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Car Accidents

Seattle Hit and Run Accident Attorney

By | Car Accidents | No Comments

Traffic accidents are bad enough, but when someone leaves the scene of a traffic accident intentionally so that they don’t have to face the consequences, it can be downright maddening. Please know that if you have been in a hit and run accident, all is not lost. You might not have to absorb all the costs related to both your property damage and your physical injuries. The attorneys at the Khan Law Firm, PLLC can help you recover damages.

Criminal Penalties for Hit and Run Accidents in the State of Washington

The State of Washington divides penalties for hit-and-run accidents into three levels: misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony.

Hit-and-run accidents in which the car was parked or otherwise unattended are considered simple misdemeanors under Washington law. They are punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and up to 90 days in jail.

Hit-and-run accidents which involve one car hitting another driver are considered gross misdemeanors and are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine. If someone is injured, however, in the accident, the penalty escalates to a Class C felony. If someone is killed in the accident, it escalates to a Class B felony. Class C felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Class B felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Civil Penalties for a Hit and Run Accident in the State of Washington

Generally speaking, when a driver flees the scene of an accident, they are 100% at-fault for the accident. That means that, if they are caught, you and your attorney can seek compensatory injury damages. Plaintiffs in hit-and-run accidents can be compensated for any of the following from the at-fault driver directly or their insurance company:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Other expenses related to the accident,
  • Lost wages,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Loss of enjoyment,
  • Property damage and more.

In cases where there is permanent physical impairment or disfigurement, settlements can reach into the millions of dollars. In addition, punitive damages can be awarded in hit-and-run cases. But this depends on actually finding the at-fault driver.

Impediments to Collecting Damages in Hit-and-Run Accidents

There are some barriers to collecting damages in hit-and-run accidents. Most obvious is the fact that the driver needs to be caught (more on that later). Secondly, if the driver is caught, what happens if they don’t have auto insurance?

It’s true that many drivers do leave the scene of an accident specifically because they do not carry auto insurance. Other times they may be drunk and he does not want the police to know about it. The two major stumbling blocks to collecting damages are finding the driver and hoping they have an insurance policy or—failing that—enough assets to compensate you for your property damage and injuries.

Finding the Driver

While police will be looking for the driver themselves, you also might consider hiring a personal injury attorney to launch an investigation of your own. The police will talk to any witnesses they can find at the scene, and may put information up on social media in case there is anyone out there who witnessed the accident. In addition, they will access any surveillance footage they can find.

By hiring an attorney, you don’t necessarily guarantee that the driver will be found. However, you do get a guarantee that they will prioritize the investigation higher than the police might. Police are busy people and a hit-and-run accident may or may not top their list of investigations that day.

How Can I Help After a Hit-and-Run Accident?

The first thing you need to worry about is being seen to by a medical doctor. If you are able, photograph the scene of the accident as much as you can and call police. Debris left behind at the scene may provide evidence to find the driver.

What Happens if the Police Don’t Find the Driver?

The State of Washington requires all auto insurance companies doing business in the state to offer every driver uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). In the case of a hit-and-run accident where the driver could not be found, an injured motorist’s uninsured motorist coverage would be activated to cover the damages. If you were among those who elected not to pay for UM/UIM motorist coverage and the at-fault driver cannot be found, you have exhausted your options. You will foot the bill and take the economic hit on injuries, property damage, and lost wages. There is nothing left that you can do.

Making a Claim on a UM/UIM Policy

Despite what you may have been led to believe, you are not “in good hands” and your insurance company is not like “a good neighbor”. Neither of these accurately describe the relationship between you and the insurance company. The insurance company investigates every claim to the full extent that it can and while they cannot deny a claim in bad faith, they won’t offer you full compensation for your damages either.

When it comes to UM/UIM policies, you and the insurance company are adversaries, even though you pay them to protect you in certain situations, they have a vested financial interest in denying or reducing the value of your claim. This means that they will launch an investigation of their own to determine the extent of your injuries, the nature of the accident, and they will generally offer you a lowball figure for compensation that represents only a fraction of the value of your claim.

A Hit and Run Accident Attorney in Seattle Can Help

Whether it’s negotiating with the insurance company to honor the full value of your claim, launching a priority investigation to determine who the at-fault driver is, or suing that driver for their criminal negligence, the Seattle attorneys at the Khan Law Firm, PLLC have successfully recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. If you’ve been in a hit-and-run accident, give us a call to set up a no-obligation consultation.

