While car accidents are a fact, and can become a complicated mess, having a car accident lawyer or accident attorney to represent you will significantly lighten the burden for a car accident victim in the Federal Way and surrounding area.
Important reasons for hiring a car accident lawyer or accident attorney following a car accident:
Call Wiener and Lambka for powerful representation by a car accident lawyer or accident attorney serving the Federal Way and surrounding area if you or a loved one is the victim of a car accident as a result of the negligence of another.
You are certain as to who caused your car accident in the Federal Way and surrounding area. However, an experienced and knowledgeable accident lawyer is vital 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.
Our car accident lawyer and staff are tenacious in fighting to ensure you receive full compensation for your losses. The types of compensatory damages our car accident lawyer or accident attorney in the Federal Way area and beyond will work to recover include:
With the experience, knowledge and resources of our car accident lawyer and staff serving the Federal Way area and beyond, we are confident in taking on any opponent of our client, and will not back away from any adversary in working for a financial settlement.
Call for a consultation with our car accident lawyer or accident attorney serving the Federal Way and surrounding area to handle a thorough accident investigation and your claim.
Choosing our accident attorney following a car accident will protect your rights under the law to avoid paying financially and personally for another person’s careless driving behavior.
In certain cases, a lawsuit is in order. Our accident attorney can provide assistance to the injured car accident victims in fighting against insurance companies, in proving liability that can be complex, understanding settlement options, filing a lawsuit and proving your case.
Call Wiener and Lambka for accident attorney representation in the Federal Way and surrounding area that will fight aggressively to protect your rights. 800-680-8812.
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 required to cooperate with the police and provide their name and vehicle registration, driver’s license, etc.
Drivers should also aid any injured parties within their reasonable ability, including calling for an ambulance.
Most vehicle collisions do not involve death or serious injury such that a police investigation needs to be done for the purposes of evaluating the possibility of 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 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.
It is always advisable to call the police, whether or not you believe that the collision 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, however, the police will come to the scene and fill out an official police report. Having the police officer as a witness, with the report, will help with your case later on. Keep in mind that many people do not feel any symptoms of injury at the accident scene as they have adrenaline moving through them and, in the case of soft tissue injuries, the symptoms tend to come on progressively over the next hours and days as the inflammatory process begins.
Even with a small collision where fault seems clear, having a police report to support your version can be crucial.
Drivers are required to have proof of current liability insurance any time they are driving their vehicle. This is why your insurance company typically sends you two cards: one to carry with you and one to keep in your car. The ticket for not having insurance information handy is several hundreds of dollars, so be sure you have your card.
Your policy likely requires that you contact your insurance company immediately after a collision. Because an insurance policy is a contract, 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 agent to keep them up to date on the situation 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 comply with your policy could result in the denial of coverage.
Take photos of the scenes from a safe place Take photographs of anything that you think might turn out to be important. Damage to the vehicles, the scene, the surrounding areas, personal identification, injuries, if anything broke in the cars, etc.
Continue to take relevant photos 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)
Take any additional additional photos you may need. This is particularly true if the vehicle was totaled out, or before it’s sold for salvage, repaired, or simply 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. Bruises get worse and then heal up, scars change, everything that is not going to stay static during the healing process should be documented with photos.
While you do need to make a statement to the authorities and your insurance company, the same is not required of the adverse driver or their insurance company. The best course of action is to seek legal advice before speaking to them because they will seek to record your statement. Insurance adjusters are trained to find ways in which to limit or deny claims of the other driver. We’ve taken on many clients who have given statements that have caused unnecessary problems due to not understanding the system they are now involved in. Seeking legal advice prior to providing a statement to the opposing insurance company is definitely recommended.
If there are witnesses to your collision, obtain their contact information and an understanding of what they saw. While witnesses don’t often need to be contacted after the incident, that’s not always the case. You should be taking down notations of anything that may seem to be important at the time of the collision.
If you are injured in any way, you should seek medical care for it. While this may seem like common sense to some, often people wait and hope that their injuries go away.
Any delay will give the insurance company for the other driver some wiggle room where they can claim that if you had really been hurt, you would have sought medical care immediately. 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.
