Kent Car Accident Lawyer
Millions Recovered for Victims of Motor Vehicle Collisions
Car accidents are a leading cause of serious personal injury and wrongful death in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 30,000 people are killed and 1.5 million more are injured in car and truck accidents. Someone dies in a motor vehicle accident every 15 minutes.
For the families of those killed, there is nothing that can replace the loss of a loved one. For those injured, car accidents can cause serious and sometimes permanent consequences. At Dore Law Group, PLLC, our Kent car accident attorney represents individuals who were involved in auto accidents, as well as the surviving loved ones of those wrongfully killed. We can help you seek full and fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Let Our Kent Car Accident Firm Fight for You
At Dore Law Group, PLLC, we know that car accidents happen to innocent people. More importantly, a car accident doesn’t just affect the person injured—it usually also significantly affects the injured person’s family and loved ones. In addition to pain and suffering, accident victims and their families may suffer lost wages, time off work, and emotional stress from the accident.
When people choose to disregard the standards of safe driving, all of us are put at risk. Each of us, or members of our families, could be the next victim.
Common Causes of Car Accident Injuries
Many car accidents in Kent, Washington are a result of one or more of the following:
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence
- Distracted driving, including distractions from cell phones and texting
- Dangerous road conditions, including construction zones, traffic signal matters, or impaired view because of obstructions
- Driver fatigue
- Driving too fast for conditions, particularly in poor weather conditions
- Traffic violations, such as speeding and running red lights
- Road rage or aggressive driving
In most cases, car accidents can be avoided by not engaging in the activities on this list. Unfortunately, when some drivers decide to drive recklessly, other innocent drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians pay the price.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can change our lives in an instant. One moment you're driving along listening to your favorite song, and the next, you're waking up in the hospital because of the carelessness of another driver. Below are five of the most common injuries people endure from being in a car accident.
Neck Injuries: When another vehicle crashes into your car unexpectedly, your body has little time to brace itself for the impact. The sudden jolt often leads to neck injuries that can drastically inhibit your range of motion.
Head Injuries: Especially in cases where drivers are not wearing their seat belts, head injuries can be all too common during car crashes. A head injury is perhaps the most severe form of injury that requires careful attention from doctors.
Back Injuries: Most common in rear-end car collisions, back injuries can leave drivers paralyzed for the rest of their lives. It is vital to stabilize car accident victims immediately to avoid further injuries.
Bone Fractures: Due to the nature of car accidents, bone fractures are prevalent, especially when excessive speed is involved. Broken bones, if not cared for properly, can lead to permanent damage and leave a lasting impact on your physical ability later in life.
Lasting Psychological Damage: In addition to physical harm, car accidents often cause psychological damage to victims. Drivers can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that leads them to fear driving on the road.
Car Accident Laws in Washington
Washington follows a traditional fault-based tort system for car accident claims, meaning the fault of all parties involved in a collision will be considered when determining liability for the resulting damages. All drivers are required to carry insurance, but the at-fault driver's insurer is the one who will shoulder all (or most of) the cost of the collision. With that being said, drivers in Washington have the option of adding Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage to their insurance policies which will pay for the policyholder's immediate medical bills regardless of who causes the crash. Since the state's bare minimum coverage limits can quickly be exhausted in the event of a serious crash, adding PIP coverage is often a very worthwhile investment.
IIf you have PIP insurance coverage, you will still be able to file a claim with the other driver's insurance policy. Depending on the limits of the other driver's policy and their level of fault, their insurer will first reimburse your PIP insurance company for the costs covered by your policy. If your damages exceed the limits of your PIP insurance and the other driver's coverage, you may pursue a civil claim against the at-fault driver for additional compensation.
Comparative Fault Laws in Washington
Under the Revised Code of Washington section 4.22.005, Washington is a "pure comparative negligence" state. This means that both drivers (or more if the crash involves multiple vehicles) can be held liable for a car accident, and as such, an injured party's eligible compensation will be reduced by a percentage equal to his or her share of the blame.
For example, say you were injured in a crash caused by a driver that was texting, causing you to suffer $10,000 in damages. Your injury case proceeds all the way to trial. At trial, the jury determines that while the texting driver was primarily to blame for the crash, because you were speeding at the time of the collision, you were also 20% at fault. As such, the maximum amount of compensation you may recover is $8,000 (or $10,000 less 20%).
