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BONNEY LAKE, WASHINGTON CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER

Even if you’re generally aware of the high number of car accidents in Bonney Lake, WA you might be surprised to learn that auto collisions are more common than you think. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, an average of 62 lose their lives and another 260 people are injured in crashes in Pierce County, WA every year. These victims and their families suffer considerable losses, but monetary damages are available as compensation. However, you put your rights at risk if you try to handle the legal process on your own.

You have a better chance of recovering the compensation you deserve by law when you have an experienced attorney at your side in a motor vehicle crash case. Our team at Khan Law Firm, PLLC have the experience and knowledge necessary to fight for your rights, so please contact our office to set up a complimentary consultation with a Bonney Lake, Washington car accident lawyer. A summary of the relevant laws and legal concepts may also be informative.

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Common Causes of Auto Collisions

There are countless factors that lead to motor vehicle crashes, many of which could be prevented through attentive, cautious driving. However, certain types of car accidents happen frequently, such as when a motorist:

  • Speeds in excess of the posted limit;
  • Travels at a speed that’s too fast for weather and other conditions;
  • Fails to yield to other vehicles;
  • Drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or,
  • Engages in improper lane changes.

Plus, distracted driving has become a severe problem as a factor in car accidents. Most people associate this risky conduct with cell phone use, such as texting, talking, taking photos, going on social media, and other activities. Many activities involving electronic devices are illegal under Washington law, but some motorists still violate the restrictions. Plus, there are many other types of conduct that are equally dangerous because they distract a driver from safe operation of the vehicle. Examples include:

  • Eating or drinking;
  • Grooming and putting on makeup;
  • Adjusting the sound system;
  • Navigating through use of a GPS;
  • Talking with other vehicle occupants; and,
  • Many other activities that take attention away from driving.

Liability in Washington Car Accident Claims

Regardless of the specifics, most auto collisions occur because the other driver was negligent in the ways described above. In legal terminology, this concept is called negligence and you must prove four sets of facts to recover compensation, including:

  1. The responsible motorist had a duty to drive carefully and not cause a risk of harm to others;
  2. That person breached this legal duty by failing to exercise reasonable caution behind the wheel;
  3. The breach of duty was a direct cause of the accident in which you were injured; and,
  4. You sustained losses as a result of getting hurt.

In most auto collision cases, your first step to obtaining compensation will be filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. You may encounter resistance in getting the monetary damages you deserve, since insurers are businesses that seek to protect their bottom line. Paying out your claim is a threat to profits. A claims adjuster will be motivated to deny your claim or counteroffer a low amount that doesn’t cover your losses. In such a situation, you may need to file a lawsuit in court to recover fair, reasonable compensation.

OTHER PRACTICE AREAS

CAR ACCIDENTS

BICYCLE ACCIDENTS

BRAIN INJURIES

BUS ACCIDENTS

TRUCK ACCIDENTS

DRUNK DRIVING INJURIES

MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

DOG BITES

WRONGFUL DEATH

You May Be Entitled to Recover Compensation

Regardless of whether you’re dealing with an insurance company or litigating your car accident case, you’ll usually be seeking monetary damages that fall in two different categories. You may be able to recover compensation for:

  1. Economic Damages: This category covers losses that are financial in nature, and are usually reflected through documentation. Your medical bills and lost wages are economic damages, which you’d prove through bills, invoices, paystubs, and income tax records.
  2. Non-Economic Damages: These are the losses you sustain that aren’t recorded in documentation, since they’re very subjective and personal.  You can’t quantify the immeasurable ways your injuries affect your life, but there are ways to prove:
    • Pain and suffering;
    • Emotional distress;
    • Scarring and disfigurement;
    • Diminished quality of life;
    • Losses based upon on how your injuries impact your personal relationships; and,
    • Many other losses depending on your unique situation.

In some auto collision cases, you may also be able to seek punitive damages. As the term suggests, these amounts are intended as punishment for someone who engaged in extremely reckless, outrageous conduct while driving. You could recover additional monetary damages if the other driver was drunk, drag racing, driving erratically, or otherwise demonstrating a disregard for the lives and safety of others.

Legal Limitations on Motor Vehicle Crash Cases

You may be successful in proving the four essential elements mentioned above, but there are two key laws in Washington State that may affect your rights. 

  1. There’s a statute of limitations for all personal injury cases, including car accidents. You have three years to file your lawsuit in court, starting from the date of the crash. If you don’t, you lose your right to recover compensation. The opposing side can use the statute of limitations as a defense to the allegations.
  2. Washington State has a law regarding contributory negligence, which applies to all auto crash claims. If you were at fault in any way in causing the accident, you could forfeit some of your compensation. You don’t lose all of your monetary damages, but your compensation will be reduced by the amount of blame attributable to you. For instance, you could lose $2,000 if you were 20 percent at fault in an accident where you were awarded $10,000.

Discuss Your Rights with a Bonney Lake, Washington Car Accident Attorney

Though this information about auto collision claims may be helpful, it’s no substitute for the skilled representation that an experienced lawyer can offer. If you have additional questions about your rights, please contact Khan Law Firm, PLLC. You can call 206.472.1255 to schedule a free case evaluation, where we can evaluate your circumstances and determine the best strategy for proceeding.

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