Seattle Car Accident Attorneys

You've been injured in a car accident. Now What?

Seattle Car Accident Lawyers

Being injured in a car accident can be a life altering experience.  You need time to heal from your injuries.  This may in turn result in you missing work and prevent you from attending to other important matters.  All the while the bills are mounting.  From costs of medical care to lost wages, the hits can keep coming. Then, to make matters even worse, the insurance companies are trying to pay you as little as they can get away with.

This is where we come in.  If the negligence of someone else caused your car accident and the resulting injury, you should not have to reach into your own pocket and pay your hard earned money for the mounting expenses and for your pain & suffering.  The insurance companies have an obligation to make you whole.  We hold them to that obligation.

After a serious injury, your only job should be to focus on your physical recovery.  We will handle the rest.  Unlike the insurance companies, our only interest is in protecting you and maximizing your compensation.

Common Car Accident Questions

You will have peace of mind that your attorneys truly care about you and your family. Michelle & Court have over 35 years of combined experience and will use all of that experience towards helping you.

We will take the stress of dealing with the insurance companies away from you, and will get you the compensation you deserve. Money that will help to cover lost wages, medical expenses, pain & suffering, etc.

We will personally handle your case every step of the way, including contacting the insurance companies, contacting the at-fault party and/or their attorney, investigation, research, drafting pleadings, conducting depositions, and taking cases through trial when necessary. This process will often be resolved over the course of several months, but can sometimes take years. Throughout this process, we are there for our clients. We care about what our clients are going through and we want them to feel comfortable that they are in the best hands.

We will meet with you, gain an understanding of your individual situation and if we decide to work together, our fee does not get paid until the insurance company pays you.

It is scary to find yourself or your loved one a victim of any type of injury or loss. It is your job to heal. It is our job to deal with everything else.

The responding police officer(s) may put their opinions into the police report but ultimately both parties’ insurance companies will conduct their own independent investigations to try and determine where the fault lies. You want to have your own attorney to protect your claim.

It depends on your policy. You can take a look at the following sections of your policy for this:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP);
  • Collision Coverage; and
  • Underinsured/Uninsured Coverage

The other driver’s liability insurance is supposed to pay.

First, we are very sorry for your loss.  We understand that despite this horrible loss, you may still be stuck with medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses. You may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to recover these costs and more. Please visit our wrongful death page and reach out any time for a consultation.

Your Personal Injury Protection pays first. If/When that were to run out, then health insurance can start picking up the tab. However, you may need to reimburse them out of any compensation you receive from a settlement or trial verdict.

If your bills/expenses get paid by your own insurance company, they will seek to recover their costs from the at-fault person. This is a process called subrogation. Once a settlement or verdict is reached in your favor, your insurance company will start this process.

No. In the handful of states with “No Fault” coverage, you can recover funds for medical bills and costs through your own insurance company regardless of who is at fault for the accident. In Washington State, as in most states, you instead have the option of Personal Injury Insurance. This is explained further in the next FAQ, below.

It’s not uncommon for injury victims to be partially at fault for an accident. This does not mean you are completely responsible and you very well may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Washington State uses a “pure comparative negligence” calculation, where the amount of money you recover gets reduced by the percentage you are considered to be at fault. For example, Let’s say you recover $100,000 but are determined to be 25% at fault, your total recovery would then be $75,000.

PIP is offered through your insurance provider. If you have it, it will cover medical bills and loss wages as a result of an accident. There may be some exclusions, however.

Pursuant to RCW 48.22.100, an insurer providing automobile liability insurance policies must offer PIP coverage for each insured with benefit limits as follows:

  • $35,000 for medical expenses;
  • $2,000 for funeral expenses;
  • $35,000 for lost wages, with a limit of $700/week;
  • $14,600 for loss of services (if you need to pay other people to do things you can no longer do like chores such as house cleaning, yard work,

In WA State, all drivers must carry proof of auto/liability insurance, including motorcyclists. RCW 46.30 requires anyone who drives a motor vehicle or a motorcycle in our state to do one of the following options:

  • Carry liability insurance with liability limits of at least:
    • $25,000 for injuries or death to another person
    • $50,000 for injuries or death to all other people
    • $10,000 for damage to another person’s property

  • Apply for a certificate of deposit to pay for your liability insurance with the Department of Licensing.
  • Have a liability bond of at least $60,000 filed by a surety bond company that’s authorized to do business in Washington.
  • Self-insure if you have 26 or more vehicles.

