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Car accidents happen every day. A significant portion of car accidents result only in minor cosmetic damage to the cars involved, like chipped paint and bent fenders. But car accidents can be much more serious than this. When two or more cars collide, drivers and passengers can suffer serious injuries that can impact their lives permanently. In some cases, victims die on impact or in the hours, days, or weeks that follow an accident due to injuries sustained in the collision. In 2010, 458 people died in car accidents in Washington.
Although you can never completely eliminate your chance of being involved in a car accident, you can reduce your chance by taking steps to protect yourself and others on the road. You can also educate yourself about what to do if you are involved in a car accident and how to pursue compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. If your accident was due to another party’s negligence, whether that party was another driver, a pedestrian, the owner of the property where the accident occurred, or the manufacturer of one of the vehicles involved in the accident, you have the right to seek compensation from that party’s insurance provider.
Victims can suffer many different types of injuries in car accidents, both minor and severe. Some of these injuries can have complications that require the victim to undergo extensive medical treatment. Examples of injuries a car accident victim can suffer include:
Receiving prompt medical treatment is often key to keeping complications from arising, such as excessive bleeding following a cut.
In Washington, a car accident victim must file his or her personal injury claim with the negligent party’s insurance provider. He or she must do this within three years of the date of the accident.
Through a personal injury claim, a victim can seek compensation for the following damages:
His or her medical expenses;
His or her lost wages; and
His or her pain and suffering damages.
To recover damages, the victim must demonstrate the following:
The other party failed to uphold its duty to protect others from harm. In other words, the other party was negligent;
This negligence directly caused the accident to occur;
The victim suffered an injury as a direct result of the accident; and
Because of his or her injury, the victim suffered specific monetary damages.
This is done through the use of evidence to support the victim’s personal injury claim. Evidence used to support a personal injury claim can include photographic and video images of the accident, testimonies from witnesses to the accident, the official police report for the accident, and the victim’s medical bills and pay stubs.
In Washington, a car accident victim can receive compensation even if he or she was partially at fault for his or her accident. In cases where a victim is deemed to be partially at fault for an accident, his or her total compensation amount is reduced according to his or her level of fault. For example, if a victim seeks $100,000 in compensation but is deemed to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, he or she may only receive up to $80,000 in compensation.
You can reduce your likelihood of being injured in a car accident by engaging in safe driving practices. Always obey the posted traffic signs and signals. In addition to this, keep the following in mind to keep yourself and others safe:
If you are involved in a car accident, stop and if it is safe to do so, pull over to the side of the road. If anybody need emergency medical attention, call 911 to have emergency medical services dispatched to the scene.
Next, call the local police to have an officer sent to the scene of the accident. Work with the officer to fill out the official police report for your accident, which includes facts like the date, time, and location of the accident, the weather when the accident occurred, and whether any laws were broken, such as the posted speed limit. Do not leave the scene without a copy of the official police report and the officer’s contact information.
Exchange contact and insurance information with all other drivers involved in the accident. If there were witnesses to the accident, exchange contact information with them as well before leaving the scene. Do not leave without taking photographs that clearly show the vehicles involved in the accident, where the accident occurred and if possible, how one or more party was negligent.
After leaving the scene, your next step should be to seek medical attention for your injury. Do this even if you feel you were not injured badly – sometimes, a minor injury can become severe if it is left untreated.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to seek monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. After you have received appropriate medical attention for your injury, start working with an experienced personal injury lawyer to develop, file, and pursue your car accident claim. Contact our team at Khan Law Firm PLLC today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us. We are here to answer your questions and guide you through the process of pursuing compensation for your damages.