Car Accident Lawyer for Powerful Representation in Lakewood

Whether you have been injured in an accident or you have lost someone dear, you need proper representation by an accident attorney. We, at Wiener & Lambka can serve as the car accident lawyer you need in Lakewood, WA. As experienced lawyers, we know how difficult it is for families who have lost their kin to car accidents.

As an established car accident lawyer catering to Lakewood residents, we provide the following services:

  • Best representation in court
  • The rightful compensation
  • Negotiation with clients

Therefore, when you are looking for a reliable and compassionate accident attorney who would provide the best representation in court, you can choose our firm. We have been serving as the leading car accident lawyers in Lakewood, for a very long time and are well versed with the intricacies of laws in the city.

Experienced Accident Lawyer for Lakewood Residents

When it comes to getting the rightful compensation in case of car accidents, it is the experience of the lawyer that can provide you the rightful representation. As experienced accident lawyers catering to Lakewood, we handle all types of automotive accidents that include:

  • Car accidents with government vehicles
  • Accidents with trucks and buses
  • Fatal car accidents

We consider each case unique, and each client extremely important. Therefore, we provide customized solutions as your car accident lawyer in Lakewood. You can rely on our representation because we enlist our best lawyers to collect and collate all vital information.

With us as their car accident lawyers, Lakewood residents can expect to get considerable consolation by way of experienced representation and rightful compensation.

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

When you meet with an accident or lose someone to a car accident, you do not think about your legal rights. However, if the accident has been caused by the negligence of someone else, you must be compensated properly for the mental and physical trauma that you have to bear.

Only an experienced accident attorney catering to Lakewood would be able to get you this rightful compensation. You must choose an accident attorney in Lakewood to protect your legal rights due to the following reasons:

  • Experience with the law
  • Calculate the correct compensation
  • Find the person at fault

You can choose our firm to provide the accident attorney you need in Lakewood as we possess all these qualities.

If you or someone in your family has been involved in a car accident and you seek legal representation from a reliable accident attorney that caters to Lakewood, call 800-680-8112.

Stay at the Scene

Drivers of vehicles involved in an accident that results in death, injury,or damage to a vehicle is required to immediately halt and remain at the scene. Drivers must cooperate with police, providing their vehicle registration, their name and driver’s license, and insurance.

Drivers must be prepared to offer aid to injured parties within their reasonable ability, including calling an ambulance to the scene.

Should You Move the Vehicles?

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. On the other hand, if the vehicles are presenting a hazard and can be moved to a safer place, then that should be done.

Prior to moving the involved vehicles, if photos can be taken to document the scene, this is advisable. No matter how straight-forward the collision may seem, failure to accurately document the scene allows for the possibility of the other driver changing their story later.

Call 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. At least in these circumstances you will be able to state later that you did call them, but you could not make them come to the scene.

Typically, however, the police will come to the scene and fill out an official police report. This report and the officer being a witness can be important aspects to your case later on. 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.

Exchange Your Insurance Information

You should have, and are required under Washington law to have, current proof of liability insurance with you while driving. This is why you’ll typically be sent two insurance cards each year: one to carry on your person, and one to keep in your vehicle. The ticket for not having insurance information handy is several hundreds of dollars, so be sure you have your card.

Make Sure that Your Insurance Company is Aware

Your insurance policy likely requires that you report collisions and accidents to it. 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 keep your insurance company apprised of all details around your incident in a reasonable and upfront manner. Call your agent to notify them as well. Follow all of the specific requirements in your policy and ensure that you are documenting 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 to Document the Collision

Take photos of the scenes from a safe place Take pictures of anything that may end up being significant. Damage to the vehicles, the scene, the surrounding areas, personal identification, injuries, if anything broke in the cars, etc.

