Car Accident Attorney Bellevue

If you are the victim of a car accident as a result of the negligence of another, you want powerful representation by our car accident lawyer or accident attorney serving Bellevue and the surrounding area that will not back away from any adversary in working on securing financial compensation.

The following includes a few simple examples of when it is wise to contact a car accident lawyer or accident attorney in the Bellevue area and beyond:

  • The accident resulted in a death
  • Occurrence of serious injury or possible permanent injury
  • The written police report inaccurately places you at fault

Our highly-qualified car accident lawyer and accident attorney are tenacious in working on behalf of our clients to discover all contributing factors related to their cases in achieving the best possible compensation for losses.

Call Wiener and Lambka for powerful representation by a car accident lawyer or accident attorney serving the Bellevue area and beyond.

Experienced Accident Lawyer for Bellevue Residents

If you are involved in a car accident that is more serious than a simple fender bender, you need the services of an experienced car accident lawyer serving the Bellevue area and beyond.

While you are certain as to who caused your car accident, never underestimate the need for support of an accident attorney. An insurance company representative or the other driver may attempt to manipulate you into accepting a lesser settlement amount.

Our experienced car accident lawyer is highly-skilled in handling a thorough accident investigation to build a strong case against the negligent party on your behalf and file a legitimate claim for financial reimbursement.

The types of compensatory damages our car accident lawyer or accident attorney will work to recover include:

  • Past, current and future medical expenses and rehabilitation
  • Compensation for physical pain, emotional and psychological issues
  • Loss of current and future wages, including loss of earning ability

Call for a consultation with our car accident lawyer or accident attorney serving the Bellevue area and beyond to handle a thorough accident investigation and your claim.

Why Choose an Accident Attorney to Protect Your Rights in Bellevue?

It is important to understand that an insurance adjuster or car insurance company is interested in saving money for their company, so they do not have your best interest in mind.

Our experienced car accident lawyer has the knowledge and resources to assist in claiming compensation following a car accident.

Additional important reasons to choose an accident attorney to protect the rights of residents in the Bellevue area and beyond include:

  • The statute of limitations may run out before you file a claim
  • Hiring an accident attorney will help avoid financial loss
  • A car accident lawyer will work on proving liability

Call Wiener and Lambka for experienced accident attorney assistance serving the Bellevue area and beyond. 800-680-8112

Don’t Leave the Scene

The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident where injury, death, or damage to a vehicle, is required to immediately halt and stay on scene. Drivers are also required to cooperate with police and provide their name, vehicle registration and license.

Drivers should also aid any injured parties within their reasonable ability, including calling for an ambulance.

Should Vehicles Involved in the Accident Be Moved?

Most vehicle collisions that occur to not involve serious injury or death, such that police need to investigate for the purpose of evaluating criminal conduct. That being said, if you can leave the vehicles where they stopped so that this can be properly documented by the police, this is a good idea. If the vehicles are presenting a hazard, on the other hand, and they can be safely moved out of the way, this should be done.

Prior to moving the vehicles, if photos can be taken in a safe manner then this is advisable. No matter how straight-forward you might believe the accident to have been, failure to document the scene leaves open the possibility of the other driver saying something different later.

Phone the Police

Police should always be called to the scene of a collision, whether or not you believe that it merits the call. Sometimes the police will not be available to respond to a minor incident and will advise the parties handle it themselves. In this case you would be able to state that they were called, but did not come to the scene.

Typically the police will come to the scene to fill out a report. Having an officer as a witness, along with the report, can be a key part of your case later. It’s important to keep in mind that injuries aren’t always immediately apparent due to adrenaline, and slow onset of the inflammatory process.

Even in a small incident with clear fault, it can be crucial to have a police report supporting your claim.

Exchanging Insurance information

You are required to carry proof of current liability insurance while driving your vehicle. This is why you’ll receive two cards from your insurance company: one to carry at all times, one to keep in your vehicle. The ticket you’ll receive for not having proof of insurance is severe, so keep your info on hand.

Make Sure that Your Insurance Company is Aware

Your policy likely requires that you contact your insurance company immediately after a collision. The insurance policy that you agreed to is a contract, so the parties to it owe one another a duty of good faith and fair dealing. This means that you should cooperate with your own company in a reasonable and forthcoming manner. Call your insurance agent and notify them as well. Make sure you follow the specific requirements in your policy and document your efforts. Keep copies of letters which you send to the insurance company and make notes of your conversations including the date, time and the name of the adjuster you spoke with. Failure to completely comply with the policy could result in you losing coverage.

