Sumner, Washington Car Accident Lawyer
Statistics on car accidents in the US are disturbing, but the figures hit even more close to home when you realize that they’re quite frequent in Sumner, WA. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that there’s an average of 62 fatalities and 260 victims injured in Pierce County, WA every year. If you or a member of your family was involved in one, you’re probably already experiencing some of the consequences. However, your losses could extend even beyond the physical pain, affecting you financially and emotionally.
Fortunately, Washington State laws provide you with rights, including options to recover compensation from the responsible driver. You can count on our team at Khan Injury Law, PLLC to advise you on your remedies and guide you through the legal process. We have decades of combined experience advocating on behalf of motor vehicle crash victims. Please contact our office to set up a no-cost appointment with a Sumner, Washington car accident lawyer today. You can also read on to learn more about these claims.
Overview of Washington Car Accident Cases
When you’re seeking compensation for your losses after an auto collision, your claim is based upon the legal liability theory of negligence. The concept of negligence refers to careless actions, but it has a specific definition in the legal field, which is based upon four sets of facts. To recover monetary damages, you must prove:
- The responsible driver had a duty to operate the vehicle in a reasonably safe manner, so as to not create a risk of harm to others;
- That person failed to comply with this legal duty by engaging in dangerous, risky conduct;
- The breach of duty was a direct cause of the crash in which you were hurt; and,
- You suffered losses related to your injuries.
The best way to show how these elements work is description through real-life examples. A motorist may be negligent in causing a collision if he or she:
- Was speeding in excess of the posted limit;
- Improperly changed lanes;
- Failed to yield to other vehicles;
- Drove while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Was fatigued while driving; or,
- Engaged in distracted driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, posting on social media, taking pictures, adjusting the radio, or other risky activities.
How Auto Crash Victims Recover Compensation
All motorists in Washington State are required to carry auto insurance to protect victims in the event of a crash, so filing an insurance claim is your first step in recovering monetary damages. You’ll be required to fill out some forms and supply documentation to support your claim. However, despite the strength of your paperwork, the response from the insurer may be disappointing. There may be a low-ball counteroffer, or the company may reject your claim entirely.
If the insurance company is not willing to negotiate a reasonable settlement arrangement, you may need to take your claim to court. Having an attorney to represent you is critical, since litigation requires:
- High-level knowledge of the relevant statutes;
- A firm grasp on the legal concepts that apply to your case;
- Experience in the courtroom; and,
- Other trial advocacy skills.
Types of Monetary Damages in Car Collision Claims
Whether through a settlement with the insurance company or in court, you could be entitled to different types of compensation for your losses as the victim of an auto crash. Your monetary damages may include:
- The costs of medical care, such as emergency care, surgery, outpatient procedures, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and related treatment;
- Lost wages, if your injuries prevent you from working or limit you in terms of job-related tasks;
- Pain and suffering;
- Losses based upon how your injuries affect your personal relationships with your spouse, children, and other loved ones;
- Quality of life losses; and,
- Many others, depending on the details of your case.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you also have rights related to how this tragedy affects your life. Washington State allows certain family members to recover compensation through a wrongful death action. As a survivor, you could seek damages for funeral costs and expenses for the decedent’s last medical treatment. It’s also possible to obtain amounts related to how the death affects you, such as loss of guidance, education, financial support, and more.
Legal Issues That May Limit Your Rights
There are two key laws you should note in terms of how they may adversely affect your claim. The first is Washington State’s statute of limitations. The law provides you with three years to file a lawsuit in court, starting from the date of the car accident. Failure to do so means you cannot recover any compensation for your losses, since the opposing party can raise the statute of limitations as a defense. The clock continues to run throughout the time you may be negotiating a settlement with the insurance company, so it’s best to take quick action.
In addition, the rule of contributory negligence applies to all motor vehicle crashes in Washington State. This law focuses on your own conduct and how it may have been a factor in causing the collision. If you were to blame in any way, your compensation will be reduced according to the proportion of fault attributable to you. Monetary damages in the amount of $10,000 could go to $7,000 when you were 30 percent responsible for the crash. There are strategies for contesting claims of contributory negligence, but you’ll need an attorney’s help.
Trust a Sumner, Washington Car Accident Attorney to Protect Your Interests
If you were hurt or lost a family member in an auto crash, you need experienced representation on your side. Our lawyers at Khan Injury Law, PLLC can handle the legal challenges in dealing with an insurance company and the litigation process, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Please contact us today to discuss your circumstances with a member of our team. You can schedule your free consultation by calling 206.472.1255 or visiting us online.