seasoned Seattle car accident lawyers, we meet with many clients who have misconceptions about car accidents that they have picked up from the Internet and TV. Some of the more common are:
- The car that strikes another car is always at fault. It usually works out this way, but it isn’t 100% true. Instead, the law states that a motorist is at fault if they were negligent, meaning they did not operate their vehicle carefully. Sometimes the driver of the car that got hit is to blame as when, for example, a driver cuts off another motorist and gets rear-ended.
- All car accident cases settle. Most settle. But if there is a disagreement about fault or severity of injuries, then a case might end up in court. Our lawyers are well equipped to bring a lawsuit on your behalf.
- Homeowners’ insurance will pay for car accident injuries. This is not remotely true. Homeowners’ insurance rarely comes into play in car accident cases.
- If you contributed to your accident, you can’t receive compensation. This is also false. Washington has a “pure” comparative negligence legal scheme. This means a person could be 99% responsible for their own accident and injuries but still receive compensation. The amount they receive will be reduced by their proportion of fault.
Instead of looking for answers to questions on the internet, contact Premier Law Group today. One of our Seattle car accident lawyers will meet with you to review your case. Our clients never pay a fee unless we win their case, so there is no risk in calling.