No matter how attentive you are on the road, you could still become the victim of an auto collision due to someone else’s negligence. If this happens to you, you could hold those responsible accountable. Car accidents could leave you with damage to your vehicle as well as medical bills for psychological and physical injuries that quickly become quite expensive.
While you cannot do much about the conduct of other motorists, you can protect your rights with the help of a Seattle car accident lawyer. It does not take long for hospital bills and other related expenses to pile up, and you could have an advocate who will handle the legal matters of your case and fight for just compensation. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, at (800) 598-7557 today for your free case review with a team member.
How Insurance Coverage Rules in Seattle Could Affect Your Claim
Following a traffic accident, car insurance often plays a role when submitting a claim. In Washington, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) § 46.30.020 requires drivers and vehicle owners to maintain liability insurance or other acceptable proof of financial responsibility to show that they can pay for damages they might cause while driving. If they do not, they could face the suspension of their driver’s license.
Every time you are out on the road in Seattle, you must present your auto insurance ID card or other proof of financial responsibility to police officers when they ask you to do so or risk receiving a traffic infraction.
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Legal Options to Receive Compensation
If you suffered severe injuries from an auto accident in Seattle, you could file a claim with your insurance company under your personal injury protection (PIP) policy to recover your losses and obtain compensation.
You might also have the right to claim against the insurer of the at-fault driver. If your auto insurance cannot cover your damages because they exceed your policy limit, you might want to consider seeking the counsel of a Seattle car accident lawyer. Filing a lawsuit may be the next step for you, and an attorney can guide you through the process.
In terms of financial responsibility during a car accident, Washington follows a contributory fault system outlined in RCW § 4.22.005. This statute means that if the court finds you partly at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, it will reduce any reward you receive proportionately to your percentage of the blame.
Because you can only receive compensation up to your policy limit if you file against your PIP coverage, you might qualify to file a suit against the other driver if you suffered severe injuries. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today to discuss your situation with a team member.
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Talking with Your Insurance Company After a Collision
Take note that although you should inform your insurance company about your accident promptly, you do not have to provide a recorded statement. When an insurance adjuster contacts you, keep in mind that they can use whatever you say against you. Even responding “OK” to an innocent question about how you feel that day could result in a lower settlement offer or outright denial of your claim.
Moreover, the average person might find it challenging to understand complicated insurance laws. A personal injury attorney is well-versed in insurance jargon and equipped to handle communications with insurance companies to help preserve your claim’s value and protect your rights.
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Car Accident Laws in Washington
When pursuing a claim, you should know which factors can affect the outcome. The following are some Washington laws that can influence the compensation you may receive.
Statute of Limitations
RCW § 4.16.080 establishes a three-year deadline in Washington for bringing personal injury lawsuits starting on the date of your accident. Filing your lawsuit after the time limit expires generally means the court will dismiss your case.
However, the statute of limitations does not apply to your car insurance claim. Insurers require that you give notice of the incident within a reasonable time, usually after a few days and not exceeding a few weeks.
Even if you believe you will only need to file an insurance claim, you might want to contact a Seattle car accident attorney to leave yourself enough time to file a suit if you cannot agree to a settlement.
Negligence laws govern issues of liability and settlement amounts in car accident cases. Under a pure comparative negligence principle, you can still recover damages despite bearing some (or even most) of the fault. However, you will not receive the full settlement amount if this applies to you because the court will reduce the awarded damages by your degree of responsibility. For instance, if a jury awards you $100,000 in damages, yet also finds that you share 20 percent of the blame for the incident, you would only get $80,000.
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Recovering Damages with the Support of an Attorney
In the aftermath of a car accident, you might find it challenging to handle a claim or lawsuit on your own. A car accident lawyer can take care of gathering evidence and proving the negligence of the other driver. They can compute your claim’s value and negotiate with insurance adjusters, and if you decide to pursue litigation, your attorney can fight in court to recover the amount you deserve.
Do Not Wait to Connect with a Seattle Car Accident Lawyer
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we understand the pain and frustration you might experience after a traumatic event. All too often, the stress of dealing with injuries and mounting expenses takes a toll on a car accident victim’s well-being. Our Seattle car accident lawyers are here to fight for the justice and compensation you deserve and make it easier for you to move forward. Call us today at (800) 598-7557, and our team will provide a free, no-obligation case review.
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