Take photographs

Try to safely take pictures at the scene. Take pictures of anything that might be relevant. Take pictures of the scene, the surrounding area, tire tracks left in the cement, injuries that were incurred, identification, anything unique (if items flew around in the car)

After you have left the scene, continue to take photos of anything that could later be relevant to your case. Be sure to take photos of any damage that is uncovered after a bumper tear-down or similar in the body shop (most shops will agree to do that for you)

Continue to take any photos you may conceivably need. This is especially true if the vehicle is to be totaled out before the vehicles are repaired, sold for salvage, or simply disappear. It is much easier to convince the insurance company and the jury that the impact from the collision was severe enough to cause your injuries if you have a photograph of your crushed vehicle.

Also, any physical manifestation of your injuries should be photographed Anything that isn’t going to stay static during healing should be continually photographed, bruises get darker and then lighter, scars change, etc.

Be Careful What You Tell People

While you do have a duty to share your story with the authorities and your insurance company, you don’t have to say anything to the adverse driver or his insurance company. Seek legal advice before you speak to them, as they may wish to record your statement. Moreover, insurance adjusters taking statements are trained to try to find ways in which to limit or deny claims of the other driver. Many clients of ours have given statements that cause unnecessary problems in their case due to lack of properly understanding the system they are now involved in. Seeking legal advice prior to providing a statement to the opposing insurance company is definitely recommended.

Obtain Information From Witnesses

If there are witnesses to your automobile accident, obtain their statement and information While witnesses don’t often need to be contacted after the incident, that’s not always the case. For that matter, you should take notes on anything about the crash that seems relevant so that you have something to rely upon later.

Get Yourself checked Out

If you have any sort of injury, you should seek medical care. While this seems like common sense, many people choose wait or hope that their injuries are going to go away as quickly as they came on.

The problem with taking this approach in the context of a car accident case is that the insurance company for the other driver will use any delay against you and claim that if you were all that hurt, you would have sought medical care. Also, without seeking medical attention immediately, you can fall prey to the argument that you failed to take reasonable steps to limit the harm caused by the collision.

By the same logic, it is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions and follow up as appropriate. Make sure that you mention any perceived problems to the doctor so that they can be properly documented. Not have the injury documented in your records is the same as not having suffered the injury at all when it comes to settling your case.

What to Know About Tickets

The contents of the police report, and who is given a ticket, are not admissible evidence in your trial. These things do, however, matter to the insurance companies and drivers.

If you receive a ticket that you do not believe is justified, then you have a right to challenge it in court. Follow the instructions on the ticket you have received Sometimes it is a good idea to hire an attorney who handles traffic tickets. A personal injury attorney may also be able to assist with fighting the ticket.A personal injury attorney is another possible option who may be able to help you fight the ticket.

Tickets can have consequences for both your injury case and your long term financial interests in regards to insurance rates.

Should I Offer a Recorded Statement?

As we said above, if it is your insurance company requesting the statement, it is your duty to offer it. In the state of Washington, statements given to your own insurance company are not discoverable to the insurance company of the other driver. While it’s not as pressing, you might consider contacting an attorney even before speaking to your own insurance company, just to ensure that you have all of the facts of the case accurate.

You should absolutely not record a statement for the other driver’s insurance company. Their priorities are themselves and the other driver. If they request this, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An insurance company doesn’t have the right to a recorded statement. You should be able to speak to the adjustor to answer reasonable questions, but please do contact an attorney before agreeing to this, just so you know what to expect.

What Should You Say on Social Media

If you have ever Googled yourself or another person, you know that you can sometimes find information about them that you otherwise would not know. Depending on your social media settings, a wealth of your information may be public. It’s good to keep in mind that Twitter keeps a running record of your tweets. Your Facebook posts can be accessed by anyone if your settings allow it. There are numerous other sites that keep your information online and readable by anyone who wants to find it. Investigators may even look at your friends who have more open privacy to find out information about you.

While the prospect of bringing a legal claim is good reason to make sure that you don’t have unwanted information available to the world on social media, this is probably a good policy in any event. If you alter your social media posts following the collision in light of your newly granted legal rights, you can get into trouble for altering evidence.

The most important piece of advice in this area is to not post about anything that has to do with your case. Do not post about the accident itself, do not post information that could be used against you regarding how hurt you are and how your injuries affect your life. These posts will only come back to haunt you later. Do not make any posts regarding issues you want a judge or jury to take into account.

When Do You Need a Lawyer?

Our consultations are free and completely without obligation to retain us as your attorneys. Most personal injury attorneys have the same policy. There is no reason why you shouldn’t at least put in a telephone call or email inquiry regarding the pros and cons of hiring an attorney.

