Seattle Car Accident Lawyer
ATTORNEYS WHO CAN ADDRESS YOUR CAR ACCIDENT CONCERNS
A car accident can leave you with severe injuries, many questions, and fears regarding your future. You may not know what to do after your accident, whether you will ever be able to work again, or how your medical bills are going to get paid. You may even require costly long-term care for your injuries. At Elk & Elk, our Seattle car accident lawyers have the answers to some of your most pressing questions. If you or a loved one sustained debilitating injuries in a Seattle car accident, contact us as soon as you’re able. With decades of combined experience helping injured people just like you, our attorneys know what to do to help you get back on your feet again.
Elk & Elk Is Ready to Handle Your Seattle Car Accident Case
Our Seattle offices are popular choices for all types of automobile accidents in the greater Seattle area. Clients come to Elk & Elk because they trust in our work ethic, history, and ability to defend your rights in a court of law.
- Elk & Elk has secured a number of multi-million dollar sums of compensation for our clients, including a combined total of over $1 billion.
- We are committed to transparent communication, affording our clients the treatment they deserve following a serious accident on the road.
- Our lawyers utilize our network of professionals across a variety of different disciplines to thoroughly investigate your case and establish liability. They will also be able to help us establish a fair amount of compensation that you should expect in a fair settlement.
Car Accident Resources
- Proving Fault After a Car Accident
- Compensation Available After a Car Crash
- Car Accident Statistics
- Free Consultation: Contact Our Seattle Office Today
Why Victims of Car Accidents in Washington State Need a Skilled Attorney
Attorneys will fight for your rights throughout the legal process. Personal injury law is a difficult space to navigate, especially without the proper knowledge, training, and experience required to file a claim or defend oneself in court. Your auto and car accident lawyer will be working around the clock to ensure your rights are protected as you seek compensation for your damages.
- Your Seattle personal injury attorney will gather all of the required evidence from your car accident needed to move forward with the claims procedure. They will ensure that you have sufficient evidence for a successful claim.
- They will assess the extent of your damages and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.
- If an insurance company does not agree to a fair amount of compensation that you are entitled to as an injured victim, your lawyer will represent you in court and do everything in their power to fight for your rights.
Who is at Fault for a Car Accident?
Determining who is at fault for your car accident comes down to a law called negligence. In Washington, comparative fault means that anyone involved in the incident can be found partially at fault. If the victim is determined to be a certain percentage at fault, that percentage will be reflected in their compensation.
How is Negligence Determined?
In Washington state, there are five factors that are required to determine whether there was negligence:
- Duty: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty. This means that the defendant was clearly expected to act a certain way in the situation.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant did not fulfill their duty as defined above.
- Cause in Fact: This breach of duty resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. It needs to be determined that the injuries would not have occurred without the defendant’s alleged negligence.
- Proximate Cause: The defendant should have known that an injury would occur based on their actions.
- Damages: The plaintiff did indeed suffer a personal injury.
Your insurance company may not come to a conclusion you agree with, which is where your car accident attorney comes into play. A good law firm will fight for accident victims and make sure they get the compensation they deserve.
Securing Maximum Compensation After a Car Accident In Washington
The causes of accidents on Washington roadways are often a result of driver error. Unfortunately, the actions of drivers who choose to disobey the rules of the road never affect just them. You or your loved one should not have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s carelessness. With our help, you can get the justice you and your family deserve.
We handle cases involving:
- Fatal car wrecks
- Distracted driving
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck collisions
- Bus crashes
- Injured pedestrians
- Bicycle incidents
Regardless of the type of case, we will work hard to obtain maximum compensation for you or your family member. We do this by consulting with medical, engineering, and safety experts. We will also speak with road safety professionals and investigate road maintenance records to make sure that we have all the details. Let our law group help you build a strong foundation for your claim today.
What Kinds Of Compensation Are Available After A Fatal Car Accident?
Clients who work with our attorneys after the death of a loved one in a fatal car accident usually file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for loss of companionship, loss of the deceased’s contributions to the family income, loss of services such as yard work or child care, the family’s pain and suffering, and medical and funeral expenses. Unlike some other states, Washington does not allow for punitive damages — damages that punish the negligent party.
What Are Common Causes Of Fatal Car Accidents?
A fatal accident can happen in many ways. First, any type of motor vehicle accident that causes injury could also cause death. Common causes include other drivers who are speeding or violating other traffic laws, driving vehicles with defective components, driving under the influence or driving while distracted. Accidents involving semi trucks and smaller vehicles such as cars are often fatal because of the sheer size and weight of the truck. Road conditions and inexperienced drivers are often factors in fatal accidents.
What We Do To Obtain Maximum Compensation After A Fatal Vehicle Accident
Our lawyers will consult with safety experts, highway engineers and medical specialists. We will review police reports, interview witnesses and investigate the record of the other driver. We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to obtain just compensation for your terrible loss.