Hit by a Car in Seattle

By | Car Accidents, Seattle | No Comments

Sometimes, car accidents involve pedestrians and bicyclists. In a collision and the moments afterward, it can feel like time is standing still – or it can feel like time is rushing past you faster than you can blink. In these moments, it can be difficult to know what to do. Although you can never plan to be hit by a car, you can prepare yourself for this scenario by learning what to do in the moments immediately following the impact.

A collision with a car can cause severe, often permanent, injuries. What you do in the moments, days, and weeks after you are hit by a car can determine how you recover from your injury and whether you can recover compensation for the expenses you face related to it through a personal injury claim. If you are hit by a car, take the following actions:

Do Not Leave the Scene

The only exception to this is if you suffer an injury that requires emergency medical attention. If this is the case, call 911 to have an ambulance sent to the scene. Your health and safety should always be your top priority.

If you are not in critical condition, remain at the scene of the collision and call local law enforcement to have an officer sent to the scene. If the driver who hit you does not stay at the scene, take a photograph of his or her vehicle or try to write down everything you noticed about the car, such as its license plate number, its color, and its make and model. If the collision occurred because the driver was somehow negligent, he or she is liable for your damages. For a driver, negligence can mean texting while driving, driving drunk, or disregarding the posted speed limit and other traffic rules.

Gather All the Evidence you Can

Take out your phone and snap as many pictures of the scene as you can. Get a photo of your injury as well as any images that accurately show how the collision occurred. Document the location of the accident and whether the driver also hit another victim, another vehicle, or a stationary object.

Take down the driver’s name and insurance information. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, wait until the police officer arrives and have him or her facilitate the exchange. You need to have the driver’s insurance information because this is the company with which you will file your personal injury claim. If any witnesses saw the collision occur, take down their contact information as well.

Do not leave the scene without the following:

  • A copy of the official accident report;
  • The driver’s insurance information;
  • Sufficient photographs to show what happened; and
  • Contact information for any witnesses who watched the collision happen.

Receive Medical Attention for your Injury

Even if you do not feel like you are injured, go to the doctor to have yourself examined within a few days of the accident. You could possibly have suffered an “invisible injury” like a traumatic brain injury. These injuries often have no physical symptoms and can go unnoticed when the victim does not receive appropriate medical care. It is also possible for an injury that seems minor initially to become much more severe if it is left untreated.

There is another important reason why you should seek medical attention as soon as you can: the strength of your personal injury claim. If you choose to file a personal injury claim, you will need to support it with sufficient evidence that shows how your injury occurred and the losses you experienced because of the injury. Documentation that shows you received medical attention shortly after the accident, testimony from your doctor regarding your injury and treatment, and copies of your medical bills are all important pieces of evidence to include with your personal injury claim.

Determine your Personal Injury Claim Plan

After you have received a diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your injury, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your grounds for filing a personal injury claim. You can recover compensation even if you were partially at fault for your accident, so do not shy away from contacting a lawyer to discuss your rights even if you were negligent in some way. Your lawyer will review all the evidence you have and determine if you have grounds for a personal injury claim. If so, he or she can work with you to gather and use additional evidence to support your claim, such as documentation of your lost wages and evidence to show the value of your pain and suffering damages.

Working with a lawyer will make the personal injury claim process easier for you. Your lawyer can ensure that your claim does not violate state laws or violate deadlines like the three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims.

Your lawyer can also negotiate with the driver’s insurance provider on your behalf. In Washington, negligent drivers are liable for all the damages related to the injuries they inflict. After you file a personal injury claim with the driver’s insurance provider, an insurance company representative will make a settlement offer. Your lawyer can determine whether this offer is sufficient to cover your expenses and if it is not, negotiate with the company to reach a more appropriate settlement amount. Your lawyer can also determine whether filing a personal injury lawsuit would be a productive course of action for your case.

Work with an Experienced Seattle Pedestrian Injury Attorney

Being hit by a car can drastically change your life. Among all the changes that come with your injury, a crippling financial burden should not be one. Contact our team of experienced car accident attorney in Seattle at Khan Law Firm PLLC today to set up your free case review in our office. During your case review, we can determine whether you have grounds for a personal injury claim and if so, start working with you to develop yours.

Seattle Rollover Car Accidents Attorney

By | Car Accidents, Seattle | No Comments

Car crashes are one of the most common causes of injury in the United States, and are an occurrence with which most people can relate. However, while parking lot collisions, minor fender benders, and even larger–but not severe–accidents may all be familiar to the majority of drivers, rollover accidents are not. Indeed, rollover collisions are rare, and when they do occur, the damages have the potential to be very severe.