There are many times that having an attorney in your corner is a good idea:

  • If the insurance company wants a recorded statement
  • If they want you to turn over medical records (especially from the time period in front of the car accident)
  • If the property damage adjuster is being rude or uncooperative
  • If the insurance company for the other side is being rude or unresponsive
  • If your own company is not cooperating in helping you with areas of coverage on your policy such as opening a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim or helping with property damage
  • If your accident involves any possibility of the other person’s insurance company alleging that you were partially or fully at fault.

How Should You Choose Your Lawyer?

It is difficult to select an attorney. Attorneys are good at self-promotion and persuasive arguments. All attorneys will happily tell you about how good they are in order to obtain your business. Here are some things that will help you sort through the marketing.

  1. Look for experience. At Wiener & Lambka, PS we have more than 50 years experience in the personal injury field just between Bruce Wiener and James Lambka. We’ve seen almost any type of case that you can imagine and have dealt with almost any type of issue that can arise in this field.
  2. Look for track record. With attorneys, just obtaining a won / loss record is deceiving. Attorneys select what cases they want to work on and which ones to take to trial. Most attorneys do not take cases that are too difficult to trial because the costs and time of doing so must be offset by the strong possibility of obtaining an award sufficient to justify the work and expense. Many attorneys therefore only accept cases that have a very good chance of winning. Also, simply winning is only half of the story in any case. You can win and only obtain a small award for your client. The proper question is more, how successful have your cases been?
  3. Look at reviews. While some sites, such as AVVO, utilize an algorithm that attempts to fairly rate the attorneys, for the most part these formulas are manipulatable and imprecise. A better method of understanding how good the attorney is involves looking at what former clients have to say about that attorney. You should not just go with a rating system either, but look at the comments and try to find someone that you think will provide the customer service and professional advice that you deserve.
  4. Call and talk with them. Do they treat you kindly and respectfully? Will they come to you to meet and go over your case? Do you feel comfortable? Trust your gut and ask questions that are important to you. At the end of your case, in order to obtain a settlement, the insurance company is going to have you sign a release. This release will basically say that, in exchange for the money, you will never ever ask for another penny, no matter what may happen in the future regarding your injuries. If you do not believe that your attorney has done a good job or if you do not trust them and their advice, then how will you be able to settle and release your legal claim? Find someone that you trust and work with them to make sure that your legal matter is resolved successfully for you.

What Can I Seek Reimbursement For?

The at fault party is responsible for all reasonable losses. This means: the damage to your vehicle, the rental car costs, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, personal property damage, medical bills for accident-related injuries, future medical bills, future lost wages, impairments toward earning capacity, general damages, pain and suffering and impairment of your life cause by the injuries incurred through the collision. Individual cases may have additional forms of damages, but these are typically the ones looked at by most attorneys when presenting a case.

Depending on your insurance policy, you may be entitled to payment of medical bills by your own insurance company. You may handle property damage and car rental through you own company. Your own company may have a wage loss provision and a home helper provision. Funeral expenses might also be covered in your automobile policy. All of this is dependant on the coverage that you have paid for.

Typically the insurance company of the at fault driver will cover property damage at the time of the accident. At the end of the case they will write you a check for all of the other losses, once you’ve signed the release. Because you need to have all of the facts surrounding your injuries, the bodily injury payment will usually happen after you have fully completed treatment and have a full knowledge of your medical future.

The coverage you own through your insurance company will pay for things as they are incurred, based on the policy you have purchased.

What to Do About Vehicle Repair and Reimbursement for a Totaled Vehicle:

Your vehicle must be in pre-accident condition when all repairs are done to be considered repairable. The vehicle may be repaired at the shop of your choice. Some insurance companies with guarantee the work on the car for the amount of time you own it, if you have it repaired at one of their “approved” shops. You should receive a rental car, or the daily cost of the car paid directly to you. Be sure of the repairs on your car before signing over the insurance check.

It’s a good idea, if you elect to go with the insurance company prefered shop, to get a second opinion on the cost of the repairs.

You will receive “fair market value” for this car if it is deemed a “total loss.” Fair market value” is what your car or truck could have been sold for the day before the accident. The market value is based on the history of the car, age, condition, exterior and interior, condition, maintenance history, etc.

To determine the market value of your car, the insurance company must perfect a market survey by calling dealerships and checking newspapers to find out the selling price on comparable vehicles. You should do the same. You can’t be offered a “book figure” under law. The used car guides are usually low as to value because car dealerships use them for trade- in purpose more than for “selling price”.