Types of Car Accidents
When it comes to car accidents, there are a number of types. Cars can collide in a variety of ways and the injuries sustained will differ for each.
- Head-On: Two cars colliding front to front is referred to as a head on collision. For example, if a car is accidentally driving the wrong way down a road, it could hit another car head on. This can happen on a slow one-way road or on a dangerous highway.
- Rollover: A rollover is when a car ends up on its side or completely upside down, often happening to vans, SUVs, or trucks. Vehicles can flip due to a variety of stimuli, and it can be extremely dangerous. Wearing a seat belt can be the difference between life and death during a motor vehicle rollover.
- T-bone: A T-bone collision happens when one car collides perpendicularly with another car, making a “T” shape. This can obviously be an extremely dangerous crash, especially if the collision happened on the driver’s side.
- Rear End: When one car hits another from behind, it’s called a rear end collision. If this happens at a low speed, it’s often called a “fender bender” and is not necessarily dangerous. When it happens at high speed, however, serious injuries can be sustained.
- Sideswipe: A side swipe in a parking lot may be a minor inconvenience, but at fast speeds it can be dangerous. A driver may not see another car in its blind spot and start changing lanes, and in this case a side swipe could send the other car spinning.
- Side Impact: Somewhere between a side swipe and T-bone, a side impact collision happens when the front of one car hits the side of another. This can happen when one car is turning and another car continues driving straight, for example.
- Single Car: A car accident doesn’t always involve more than one car. The victim’s car could have collided with a pole, median, or tree – and it doesn’t necessarily mean they are at fault. The victim could have swerved to stop from hitting a negligent pedestrian or animal.
- Multi Car: It’s pretty obvious that the more cars involved in an accident, the worse it is. Three or more cars colliding often leads to more injuries, more damage, and potentially a fatal pileup.
No matter the type of car accident, if you sustained a personal injury or lost a loved one, it’s time to speak with a car accident lawyer.
Most Common Injuries of a Seattle Car Accident
While there is a wide range of injuries that one must be aware of when considering the consequences of a car accident, there are a number that are more common than the rest:
- Whiplash. After getting struck by a car, people are often jerked around in a forceful manner. This issue is particularly prevalent with the neck, one of the most critical parts of the human body. When experiencing whiplash in the neck, long-term issues with movement and pain can arise, placing increased pressure and stress on the neck.
- Breaking of bones. With the deployment of an airbag or bending of a car’s body, people often experience broken or fractured bones. This can happen virtually anywhere on the body and must be met with immediate medical attention.
- Injuries to tissues, muscles, and tendons. Muscles and soft tissue are very important to the function of the human body. When connecting tissue and tendons are broken off between two areas of the body, someone may be no longer able to use that area of their body. These types of injuries can be anywhere from minor or life-threatening.
- Concussions. Concussions are similar to whiplash, in the sense that the sudden jerking of the car causes strain on the upper extremities of the body. When someone’s head is hit hard enough that their brain collides with the inside of their skull, they are considered to have sustained a concussion. Concussions can also be life-threatening, causing bleeding inside of the head.
- Emotional damages. Oftentimes, overlooked but equally as important, the jeopardization of someone’s emotional health can have terrible consequences after an accident. Many people walk away from car accidents with exorbitant amounts of distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other emotional or psychological conditions.
- Internal bleeding. When someone’s organs or tissue is heavily impacted, it may cause a rupture and bleeding. Sustaining an internal bleeding injury can lead to organ failure, seizures, coma, or death.
What Evidence Should I Collect After a Car Accident?
Evidence collection in the aftermath of a car accident is crucial when it comes to determining liability for the incident. In some cases, individuals are able to gather evidence at the scene of the incident, but that is not always possible. If the incident is particularly severe, if the scene is dangerous, or if you have to seek medical care, gathering evidence is not the priority. However, some of the main types of evidence gathered right away at the scene can include:
- Photographs taken of vehicle damage, injuries, traffic and weather patterns, debris, skid marks, and more.
- The names and contact information of any eyewitnesses, including bystanders or those inside other vehicles in the vicinity.
- Any information taken down and put on the police report, and the report will be gathered at a later date.
In the days and weeks that follow a car accident in Seattle, it may be necessary to gather additional types of evidence. This can include video surveillance footage from cameras near where the incident occurred, vehicle “black box” data, mobile device data, and more. The types of evidence gathered for each particular case will vary depending on the circumstances of the incident.
Washington State Auto Insurance Laws
Every driver in the state of Washington is required by law to carry a certain type and minimum limit of insurance. Currently, the law requires that drivers carry the following:
- Bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability coverage of $10,000
It is important to note that state law does not require individuals to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection is not necessary. However, we strongly encourage all drivers to carry these types of insurance, as they are incredibly beneficial for circumstances where hit and run incidents occur or incidents where another driver’s insurance limits are not sufficient enough to cover your expenses.