At the offices of the Khan Law Firm PLLC, our experienced Seattle rollover car accident attorneys know how devastating being in a rollover collision can be, and the extent of losses you have incurred. When you hire our law firm, we will open a thorough investigation into your case to determine precisely why your accident happened, the extent of damages you have suffered, and your best options for recovering your maximum settlement amount.

The Deadly Nature of Rollover Car Accidents

According to SaferCar.gov, a website that is powered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollover car accidents are both rare and deadly. To be sure, these dangerous incidents have a much higher fatality rate than do other collision types – out of a total 9.1 million vehicle crashes that occurred over the course of a single year, only 2.1 percent involved a rollover.

However, while rollover collisions only characterized 2.1 percent of vehicle crashes, they accounted for 35 percent of all deaths from passenger vehicle collisions.

Why Rollover Accidents Are So Dangerous

It is easy to understand why rollover crashes might be so disastrous: a vehicle flipping over, potentially more than once, is bound to be catastrophic. While there are a variety of factors that lead to injuries for vehicle occupants during a rollover collisions–including things like broken glass, objects entering the window/windshield and penetrating or hitting occupants, traumatic brain injuries from the rolling/shaking, and crush injuries–the real risk to occupants is the risk of being thrown from the vehicle. In fact, 69 percent of the rollover crash victims that were killed (per the data cited above) were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of collision. Even if occupants are not ejected from the vehicle, the risk of injury within the vehicle increases dramatically when a seatbelt is not used.

Causes of Rollover Accidents

Contrary to popular belief, vehicle type is not the greatest predictor of whether or not a driver will be involved in a rollover crash. In fact, all vehicles can be involved in rollover collisions, and while vehicle type does play a role in the risk of a rollover, the things that have the most effect on rollover risk are driver behaviors and environmental factors. A list compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation suggests that the following factors contribute to the risk of rollovers:

  • Vehicle type. Taller vehicles, such as SUVs or large vans, are more at risk of being involved in a rollover collision due to their higher centers of gravity.
  • Location. Rollover accidents are more likely to occur in rural areas, most likely because rural roads are less likely to have barriers and be undivided.
  • Speed. The faster that a vehicle is traveling, the more likely it is to be involved in a rollover crash. In fact, the majority of fatal rollover crashes are speed-related. Speeding significantly impairs a motorist’s ability to maintain control over a vehicle.
  • Alcohol use. The use of alcohol increases the risk of all types of accidents, and rollover collisions are no exception. About 50 percent of all rollover collisions involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

In addition to the above, it is worth noting that the majority of rollover crashes occur when a driver is performing a routine driving maneuver, and that the vast majority of rollover crashes are single-vehicle collisions, which means that they occur independently of another vehicle.

In some cases, rollover collisions can be caused by the negligent actions of another driver. For example, a driver illegally changing lanes could result in another driving swerving suddenly to avoid a collision, thereby leading to a rollover crash. A rollover crash may also be contributed to by things such as a lack of proper signage warning of a sharp turn and advising drivers to slow speeds, or a lack of guardrails. Dangerous road conditions, such as debris on the road, may also increase the risk of a rollover.

Recovering Compensation for Damages Incurred in Your Rollover Crash

If you have been involved in a rollover collision, the chances that you have incurred damages are great, and property damage may be the least of it. Indeed, when injuries in a rollover accident are not fatal, they are often serious, and you may be coping with external or/and internal injuries, including bone fractures, a traumatic brain injury, soft tissue injuries, back and neck injuries, or even something as serious as an amputation or spinal cord injury. These injuries may be preventing you from doing the things you enjoy most in life, from working, or from even leading a normal and independent life where you don’t have to rely on assistance and care from others. You may also be facing lost wages, high medical expenses, and other economic losses.

If you have been involved in a rollover crash in Seattle, determining fault for the incident is key to recovering compensation. In Washington, all at-fault parties come into play when determining the cause of an accident and liability for the crash. At the Khan Law Firm PLLC, we will look into all potentially liable parties, ranging from a government agency tasked with road maintenance to another negligent driver to the manufacturer of a vehicle defect and more. We determine the precise cause of your accident in order to effectively recover the settlement you deserve.

Call Our Car Rollover Accident Attorneys in Seattle Today

If you are involved in a rollover collision and are worried about your future and what happens next, contact our talented Seattle rollover car accident attorneys today for a free consultation about your options, and how our legal team can help. We have experience recovering large settlements on the behalf of our clients.