Your own auto insurance policy may cover you for uninsured motorists (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) collisions. If so, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. Your collision and personal liability coverage can help cover your losses. The same often goes for a collision where you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

Also, UIM coverage is a floating layer of coverage. In other words, it’s coverage in addition to the coverage held by the at-fault driver.

UM/UIM is required to be offered in the same amount as your liability coverage.

Uber and Lyft drivers have the same responsibilities as all other drivers on the road, so you can still pursue legal action.  In fact, ride share companies carry supplemental insurance for their drivers when the app is ON as follows:

UBER and LYFT:
  • Driver is available or waiting for a ride
    • When the driver’s personal auto insurance isn’t enough to cover damages, Uber maintains third party liability in the following amounts:
      • $50,000 in bodily injury per person
      • $100,000 in bodily injury per accident
      • $25,000 in property damage per accident
  • En route to pick up riders & during trips
    • $1,000,000 third-party liability
    • Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury
    • Contingent comprehensive & collision
Under Washington law, the party with legal liability for economic damages may have the right to pay them to the person harmed in periodic installments, instead of in a lump-sum.

In a personal injury case, medical bills can skyrocket and healthcare providers understandably want to get paid for their services. In many cases, they do not get paid up front or at the time of service, but rather place a lien on your insurance claim. In other words, when there is a medical lien involved with your personal injury case, when you ultimately settle your case or win at trial, the unpaid medical bills are then paid to the healthcare provider out of your settlement.

If the healthcare provider is not willing to wait for payment, your insurance company can pay these medical bills instead and then the insurance company will in turn place their own lien on your settlement so they can recoup these payments. This is a process called subrogation.

Overall, a medical lien can be very helpful in that you do not have to pay out of pocket for your needed treatment. We step in to the process to negotiate the lien to reduce what is owed for medical bills and leave more of that money in your pocket.

A Phantom Vehicle refers to a vehicle that causes damage or injury without making physical contact. For example, let’s say another car swerves into your lane, and to avoid a collision, you swerve out of the way, but then you hit something else. Do what you can to stop the “Phantom Vehicle” and exchange information; if you are unable to do this, at least get the license plate number. Washington State requires that you report a “Phantom Vehicle” collision to the police within 72 hours if you intend on filing an insurance claim.

The most common defenses we see is that the insurance company will try to claim:

  • You are at fault for the accident
  • You are partially at fault, referred to as contributory negligence
  • No proximate cause – they acknowledge the injury but try to claim it was not caused by the accident (this is more common in car accident case as the cause in most pedestrian accident cases is usually obvious).**

Despite these available defenses, we will do everything possible to still maximize your recovery.

General/Insurance FAQ's

We’ll keep this answer simple: Yes, you need an attorney if you want to maximize your recovery. It’s just one of those things that is best left to the experts.

Insurance companies want to pay out the minimums, close your file, and move on. Attorneys get in the way of that.

This question will get you a very lawyer-like answer: it depends. We need to know a lot more about your injury and get deep into the case before we can fully answer this question.

The word “win” also means different things to different people. For instance, if an insurance adjustor offers you $500 to settle your case and then after we get involved the offer goes up to $20,000, many people would consider that a win. In some cases, we would agree with this. In others, we may believe that more money is deserved and will urge you to keep fighting.

What we can tell you is this. We will put you in the best position to maximize your recovery, whether that is through a settlement or trial.

Similar answer here to the question above about whether you will “win” your case. While this is another great question, it’s not one that can be answered until many things happen first. Fault and seriousness of the injury, are a couple of the main factors at play.

