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Car accidents do not only have the potential to be traumatic and permanently damaging, but they can also be incredibly expensive.
Most people who have been injured in car accidents are in no position to cover the medical expenses and property damage themselves, especially if they can no longer work and earn income.
Fortunately, car accident victims in Washington state may be eligible for financial compensation through personal injury claims or lawsuits, which can cover damages incurred from their accident, including pain and suffering.
To be connected with a personal injury law firm near you where you can take part in a free case evaluation, contact LegalFinders today.
Some people choose not to use legal representation when filing a car accident claim or lawsuit, but working with a lawyer really is the wisest decision for most types of car accidents.
In some cases that are very complex or involve high amounts of damage, having a lawyer can make all the difference in reaching a settlement quickly and fairly.
You may need a Washington car accident lawyer if:
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, there were 78,544 car accidents in Washington in 2022, with 682 fatalities.
Accidents that happen in Washington tend to occur on a mixture of busy interstates and high-altitude mountain roads.
Most of the dangerous highways in Washington are those which pass through Seattle and other major cities.
Most dangerous highways in Washington include:
Washington does not have many major cities, other than Seattle, but there are certain areas that are known for having worse speeding and more citations.
Top areas for speeding citations in Washington include:
Washington is an at-fault state for auto accidents, which gives people a couple of legal options after a car wreck.
The first option a person has after a car accident in Washington is to file a personal injury claim. This is done against the at-fault party’s insurance company.
This is different from no-fault insurance states, where drivers must first file personal injury claims with their own insurance company before they can file one with the at fault driver’s insurance company.
Sometimes, personal injury claims are denied or both parties are not able to agree upon a fair settlement amount.
In the event that claimants still want to pursue financial compensation, they have the option to file a car accident lawsuit, during which their case would be presented in state court.
Hiring a personal injury attorney is not always needed, but it is the right choice in many instances and for most average people who have no legal experience or expertise.
Reasons to hire a lawyer for a Washington car accident claim include:
Despite all the good reasons for hiring a lawyer for your car accident, you may still have hesitations. Contact LegalFinders today to learn more and ask any questions you have about Washington auto accident attorneys.
If you are still deciding whether hiring a Washington car accident lawyer is the right decision, consider all the many benefits they can bring to your case.
The first step in any car accident case is to assess whether you have a valid case and determine your eligibility.
Only after it has been established that you have a valid claim can your case move forward to the next steps.
Car accidents can have many possible causes, and there can even be multiple factors at play. This is how multiple drivers can end up with fault for a single accident.
Common causes of car accidents include:
Determining fault is particularly important in states that utilize at-fault insurance laws, such as Washington.
In many instances both drivers or multiple drivers can have levels of fault for an accident. This can occur when one person runs a red light and causes an accident, but the injuries are worse than they should have been because the other driver was not wearing their seatbelt.
Negligence is an important aspect of fault in a car accident case and it must be present in order to prove liability for damages.
Someone acts negligently if they act carelessly or thoughtlessly, and those actions result in harm to other people or themselves.
Your medical records are essential for your case, but can be incredibly long and detailed. Your lawyer will know how to find and compile the information that is pertinent to your case.
Common car accident injuries include:
Accident claims need to be filed on time before the statute of limitations runs out and a person loses the ability to take legal action for their car accident.
Your car accident attorney will make sure that this and all other important deadlines are met while you relax and focus on your recovery.
The negotiation stage of a car accident claim is important, as both parties must come to an agreement for a settlement to be reached.
An experienced auto accident attorney will have a knowledgeable and confident negotiations style that can ensure this part of the claims process goes smoothly.
When negotiations do not turn out smoothly and the parties are unable to reach a fair settlement agreement, they may then go to court.
Most car accident cases go before a jury while a few are held strictly before a judge — either way, you will want a strong, confident lawyer to represent you during proceedings.
There is no single type of case that Washington car accident lawyers handle, but rather a multitude of case types, each with its own related causes and potential outcomes.
Types of car accident cases that lawyers handle include:
Before you contact an attorney or start thinking too much about legal action, make sure to take care of a few necessary steps while you are still at the scene of the accident.
Immediately following an accident, 911 should be called and a police officer or sheriff should be involved if there are any injuries or fatalities. This is also the case if there is at least $1,000 worth of damage to any of the vehicles involved.
Following this, each driver has within 4 days to file a Motor Vehicle Collision Report with Washington State Patrol.
Always seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you don’t appear to be hurt immediately following the accident.
Some injuries are not always apparent right away, and it is better to be safe than sorry in case something related to your accident comes up later.
Car accidents can be busy and hectic scenes, but if you are able to do so, try to gather as much information and evidence as you can from the scene of the crash.