If you lease your vehicle, you will be required to carry comprehensive and collision coverage by the leaseholder.
What If The Driver Was Uninsured?
Data available from the Insurance Information Institute indicates that approximately 22% of all drivers in Washington are uninsured. This places Washington amongst the leading states for uninsured drivers across the country.
If you are struck by an uninsured driver, the incident needs to proceed forward like any other car accident. You need to call 911 and let the police conduct an investigation. Do not leave the scene of the accident if the other driver does not have insurance. You need to get as much information as possible, including taking pictures of everything that you see (injuries, vehicle damage, license plate numbers, debris in skid marks, etc.).
There are a few ways to recover compensation if you are injured or sustained property damage caused by an uninsured driver. First, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance carrier. Additionally, if you have collision or personal injury protection coverage as part of your policy, this can help pay for damage to your vehicle as well as any necessary medical bills you may incur.
It may also be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, but the reality is that most uninsured drivers will not have the personal assets available to pay any judgment against them.
The Current State of Car Accidents in Our Community
Unfortunately, automobile accident s are quite common in King County and the state of Washington. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) numbers surrounding car accidents show the unfortunate truth of roadway accidents in our communities.
- In 2019, King County, Washington had a total of 34,845 car accidents. Out of only the reported crashes, there were on average 94 crashes per day.
- While 11,145 of these car accidents had at least one injury sustained by an operator, passenger, or pedestrian, 105 of the accidents saw at least one fatality.
- The large majority of these accidents happened in the Seattle city limits, though there was still a significant amount occurring in the suburbs and surrounding areas.
The car accident statistics of Washington state as a whole are additionally quite concerning. Data indicates a worsening situation that has peaked in the last one to two years.
- The number of car accidents involving a fatality statewide rose steadily from 2012-2017, peaking at 532 fatal car accidents.
- The second most deadly year of Washington state roadways was 2020, with 525 fatal car accidents even amidst statewide shutdowns following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Suspected serious injuries in the state also hit an all-time high in 2020, exceeding 2,000 for the first time.
- Considering the current figures of serious personal injury in the state, Washington is estimated to see over 2,300 in 2021.
The Biggest Threats on Seattle Roads
While the general car accident statistics have indicated a worsening situation in the state of Washington, other factors of automobile accidents have led experts at WSDOT to hone in on certain problems facing the Washington community.
- In King County alone, 2,035 accidents involved drunk driving by at least one vehicle operator in 2019. 11 of the crashes turned fatal, while 805 of them resulted in an injury of any kind.
- In the same year, there was a 33% chance that someone involved in a distracted driving incident would sustain an injury or death as a result of the crash.
- There were 129 serious personal injuries or fatal accidents involving speeding in King County in 2019.
While these are just some of the risks posed to road-goers in the greater Seattle area, there is a special air of caution needed for pedestrians or operators of other types of vehicles. Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians must maintain an even greater amount of vigilance when going out on the road. These types of travelers are more likely to sustain serious injuries than other people in closed-cabin vehicles. Additionally, it is worth noting the risk of trucks, buses, and trains as collisions with these types of vehicles can become incredibly severe due to their size.
More Information: [Study] The Deadliest Highways in the United States
How Will the Car Accident Affect Your Future?
In a Seattle motor vehicle case, determining how the accident happened and who caused the crash is only part of the story. It’s also important to estimate how the accident has affected your life and your family. Factors such as ongoing treatment or at-home care may come into consideration. We use this information to assess the full cost of the injuries, allowing us to pursue more accurate compensation for you or your loved one.
Washington State Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations describes how long someone has to file a claim or lawsuit surrounding a personal injury that they have sustained. This time limit varies by state and type of injury, meaning Washington state has its own rules about how long you are able to wait after experiencing an injury from an automobile accident. According to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 4.16.080, someone is able to file a claim for their injuries following a car accident up to three years following the incident. While this may seem like a long period, the time spent recovering from a personal injury can be quite time-consuming. It is important to note that contacting a car accident attorney as soon as possible will give them the time to build a solid, successful case for you or your loved one.
Concerned About Costs? Not at Elk & Elk
Elk & Elk is committed to the success of our cases. We hold our clients’ satisfaction at the forefront of our values, constructing our policies around injured individuals. We operate on a contingency fee basis for all of our clients. When you contact us, we will invite you to join us for a free consultation of your case so that you understand exactly where your legal standing is. Additionally, you will not have to pay anything upfront or out-of-pocket until we put compensation money in your pocket. Elk & Elk does this to ensure that our clients are not further financially burdened.
Free Consultation: Contact Our Seattle Office Today
Contact our Seattle office to learn more about how we can help you recover damages after a serious car accident. Call 1-844-ELK-WEST (1-844-355-9378) or complete our online form to schedule your free consultation with a Seattle car accident lawyer at our law group today.