The two primary types of damages that can be recovered are economic/special damages, and non-economic/general damages.

Economic damages are for out-of-pocket costs that are incurred due to the injury.  For example:

  • Medical costs, including unreimbursed bills, long-term/chronic care costs, medical devices, home modifications, physical therapy, etc.
  • Property damages;
  • Lost wages or employment opportunity

 

General damages are for other harms that you have suffered but are more difficult to calculate, such as:

  • Enjoyment/Quality of life
  • Pain & suffering
  • Loss of consortium/companionship
No. There is no cap on either economic (out of pocket) or general damages in Washington State. However, Washington does not allow you to recover punitive damages.
The deadline to file a claim, also called the statute of limitations, is 3 years for most personal injury cases in Washington State. The clock starts ticking on the same day of your accident/injury.
The vast majority of cases get resolved through a settlement prior to trial. That said, there are some cases where trial is the only way to get the compensation you deserve.
It varies quite a lot. It can be a few months to a couple of years (and occasionally even longer in serious injury cases). To get the biggest settlement, we typically want to wait until treatment finished, and you have reached what is referred to as maximum medical improvement. It’s important to remember that you also have some say in how long your case will go on for, meaning that if a settlement offer is made, you can decide whether or not to accept it/
Yes. Nothing is more important than your health and physical recovery. It’s important to reach out to an attorney as well, but don’t feel like you must speak to an attorney before visiting the doctor. Just make sure to document everything about your medical visits and care.

It’s not uncommon for injury victims to be partially at fault for an accident. This does not mean you are completely responsible and you very well may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Washington State uses a “pure comparative negligence” calculation, where the amount of money you recover gets reduced by the percentage you are considered to be at fault. For example, Let’s say you recover $100,000 but are determined to be 25% at fault, your total recovery would then be $75,000.

If you have Personal Injury Protection, then you can recover economic damages for medical bills, etc. However ,you will not be able to recover any general/non-economic damages (such as pain & suffering).
Once the settlement is finalized, you can typically get a check within 30 days, but this is not a requirement under Washington law. There are a number of circumstances that could cause it to take longer.

Protect yourself with a car accident personal injury lawyer.

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I would highly recommend Mr Court for any criminal case consulting. His approach was thoroughly professional. he was a great listener and a good strategist. His approach was methodical and he didnt rush into any decisions. I changed my counsel just before my first court date and Mr Court did an excellent job. The case was finally dismissed in my favor. I would consider myself lucky but Mr court had some innovative ways to approach my case. It was such a pleasure to have Mr Court on my side. He was super responsive over texts and emails. He was punctual and very gentle in communication.
We never imagined we would be in the position to need a defense attorney, but when we did, we were so thankful that we found Court Will. Both he and Michelle are truly the best. Court is extremely dedicated, thoughtful, calm, and confident. He took time to get to know us, the case, and really ensured that we understood not only what was happening, but all possible outcomes. Court was honest, answered every question, took his time with us, gave excellent advice, and ultimately got the best possible outcome we could have hoped for. He is brilliant, and we are most grateful.
After some research & speaking with other attorneys, I came across Court. I instantly knew he was right for my situation. I met him shortly after we discuss some details on the phone. He was very pleasant & very understanding of this difficult time in my life. One of the hardest things I have ever gone through. Of course I hired him. As months passed, he reached out to me & gave me the best news/results I have ever heard. I know the work he did in the background & I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you Court!
Chris
A knowledgable and caring attorney who got me an amazing result I was charged with a felony sex crime. I had a previous attorney before hiring Mr. Will. The other attorney told me I needed to plead guilty or I would go to prison for 3 years. Due to a number of reasons, I didn't want to go to trial, and Mr. Will respected that. Mr. Will went to court for me more times than I can count, did some additional investigation and ultimately told me that I could plead guilty to a lesser offense and get probation and house arrest. I was amazed. I give Mr. Will my highest recommendation.
Mike

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