Despite the best efforts made by the traffic police department, there is no stopping car accidents. If you or your loved ones have been injured wrongfully in a car accident and you seek legal representation by an accident attorney, we can help. We, at Wiener & Lambka serve as the leading car accident lawyers in Puyallup, WA.
As an experienced car accident lawyer in Puyallup, we know how difficult it is for victims to grapple with the injuries on the one hand, and with legal representation on the other. Therefore, as a reliable car accident lawyer for Puyallup residents, we provide them the following services:
An accident attorney should be one with whom you can share your trauma, at least on the legal aspect, and we promise to provide you the required support.
Only an experienced car accident lawyer in Puyallup can get you the rightful compensation that you deserve. If you are looking for the best car accident lawyer catering to Puyallup, you can consider the following factors to choose:
You can choose us as your accident lawyer in Puyallup as we possess all these qualities, and many more. You can call us for initial consultation and share your experience. We are sure that you will be impressed by our courteous staff and their ability to handle your case well.
When you have been injured in a car accident, you may not be not aware of your legal rights. You need representation by an experienced accident attorney in Puyallup who can get you what is rightfully yours. Therefore, you need to choose an accident attorney in Puyallup for the following reasons:
Only an experienced and skilled accident attorney in Puyallup would be able to deal with the hardball tactics of insurance companies. Therefore, you can choose us for legal representation while you recuperate from your injuries.
If you been a victim of road rage or drunken driving and you seek proper representation by a reliable accident attorney that caters to Puyallup, call us at 800-680-8112.
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person or damage to a vehicle is required to immediately stop and remain at the scene. Drivers are required to cooperate with the police and provide their name and vehicle registration, driver’s license, etc.
Drivers should render assistance within their reasonable ability including calling for an ambulance and any other reasonable act to help injured parties.
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.
Before moving the vehicles, if photos can safely be taken, this should be done. 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.
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 indicate that they cannot come to every accident and, if smaller and without apparent injury, will advise that the parties should 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. 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.
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.
Your insurance policy likely requires that you report collisions and accidents to it. Your insurance policy is a contract so the parties 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 keep them up to date on the situation as well. Make sure you follow the specific requirements in your policy and document your efforts. Store copies of letters you exchange with your insurance company and make note of all conversations, including time, date, and the name of the adjuster you spoke to. If you do not comply with your policy, this could result in denial of coverage.
Take pictures from a safe area around the scene. Take pictures of anything that may end up being significant. The scene itself, the vehicles, the other person’s informational cards for identification and insurance, any injuries that are apparent, any unique thing that happened in the vehicle (did things fly around the car, get knocked to the floor, etc).
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)
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.
Any physical manifestation of injury should be continuously documented with photos. 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 have a duty to cooperate with the authorities and your own insurance company, you are not required to give a statement 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. 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. Obtaining legal advice prior to providing a statement to the opposing insurance company is always a good idea.
If there are witnesses to your collision, obtain their contact information and an understanding of what they saw. 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.
If you find yourself injured in any way, you should seek medical attention. While this seems like common sense to some, often after an accident, folks wait and hope that their injuries go away naturally.
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.
With this same logic in mind, it’s also important to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly, and follow up when 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.
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 Sometimes hiring an attorney who handles traffic tickets is a good idea. Sometimes a personal injury attorney will also be able to help you with fighting the ticket.
Tickets can have consequences for both your injury case and your long term financial interests in regards to insurance rates.
As discussed above, if the insurance company requesting the statement is your own, then you have a duty to cooperate with them and should give the statement. 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.
You should absolutely not record a statement for the other driver’s insurance company. They do not have your best interests in mind. If you are being asked to provide such a statement, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney to discuss this. The insurance company has no right whatsoever to a recorded statement. You should be able to have a reasonable conversation to answer any questions, but please do contact an attorney before speaking to the adjustor, so you will fully understand what you are doing.
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 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 privacy settings may allow lurkers to access all of your Facebook posts. That are many websites that keep you information online and available for anyone to find who might want to. 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 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 collision at all and don’t post about your injuries. These posts can only come back to haunt you later down the road. Do not post anything that you wouldn’t want a judge or jury making decisions about your case to see.
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 party at fault 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. These are the typical areas looked at by attorneys when presenting a case, though other areas may be investigated for individual cases.
Depending on the insurance you have on your vehicle, you may be entitled to payment of medical bills by your own company. You may also be able to handle property damage and car rental through your own company. Your insurance provider may also cover wage loss and have a home helper provision. Funeral costs may also be included in your automobile policy. All of this is dependant on the coverage that you have paid for.
Generally, the negligent party’s company will only pay for your 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.
Your own policy coverage will pay for things as they are incurred, consistent with 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 a list of “approved shops” and the company will guarantee the work as long as you own the vehicle if you use one of their approved shops. You are owed a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or as an alternative, the daily rental fee amount paid directly to you for the “loss of use” of your car if you do not obtain a rental. 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 you’re vehicle is declared a “total loss” which would indicate that it isn’t cost effective to repair it, than you will be reimbursed “fair market value for the car. “Fair market value” is the price you could have received for the car the day before the accident, were you to sell it. Market value is dependant upon many factors such as age, mileage, condition of the body and paint, condition of the interior, tread on tires, damage history, recent maintenance expenses, 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. Insurance cannot offer a “book-figure” under the 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”.
Below are the 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. Prorated unused portion of your license tab fees
4. RENTAL CAR UNTIL FAIR MARKET OFFER IS MADE or an amount equal to daily rental rate paid directly to you for the loss of use of your vehicle if you do not obtain a rental.
5. Title Transfer Fee
If you are interested in retaining the “salvage” (damaged vehicle) then you have the right to match the highest bid for the salvage 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.
There are two important things to keep in mind if you are the passenger in a car accident. 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 not remotely at fault, and can collect from any of the negligent parties.
The second consideration is what the insurance will look like that will help with medical bills and wage loss. We would look first at the insurance on the vehicle, then whether the driver had additional insurance, and last 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.
The reason you have your medical coverage is to use it in situations like this. Auto Insurance rates will not go up when used in connection with an accident where you were not at fault. The amount that your insurance company pays for your injuries is reimbursed by the insurance company of the negligent party.
If you do not have PIP (please see our articles and pages on this HERE) then your medical insurance will pay for your care, and will be reimbursed by the negligent party as well.
There is no situation where the negligent party is going to pay for your losses in the short term, with the exception of the 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.
This depends on a lot of factors. First, does the amount offered make you happy? 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.
Most cases end up on a less positive note. Insurance companies usually try to settle claims for 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 might as well take advantage of the opportunity to gain insight about your case. Unfortunately it’s normal that you won’t be treated fairly unless an attorney is there to maneuver the case for you. Only a consultation will help you to understand what is best for you and your unique legal matter.
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. 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 get everything together for the case, review it, negotiate, and settle. Start early with a consultation with a good personal injury attorney.
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.
Hopefully you have prepared for this scenario. You should always have UIM (underuninsured motorist coverage) included in your auto 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.
“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"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“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“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“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“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas“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“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“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“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 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"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“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
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