Car Accident Lawyer for Powerful Representation in Sumner

If you have been wrongfully injured in an automobile accident, you need to be represented fairly so that you get the proper compensation. Only an experienced accident attorney can help you with this. We, at Wiener & Lambka serve as well known car accident lawyers in Sumner, WA.

As established and committed car accident lawyers in Sumner, we work towards the best interests of our clients. Our services as an experienced car accident lawyer catering to Sumner include the following:

  • Powerful representation in court
  • Calculation of fair compensation
  • Negotiate with the insurance companies

When you choose us as your accident attorney, we ensure that your interests are well taken care of. Using the best resources and thorough investigation, we help in finding the guilty and then bring them to justice.

Experienced Accident Lawyer for Sumner Residents

With the help of an experienced accident lawyer in Sumner, you can be assured of getting the best services. You can also choose us to be your car accident lawyer in Sumner because we have the expertise in dealing with all types of car accident cases that include:

  • Drunken driving
  • Accidents caused due to dangerous and faulty roads
  • Road rage
  • Over speeding related accidents

Though we cannot get back the life of your family member that may have been killed in the accident, we, as your reliable car accident lawyer in Sumner, promise to pursue the harshest punishment for the guilty, and rightful compensation for you.

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

Only an experienced accident attorney in Sumner can protect your legal rights. Therefore, when looking for a reliable accident attorney in the Sumner area, consider the following factors:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Understanding of the law
  • Reputation

You can choose us to be your accident attorney in Sumner since we possess all these qualities, along with many more. We are committed to our clients, and therefore, make all effort to safeguard their interests. You can rely on our resources to help in finding the person at fault.

At the same time, we calculate the best compensation in your case. You need to be compensated for damage to the property, loss of income due to the death of the family member, rising medical expenses and the pain and suffering that you have gone through.

If you are looking for legal assistance in the case of a car accident, you can rely on us as your accident attorney in Sumner. Call us at 800-680-8112.

Car Accident Attorneys Sumner WA

Car Accident Lawyers Sumner WA

Don’t Leave the Scene

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

Should Vehicles Involved in the Accident Be Moved?

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. However, if you can leave the vehicles where they are stopped, so that everything can be properly documented by the police, this is preferable. 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.

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.

Phone the Police

Whether or not you believe that the collision merits a call to the police, it is likely advisable to do so. 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 the police will come to the scene to fill out a report. This report and the officer being a witness can be important aspects to your case later on. You should remember that injury may not be immediately apparent as some have slow onset, and many people experience adrenaline at the scene of an incident.

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

Exchange Insurance

Drivers are required to have proof of current liability insurance any time they are driving their 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.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Your insurance policy most likely requires that you notify your insurance company to report 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 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. Keep all of the information and communication you exchange regarding the incident including time, date, and the name of the person with which you shared the exchange If you do not comply with your policy, this could result in denial of coverage.

Take Photographs to Document the Collision

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).

Continue taking photos of anything that may be relevant, even after you leave the scene. Take photos after any revealing work at a body shop, such as a bumper tear down (Most shops will do that for you.

Any additional chance to take photos should be taken advantage of. 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.

Any physical manifestation of injury should be continuously documented with photos. You should also photograph any injuries as they evolve and change form: bruises get darker and then lighten, scars change form, etc.

Watch What You Say

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. Seek legal advice before you speak to them, as they may wish 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 clients who haven’t understood the system experience problems with their case due to giving a statement they weren’t prepared for. Obtaining legal advice prior to providing a statement to the opposing insurance company is always a good idea.

Obtain Witness Information

If there are witnesses to your collision, obtain their contact information and an understanding of what they saw. While in most cases witnesses do not prove to be important or necessary, the problem is that you won’t know that at the time of the crash. You should be taking notes of anything that might seem like it will be important at the time of the collision.

Seek a Medical Checkup

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 trouble with waiting to see if you feel better is that the insurance company for the other driver can claim that if you’d been really hurt, you would have sought medical care right away. Also, without seeking medical care immediately, you can be susceptible to the claim that you failed to take reasonable steps to limit harm.

With this same logic in mind, it’s also important to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly, and follow up when appropriate. Mention any and all pain and possible problems at the time of the collision to your doctor so they can be properly documented. Not having an injury mentioned in your medical records is the same thing as not having had the injury at all when it comes time to settle your case.

What 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. 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. Simply follow the instruction on the ticket you were given. 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.

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.

Should I give a recorded statement?

As we said above, if it is your insurance company requesting the statement, it is your duty to offer it. 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 that you speak to an attorney before giving a statement to your own insurance company, it is advisable.

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 they request this, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. 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.

Social Media

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 the privacy settings you have on your social media account, there may be more information public about you than you realize. For example, Twitter keeps a running record of your tweets. Your Facebook posts may be accessible to anyone depending on your privacy settings. It’s possible to find your information on websites you didn’t even know existed. Your friends can have different settings that you do and thereby allow investigators to find out information about you from their 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 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 incident and do not post about your injuries and how they are affecting 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. 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 upon what insurance you have on your vehicle, you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills by your own company, up to the limits of your policy. It may also be possible to handle property damage and car rental through your own company. Your own company may have a wage loss provision and a home helper provision. Funeral expenses are also sometimes included in automobile policies. What you can obtain depends upon the type and limitations or the coverages you have paid for.

Typically the other driver’s insurance company with 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.

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

Handling the Totaling of a Vehicle: Repairs and Reimbursement:

If your vehicle is repairable, it must be restored to its pre-accident condition. 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 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. 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 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 do your research. Under the law, the insurance company cannot offer a “book figure”. Guides are typically low because car dealerships tend to use them for trade-in rather than selling price.

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

1. What is the 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. Fee for transferring the title

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.

It usually take about two weeks from the date of reporting a claim until a total loss offer is made as it takes time to determine all of the above. If you have questions feel free to call.

What If You Were a Passenger Who was Injured in a Car Accident?

There are two important things to keep in mind if you are the passenger in a car accident. It doesn’t matter who is at fault in the accident if you are the passenger. 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. 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. We are always looking for Personal Injury Protection coverage. If there isn’t any, or if it is exhausted, this is when your health insurance kicks in.

Should You Use Your Own Medical Coverage for Automobile Accident Caused Injuries?

You likely bought your medical coverage for instances 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 (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. 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?

The answer to this question depends on several factors. First, does the amount offered make you happy? Does it seem 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 positive situation, that’s where most cases end up. 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 will not raise its offers to the point of what you consider to be reasonable, then you should consult with an attorney about your case. 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 Can You Wait Before Starting a Lawsuit?

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. 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. 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.

How to Proceed When You Are 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 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. Please see our discussion of UIM here.

“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
“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
“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
“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
"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 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
“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
“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 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
“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins
“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 always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo
“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas
“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

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