Continue taking photos of anything that may be relevant, even after you leave the scene. 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)

Any additional chance to take photos should be taken advantage of. This is especially true if the vehicle was totaled, or before it’s repaired, sold for salvage, or disappears. It is easier to convince an insurance company of injuries if you’ve documented the state of your vehicle. It is much simpler to convince a jury and your insurance company that your needs are valid if you’ve documented the crushing of your vehicle.

You should also photograph any physical manifestation of injuries. 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 Say

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. The best course of action is to seek legal advice before speaking to them because they will seek 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 Witness Statements and Information

Collect the information and statements of any witnesses. While in most instances, witness statements are unnecessary, you won’t know that at the time of your collision, so just play it safe. For that matter, you should take notes on anything about the crash that seems relevant so that you have something to rely upon later.

Seek a Medical Checkup

If you have any sort of injury, you should seek medical care. While this may seem like common sense to some, often people wait and hope that their injuries go away.

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 care immediately, you can be susceptible to the claim that you failed to take reasonable steps to limit harm.

Keeping that in mind, it is also important to follow your doctors instructions and follow up when necessary. Make sure that you mention any perceived problems to the doctor so that they can be properly documented. Not having the injury documented is the same as not having suffered the injury when it comes time to settle your case.

What to Know About Tickets

The police report itself and whether one party got a ticket or not are not admissible evidence in a trial on the matter. That being said, these items still matter a whole lot to the insurance companies and the drivers.

If the collision results in a ticket that you do not believe is justified, than it is your right to challenge that in court. Follow the instructions on the ticket you have received You might consider hiring an attorney that 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.

Keep in mind that the ticket can have bad consequences to both your injury case as well as your long term financial interests as it can raise your insurance rates for years to come.

Is Giving a Recorded Statement Advisable?

As we said above, if it is your insurance company requesting the statement, it is your duty to offer it. In Washington, statements given to your own company are not discoverable to the other driver’s insurance company. While not as pressing as if the other insurance company wants a statement, it is advisable to contact an attorney to go over what the unique facts of your matter before providing any statement on the matter, even to your own company.

You should absolutely not record a statement for the other driver’s insurance company. Their priorities are themselves and the other driver. If this is requested, you should get in contact with a personal injury attorney right away. The insurance company has no right whatsoever to a recorded statement. You should be able to have a simple conversation with the adjuster to answer reasonable questions, but please consult an attorney first to make sure you fully understand what you are doing in these circumstances.

How to Handle 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 upon the settings in your social media, others can have access to interesting information about you. It’s good to keep in mind that Twitter keeps a running record of your tweets. Your Facebook posts may be accessible to anyone depending on your privacy settings. 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 it’s probably a good policy to keep your information faily private, the prospect of a legal claim is especially good reason to do so. It should also be noted that, with your newly granted legal rights, you could conceivably get in trouble for changing your social media posts following a collision because you could be accused of altering evidence.

The easiest way to avoid issues with your social media accounts is to just not post about the 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 post anything you wouldn’t want a judge or jury to take into account when making a decision.

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 Receive Reimbursement For?

The party at fault is responsible for all reasonable losses. What this mean is: any damage to your vehicle, the cost of a rental car, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, any personal property damage due to the accident, medical bills for your collision related injuries, future medical bills, future lost wages, future impairment of wage potential, general damages, pain and suffering, and impairments of your life caused by the injuries incurred in the accident. 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 policy may also cover wage loss and home help. 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 other driver’s insurance company with pay for your property damage at the time of the accident. They will then write you one check for all other losses when you agree to release them and the negligent driver. 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.

How to Handle Vehicle Repairs/Reimbursement for a Totaled Vehicle:

If your vehicle is repairable, it must be restored to its pre-accident condition. You may have the vehicle repaired at a body shop of your choice. Some insurance companies have approved shops where the company will guarantee the work for the length of time you own the car. You should receive a rental car, or the daily cost of the car paid directly to you. Make sure that all work performed is to your satisfaction before you sign an insurance check over to the repair shop.