Insurance companies understand these comparative negligence rules well and will often use this knowledge to pressure you into accepting a far lower settlement than you deserve. Our attorneys can review the evidence surrounding your crash and fight to ensure you are not unfairly blamed, thereby maximizing your chances of securing the compensation you deserve.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Car accident lawsuits in Washington are subject to a "statute of limitations" which sets a strict time limit on how long you have to file a civil claim in court. Under this statute of limitations, you only have three years from the date of your crash to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver. Filing a lawsuit after this time period passes will typically result in your case being dismissed, permanently preventing you from seeking damages.
It is important to note that this deadline does not apply to insurance claims; you generally must inform your insurance company or the at-fault driver's insurer within a few days or your claim will likely be denied. Since complying with these various filing deadlines can essentially make or break your case, it is important you speak to an attorney as soon as possible to maximize your chances of success and avoid complications with your claim.
Types of Damages You May Recover
You may seek compensation for a wide range of damages after a car accident, including:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death (if a loved one was killed)
An attorney from our firm can help you file a claim in pursuit of full compensation for your damages. In the event that the at-fault driver's insurance company won't make a reasonable offer, we are prepared to pursue litigation to secure the compensation you need.
Do I Need to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you were injured in a crash caused by another driver, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. With that being said, doing so is not always necessary and is typically only appropriate if negotiations with the at-fault driver's insurance company fail to yield a fair settlement. Most car accident cases settle out of court with only a small percentage escalating towards litigation.
The car accident claims process usually starts with filing a claim against the responsible driver's insurance company. An attorney can help you build a strong claim and handle negotiations on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery with peace of mind.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Kent, WA
Your actions in the immediate aftermath of a car accident can have a considerable impact on your ability to recover compensation later. If you do not follow the proper procedure, your insurance company could refuse to pay your claim. It is important to have a game plan in place to protect your interests and shield yourself from potential liability.
Stay at the scene: Never drive away from the scene of an accident. Always stop and render aid to any injured parties.
Call 911: Call for an ambulance if anyone is seriously injured, unconscious, unresponsive, or if there are any fatalities. If you are unsure of someone's condition, it is best to err on the side of caution and summon medical attention anyway. Afterwards, call the police.
Exchange information: Trade information with everyone involved in the accident. This includes, names, addresses, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, license plate numbers, insurance policy numbers, vehicle makes, and vehicle models. Be courteous, but do not discuss the crash. Be sure to get the contact information of any witnesses to the collision as well.
Collect evidence: If you have access to a smartphone, take photos of all damage to your vehicle, damage to the other involved vehicles, the positioning of the vehicles, weather conditions, traffic patterns, and any other details. If you have the ability, record videos of the accident scene as well.
Tell the police your version of what happened: You can be sure that the other involved driver will tell the police what they believe happened. Make sure your voice is heard and that your account of the events are recorded by the responding officer. Do not admit fault, and do not discuss the crash with anyone but the police.
Seek medical help: If you did not suffer critical injuries requiring an ambulance, seek a medical evaluation as soon as you are cleared by police to leave the scene. Tell your doctor you were in an accident and report any aches or pains you may have. Keep records of any expenses related to your treatment and follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
Call your insurance company: Tell your insurance company you were involved in a collision as soon as you can. Many insurance policies require you to report a crash within a few days do be eligible for payment on your claim. Refer to the exact wording of your policy to determine how much time you have to file a claim. Do not give any recorded statements or sign any releases until you have had a chance to speak to an attorney.
Contact an attorney: Dealing with insurance companies after a car accident is rarely a straightforward process. A Kent car accident attorney from our firm can guard your interests, help you understand your legal options in full, and determine the most appropriate course of action.
How We Help Car Accident Victims & Their Families
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, or if your loved one died due to the reckless or negligent acts of another driver, call us. We have years of experience representing personal injury clients in King County and throughout Washington.
We can thoroughly investigate your accident, and we often work with accident reconstructionists and other professionals to determine all causes that contributed to the accident. In many cases, there is more than one person or cause of the accident. In these cases, we can bring a lawsuit against all of the people responsible for causing the accident, including those who may be responsible for unsafe road conditions (if this is a factor).
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, call our Kent car accident lawyer to discuss your situation. There is no obligation to use our services, and the initial consultation is free. If you hire our firm, we will work vigorously to prove every aspect of your case and to recover for you the full measure of compensation to which you may be entitled.
- Vicarious Liability in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases
- How Washington Determines Fault in Car Accident Claims
- Don't Forget to Do These 3 Things After an Accident
- What to Do When Sustaining Two Automobile Collisions Close in Time
- Do I Need an Attorney for My Car Accident Claim?
- Why You Should Avoid Talking to Insurance After a Wreck
- What Is Defensive Driving?
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