Important evidence from the accident scene can include:
If the at-fault driver is cooperative, make sure to obtain as much information as you can from them as well as contact information in case you need to speak with them again.
Items to collect from the at-fault driver include:
Everyone who was in one of the involved vehicles or who saw the accident happen from the road or surrounding area is a potential witness for your case.
Try to talk with as many witnesses as you can and collect their statements, in addition to writing down your own statement as soon as everything has calmed down.
There are numerous advantages to working with a Washington car accident lawyer over not working with one, as it is never recommended to do.
It is important to have an adequate and correct assessment of your collision damages, as these amounts can greatly affect the amount of your settlement.
By working with a car accident lawyer, you can ensure that no damages are missed, no matter how small or minor they may seem.
Not every case will require the use of expert witnesses, but some cases involving mechanical errors or vehicle problems may rely on information from experts.
Most reputable law firms will have relationships already established with experts across numerous fields who can be called upon when their knowledge or testimony is needed for a case.
During discovery, lawyers from both sides present the evidence that they are going to use in order to prove and argue their client’s side of the case.
This allows for neither side to be surprised at any point, and often makes for faster settlements when both sides know what to expect and how to prepare.
It is not uncommon for auto insurance companies to try to get out of paying accident victims in any way possible, in order to save money and avoid accountability.
Your car accident lawyer can instead handle the insurance companies on your behalf, while always making sure that your legal rights are protected.
Anyone handling car accident cases as a profession will have a thorough and in-depth knowledge of all relevant Washington laws and car accident laws.
Relevant Washington car accident laws include:
One of the main reasons why people hire lawyers to handle their cases is so they can relax while their lawyer handles all the hard work.
Rest assured, while your lawyer does all the hard work you will be updated in real-time and always kept in the know about any important updates to your case, as soon as they happen.
If you are seeking financial compensation after a car accident, there is no doubt that you are seeking to collect the highest settlement offer that you can.
People who work with car accident attorneys often find that their settlements are higher and that their cases settle more quickly than those who do not work with lawyers.
Choosing a Washington car accident lawyer or Seattle car accident lawyer is a big decision, one that can impact the entire outcome of your case.
Tips for choosing a quality Washington car accident lawyer include:
Car accident lawyers typically try their best to make their services affordable to people from all walks of life and financial situations, and thus usually work on a contingency fee basis.
This allows people to hire lawyers without needing to pay any upfront costs or out-of-pocket fees, which many people cannot afford, especially right after a car accident has left them with serious injuries.
A car accident can be scary and the aftermath of one can be overwhelming, but working with an experienced lawyer can take much of the stress out of the process for you.
Contact LegalFinders when you are ready to get started with your own free case evaluation, during which you can tell us your story, and we can let you know how we can help.
Do not miss your opportunity to earn the compensation that you deserve and which could help you cover the many costs from your accident — contact us toll-free today.
Here are questions that are commonly asked about car accident lawyers in Washington.
In 2022, more than 600 people were killed in car accidents in the state of Washington, the highest number of recorded fatalities in 15 years.
Researchers are not sure why this number has gone up, but believe it may be related to changes in driving behaviors after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Two of the most common causes of car accidents in Washington are drunken driving and speeding, with both on the rise in recent years.
Another common cause of accidents in Washington is distracted driving, which can include texting and driving or being distracted by passengers.
LegalFinders can help you find top personal injury lawyers in your area who are offering free consultations and a chance to hear examples of how your case would be handled.
They can also help you determine your eligibility for a case, and, after speaking with multiple lawyers and meeting your top picks in person, you can choose a lawyer to hire for your case.
According to a 2021 survey by Martindale-Nolo, the average accident settlement was $23,900 between 2015 and 2020.
Accident settlements can be much lower than this and much higher and will always depend on the individual circumstances of each accident.
The same Martindale-Nolo survey also found that the average car accident settlement took between 10 and 11 months to resolve, with more than half of them settling within six months.
Cases that fail to settle and end up in court can end up taking several years to reach a verdict.
Forbes Advisor. “Auto Accident Settlement Timeline (2023 Guide).” Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/auto-accident/auto-accident-settlement-timeline/.
Forbes Advisor. “Car Accident Lawyer Fees (2023 Guide). Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/auto-accident/car-accident-lawyer-fees/#SnippetTab.
Forbes Advisor. “Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts (2023).” Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/auto-accident/typical-car-settlement-amounts/.
The Seattle Times. “2021 was the deadliest on Washington roads in 15 years, puzzling experts.” Retrieved from: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/2021-was-the-deadliest-on-washington-roads-in-15-years-puzzling-experts/.
Washington Traffic Safety Commission. “Crash Data Dashboards.” Retrieved from: https://wtsc.wa.gov/research-data/dashboards/.