If you elect to use the insurance company recommended shop, you should probably obtain an independent review of the damage and an estimate for repair from that shop as well to make sure that everything is being properly considered.

If your vehicle is deemed a ” total loss” which means that it would not be cost effective to make repairs, then you are owed the “fair market value” of the vehicle . “Fair market value” is the price you could have received for the car the day before the accident, were you to sell it. The market value is based on the history of the car, age, condition, exterior and interior, condition, maintenance history, etc.

The insurance company must perform a market survey by calling dealerships and checking newspapers ad for the selling price on comparable vehicles. You should also conduct a market survey. Under the law, the insurance company cannot offer a “book figure”. The used car guides are usually low as to value because car dealerships use them for trade- in purpose more than for “selling price”.

Below are the factors that must be included in a total loss settlement offer:

1. Fair Market Value

2. Sales Tax on the fair market amount

3. The prorated unused part of the license tab fees.

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.

Two weeks is typically the amount of time it takes to determine the total loss claim from the date of reporting, based on all of the information needed.

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 can collect from any of the negligent parties, as you are not remotely at fault.

The second consideration is what the insurance will look like that will help with medical bills and wage loss. We would consider the insurance on the vehicle, then whether the driver had additional insurance, and lastly: whether you had automobile insurance that would apply. In all cases we are looking for Personal Injury Protection coverage. If there wasn’t any, or if it exhausts, then your health insurance will kick in.

Should Your Own Medical Coverage be Utilized For Accident Caused Injuries?

You likely bought your medical coverage for instances like this. Automobile insurance, if used in connection with an accident that was not your fault, is not adversely affected in terms of raised rates. Typically, the amount that your company pays for your medical care is reimbursed (subject to legal reductions that your attorney can use to help benefit you) by the negligent party.

If you do not have PIP (and you should, please see our posts and informational pages on this coverage, found HERE), 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. The better your coverage, the better off you will be while weathering the storm and waiting patiently for a settlement that works for you.

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

This is dependant on several factors. First, are you happy with the amount offered? Is it a fair offer? In cases where people get only slightly injured and then bounce back quickly and are confident that their injuries are a thing of the past, then an amount that seems fair to you is probably a good thing.

Beyond this positive situation, that’s where most cases end up. 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. In many instances, you simply aren’t going to be treated fairly without having an attorney handle your case.In many cases, you aren’t going to be treated fairly without have an attorney present to handle the situation. 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 you do not take appropriate legal steps in front of the three year mark, then you will lose your rights to compensation. In reality, we suggest taking these steps at the two year mark in order to have time to discover and correct and problems with the legal process. We suggest you act early if you would like to avoid a lawsuit. It takes time to get everything together for the case, review it, negotiate, and settle. Start early with a consultation with a good personal injury attorney.

How to Proceed When You Are Partially at Fault for the Accident

If you are partially at fault you may still be able to 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 Should I Do if the Other Party is Not Insured?

Hopefully you are covered should this happen to you. It is very important to the UIM (underuninsured motorist coverage) included in 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. For more information on this, please see our information on UIM here.

Car Accident Attorney Lakewood

Lakewood Car Accident Lawyer

“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas
“Wiener and Lambka did a good job of keeping me up to date on my case, and I’d definitely suggest their services to someone looking for an attorney.” - L. Lafond
“I was satisfied by the timely manner with which my case was handled. I would definitely recommend Wiener & Lambka to a friend in the future.” - D. Yusuf
"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
“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
“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
“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins
“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
“The service and the staff were great. I was happy with everything, and would refer Wiener and Lambka to someone else in the future.” - I. Aleman
“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
“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson
"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo
“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
“Calls were returned in a timely manner, and the office staff is friendly. I’d recommend Wiener and Lambka to a friend in the future.” - T. Their
“A job well done! The staff at Wiener and Lambka made a point of explaining everything to me and if necessary I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.” - O. Yusuf

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