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.
Whether someone receives a ticket and the other contents of the police report are not admissible in a trial on the matter. That being said, these items still matter a whole lot to the insurance companies and the 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 given for this process. Sometimes it is a good idea to hire an attorney who handles traffic tickets. Sometimes a personal injury attorney will also be able to help you with fighting 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.
As mentioned above, if your insurance company requests a statement, you have a duty to give it to them. In Washington state, statements given to your own insurance company are not discoverable to the other driver’s insurance company. 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.
What you should not do is give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. They do not have your best interests in mind. If this is requested, you should get in contact with a personal injury attorney right away. Insurance companies have no 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.
If you’ve ever Googled yourself or another person, you know it’s possible to find lots of information you didn’t know what public. 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 privacy settings may allow lurkers to access all of your Facebook posts. It’s possible to find your information on websites you didn’t even know existed. Investigators may even be able to find out information about you through friends’ pages.
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’s also important to remember that if you change your social media posts after a collision, you could get in trouble for alter 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 collision at all and don’t post about your injuries. 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.
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:
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.
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. Additional forms of damages may be present in individual cases, but these are typically the ones looked at by most attorneys.
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. You will then receive a check for all of the other losses when you have signed the release at the end of the case. Because you need to fully understand the future of your injuries, the bodily injury payment typically does not occur until you are done with treatment and have 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.
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 have approved shops where the company will guarantee the work for the length of time you own the car. A rental car is owed to you, or as an alternative, the cost of the rental car paid directly to you. Be sure that the work on your car is performed well because you sign the insurance check over for the repairs.
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.
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.
Insurance companies must research the price of comparable cars by calling dealerships and checking newspapers to determine the price. You should also do your research. Insurance cannot offer a “book-figure” under the law. Guides are typically low because car dealerships tend to use them for trade-in rather than selling price.
Itemized below are the evaluations factors that must be included in a total loss settlement offer:
1. What is the Fair Market Value?
2. Sales Tax on the fair market amount
3. The prorated unused part of the license tab fees.
4. The use of a rental car until the offer is made or the cost of the rental car paid directly to you.
5. Title Transfer Fee
You can retain the damaged vehicle by matching the highest bid for the salvage 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.
There are two important considerations if you were a passenger in a car accident. As the passenger it does not matter to you who was at fault in the accident You are not remotely at fault, and can collect from any of the negligent parties.
You’ll need to consider what insurance will be available to you in the short run to 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. We are always looking for Personal Injury Protection coverage. If there wasn’t any, or if it exhausts, then your health insurance will kick in.
The reason you have your medical coverage is to use it in situations like this. Your automobile insurance rates will not be raised when you use your coverage in connection with an accident that was not your fault. The negligent party will reimburse that amount that your company pays (subject to legal reductions that your attorney can use to help benefit you).
You should have PIP (please see our posts and pages on this coverage HERE), but if you do not than your medical insurance will pay for your care.
Reimbursement of everything other than vehicle damage will take time. The better your coverage, the better off you will be while weathering the storm and waiting patiently for a settlement that works for you.
This depends on a lot of factors. First, are you happy with the amount offered? Do you believe that it is fair? In cases where there is less injury and folks bounce back quickly, if the amount seems fair, that’s probably good.
Beyond this happy scenario, however, are most of the cases. Usually insurance companies try to save money and settle claims for less than they are worth. Corporations have duties to maximize profits for their shareholders, so it makes sense that they would want to see if they could get you to accept a smaller settlement.
If the insurance company refuses to raise its offer to an amount that seems fair, you should consult with an attorney. The consultation will be free, so you should take the opportunity to 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.
Three years is the amount of time you have to resolve or properly file a lawsuit in Washington State. 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. If you would prefer to avoid a lawsuit, and most people would, acting early is your best course of action. It takes time to gather the medical records and review same and understand a case for presentation, negotiation and settlement. Start the process right away by consulting with a good personal injury attorney.
Being partially at fault doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t also bring a claim. This insurance steps in in case the negligent party does not have the insurance needed to cover your damages. Please see our discussion of UIM here.
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