Itemized below are the evaluations factors that must be included in a total loss settlement offer:

1. Fair Market Value

2. The sales tax on the Fair Market Value

3. Any unused portion of the license tab fee.

4. A rental car for use until the fair market offer is made, or the cost of the rental rate paid directly to you.

5. The fee for transfering the title

If you wish to retain your “salvage” (damaged vehicle) then you do have the right to match the highest bid that the insurance company obtains from a wrecking yard.

It typically takes roughly two weeks from the date of the claim report until the total loss offer is made, as it take time to determine everything.

What You Suffered Injuries While the Passenger in a Car?

If you were a passenger involved in a car accident, there are two important things to keep in mind. First, it doesn’t matter much who is at fault to you, whether it is your driver, the other driver, or a combination of both. You are fault-free and can collect from any of the negligent parties.

The second important consideration is what insurance will be available to you in the short run to help with medical bills and wage loss. First we would look at the insurance of the vehicle, then at the driver to see if they have any additional insurance, and finally whether you have automobile insurance that would apply. What we are looking for is Personal Injury Protection coverage. If there wasn’t any, or if it exhausts, then your health insurance will kick in.

Should You Own Health Insurance be Used to Cover Auto Accident Injuries?

The reason that you purchased this type of insurance was to use if needed. Automobile insurance, if used in connection with an accident that was not your fault, is not adversely affected in terms of raised rates. The negligent party will reimburse that amount that your company pays (subject to legal reductions that your attorney can use to help benefit you).

If you do not have PIP (and you should, please see our posts and informational pages on PIP), then your medical insurance will pay for your care, also subject to reimbursement when you collect the bills from the negligent party.

It will take time to be reimbursed for all losses save vehicle damage. If you have good coverage, you will be better off while waiting for the final settlement to be agreed upon.

Should You Accept the Settlement Offered By the Negligent Party’s Insurance?

This depends on a lot of factors. First, does the amount offered make you happy? Do you believe that it is fair? In cases with less injury and where people bounce back quickly, and are confident that they are fully healed, than if the amount seems fair, it’s probably a good thing.

Beyond this happy scenario, however, are most of the cases. Insurance companies typically seek to settle claims for far less than they are worth. You cannot really blame them for at least trying to see if you will settle for a small amount; such is the nature of a corporation, which has duties to maximize profits for its shareholders.

If it doesn’t seem like you are going to get a fair offer, you should consult with an attorney. Consultations are free, so you should definitely take the opportunity to at least gain some insight into your case. Unfortunately it’s normal that you won’t be treated fairly unless an attorney is there to maneuver the case for you. Every case is unique and only a consultation will help you understand the ins and outs of what to expect with your claim.

How Long Do You Have to Start a Lawsuit?

In Washington state, three years is the amount of time you have to resolve or properly file and serve a lawsuit. If these appropriate legal steps are not taken with that three year time frame, you lose your rights to compensation. We suggest that you begin the process at or before the two year mark so you can maneuver the legal process with plenty of time. We suggest you give yourself plenty of time for the paperwork as the legal process takes time. Most people would prefer to avoid a lawsuit, so we suggest you act early. It takes time to gather the medical records and review same and understand a case for presentation, negotiation and settlement. Start early with a consultation with a good personal injury attorney.

What if I Am Partially at Fault for the Accident?

Being partially at fault doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t also bring a claim. Interestingly, there are some cases where being a little bit at fault actually results in our clients being able to achieve a better end award than if they had not been at fault (this involves a legal discussion about Washington law and insurance rights to recovery that is beyond the scope of this question and also very case specific).

As with any car accident case, a consultation is free and advisable so that you know your rights.

What to do if the Other Party is Not Insured

Hopefully you have prepared for this scenario. It is very important that you have UIM (under/uninsured motorist coverage) on your automobile insurance policy. (This type of insurance steps into the shoes of the negligent party who either does not have, or does not have enough, bodily injury insurance. Please see our discussion of UIM here.

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"It was a stress free experience. I particularly enjoyed when, on my initial call, they sent someone out to my house to speak with me in person. I would certainly use or recommend Wiener & Lambka in the future." - M. Randall
“Wiener & Lambka get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin
“In my moment of Crisis Wiener & Lambka lent me a helping hand. Their dedication to my case was outstanding. They stuck by my side and fought for my rights. Thank you!” - K. Tuazon
“Wiener & Lambka helped me through the process, always discussing all of the available options. In particular, I was happy about the ease with which I was able to access my attorneys.”- B. Froton
"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo
“The Staff at Wiener and Lambka are friendly and understand customer needs. They reduced their fee on my case and didn’t even take any on my son’s.” - M. Ngo
“Everyone was great. The staff at Wiener and Lambka make a good thing out of a bad situation, and for that, I am very thankful.” - D. Grami
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