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Hiring a Car Accident Attorney in Washington

You may have many questions when you are involved in a car wreck, we are here to help! We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions by car accident victims in the state of Washington.

How common are fatal car accidents 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.

What is the most common cause of car accidents in Washington?

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.

How do I hire a motor vehicle accident lawyer in Washington?

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.

How much is the average accident settlement in Washington?

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.

How long does a car accident settlement take in Washington?

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.

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.

Washington State Car Accident Lawyers

Who Needs a Washington Car Accident Lawyer?

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:

  • There was a fatality or fatalities in your accident
  • There were severe injuries in your accident
  • Your accident involved an uninsured or underinsured motorist
  • You do not feel like you could confidently represent yourself
  • There is a dispute about which driver was at fault in your accident

Washington Car Accident Statistics

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 Dangerous Highways in Washington

Most of the dangerous highways in Washington are those which pass through Seattle and other major cities.

Most dangerous highways in Washington include:

  • Interstate 5: This highway runs directly through downtown Seattle and faces heavy traffic, high congestion, and a large volume of semi-trucks.
  • Interstate 90: The second-busiest highway in Washington, this one poses dangers to commuters with heavy speeding, but is also dangerous to travelers at night who are at risk of falling asleep on this road’s long and quiet stretches.
  • Interstate 97: This highway is known for having drivers who speed and also a high rate of intoxicated drivers.
  • Hart’s Pass: While not a highway, this road winds and twists through the mountains of the North Cascades, has no guardrails, and is the single highest road in all of Washington.
  • State Route 20: This scenic road is subject to snowstorms and avalanches, and is so dangerous that it is closed annually from November through May.

Top Washington Areas for Speeding Citations

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:

  • Seattle
  • Tacoma
  • King County
  • Spokane
  • Vancouver

Legal Options After a Car Crash in Washington

Washington is an at-fault state for auto accidents, which gives people a couple of legal options after a car wreck.

Personal Injury Claims

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.

Car Accident Lawsuits

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.

Why Hire a Lawyer for a Washington Car Accident Claim?

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:

  • You lost a loved one in your accident and need to file a wrongful death lawsuit
  • You were seriously injured in your accident and have high medical bills
  • Your case is complex and you have no knowledge of Washington law
  • You were in an accident with an uninsured driver and are unsure what to do
  • You want to receive maximum compensation and the highest settlement award you can
  • You want to feel ready in case your lawsuit ends up in court

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.

What Does a Washington Car Accident Lawyer Do?

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.

Assess Whether You Have a Valid Car Accident 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.

Identify Possible Car Accident Causes

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:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Inexperienced driving
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Poor road conditions or blockages
  • Vehicle mechanical failure

Determine Fault for the Accident

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.

Work to Prove Negligence

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.

Examine Your Injury Medical Records

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:

File Your Car Accident Claim

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.

Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement

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.

Defend Your Car Accident Lawsuit in Court

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.

What Types of Cases Do Car Accident Lawyers Handle?

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:

What to Do Before You Call a Washington Car Accident Attorney

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.

1. Report the Car 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.

2. Seek Medical Care

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.

3. Gather Evidence from the Scene of the Crash

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:

  • Photos of your car and all other cars involved
  • Photos of the road and any relevant signage
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Accident report or police report

4. Obtain Information from the At-Fault Driver

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:

  • Phone number and contact info
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Insurance policy information

5. Collect Witness Statements

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.

Top Benefits of Washington Car Accident Lawyers

There are numerous advantages to working with a Washington car accident lawyer over not working with one, as it is never recommended to do.

Full Collision Damages Assessment

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.

Connections to Expert Witnesses

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.

Thorough Discovery Investigation

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.

Managing the Insurance Companies

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.

Knowledge of Washington Car Accident Law

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:

  • Statute of limitations: Washington has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases of three years from the date on which the accident occurred.
  • At-fault insurance laws: Washington has at-fault insurance laws, which allow accident victims to pursue legal action against the driver who is found to be “at fault” for an accident.
  • Washington’s pure comparative negligence rule: This rule allows accident case plaintiffs to recover damages from the other driver after an accident, even if they are found to be up to 99% at fault for the accident.

Up-to-Date Knowledge About Your Case

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.

Improved Car Accident Settlement

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.

Tips for Choosing a Quality Washington Car Accident Lawyer

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:

  • Take advantage of multiple free case reviews so you can have a choice between a few top lawyers.
  • Look at the experience and reputation of the law offices and whether they have a nationwide presence.
  • Choose a law firm that has a history of successful settlements and with a low percentage of cases going to court.
  • Ask around for recommendations and research ratings and reviews for potential law groups.
  • Trust your instincts and meet all potential lawyers in person so you can get a feel for their legal communication style.

Cost of Washington Car Accident Lawyers

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.

LegalFinders Can Connect You With Experienced Car Accident Law Firms

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.


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Published: 30 January 2022


The Seattle Times. “2021 was the deadliest on Washington roads in 15 years, puzzling experts.” Retrieved from:

Washington Traffic Safety Commission. “Crash Data Dashboards.” Retrieved from: