Get The Help You Need After A Car Accident
Being injured in an auto accident can be traumatizing, and many people take months, years or even their whole lives to deal with the repercussions. It is important to remember that no matter how difficult the situation, there are ways to set things right. Accident survivors can find ways to cope physically, emotionally and financially by filing an injury claim or pursuing a lawsuit to hold whoever injured them responsible. While not every crash calls for legal action, it helps to know your rights and options to make the best decision for your specific situation.
For over four decades, the law firm of Pendergast Law has been providing representation for Seattle car accident victims. We will work diligently on your behalf, seeking the justice you deserve. We understand that no amount of money can cover the pain of losing a loved one or having to adjust to a lifelong disability, but we can help. We want to guide you and your family through the complex legal process of filing your claim, fighting your case and receiving the restitution you are owed so you can focus on healing and rebuilding your life. If you or someone you love was injured by a negligent driver, call us toll-free at 888-539-9211 to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable Seattle car accident lawyer.
A friend of mine recommended I go to Pendergast Law after I was in a bad car accident. He was right! I couldn’t be happier with the results. The staff is very knowledgeable about every aspect of a personal injury case…
– Brent D. from Google
What Are Common Collision Locations In Washington?
Like any major city in the United States, Seattle is home to its own unique dangers. There are reckless drivers throughout King County, and we receive numerous tourists and visitors every year who don’t know how to handle themselves on our roads. Along with careless drivers, our city also has its own hot spots for auto accidents, including:
- Construction zones: Travel any stretch of street in Seattle and you’re bound to run into some type of road construction. From bridge repairs to pothole filling, the Washington State Department of Transportation stays busy year-round maintaining and repairing damage to the state’s roads. Throughout these many work zones, you’ll find posted speed limits that bring traffic to a crawl to keep workers safe. Drivers who speed through roadside construction sites aren’t only breaking the law – they are putting lives, including their own, at risk. Should they crash, people who are injured have the right to take action against the at-fault party.
- Freeways and highways: The Washington freeway system makes it significantly easier for drivers to travel throughout the state. Unfortunately, the widespread use of highways by thousands of drivers means that one moment of carelessness can lead to major vehicle pileups, catastrophic injuries and untimely deaths.
- Intersections: Whenever you make a right or left turn, drivers must always be on the lookout for other cars and pedestrians. When motorists speed through intersections or don’t pay attention to cars turning into their lane, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Types Of Driver Negligence In Seattle Accidents
In spite of the dangerous conditions throughout Seattle, drivers should always obey the rules of the road. Roads may be covered with bright, colorful signs meant to warn drivers that they are entering construction zones or areas with slippery ice or other potential dangers. Sadly, despite the signs, many drivers choose to ignore these warnings. Additionally, if they’re not paying close enough attention, they could easily run a red light or do something else that puts themselves and other drivers at risk.
Some of the common causes of car accidents include:
- Texting instead of paying attention to the road
- Speeding through construction zones, intersections or any other area; drivers may hope to avoid red lights, signs or any other warnings that would slow them down
- Making unsafe lane changes and failing to check rear-view or side mirrors
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of other drugs
If a driver is careless and causes a collision, you are well within your rights to file an auto accident claim with their insurance company. However, what should be a simple process can be incredibly complex after an accident. Insurance companies may ignore your calls, give you the runaround or prove incredibly dismissive about your claim. That is why you should always speak to an attorney after an accident to discuss all your options.
Washington Car Accident Case Results
- A $2.125 million recovery for a fractured neck and closed head injury in a motor vehicle accident in Kent, Washington
- A $1.2 million recovery for a woman who suffered a crushed heal and fractured ankle in a motor vehicle accident in Snohomish County, Washington
- A $1.1 million recovery for a man who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle accident in North Bend, Washington
- An $825,000 recovery in a wrongful death claim for a woman killed when a tire came off a boat trailer in Wenatchee, Washington
- A $750,000 recovery for a woman who suffered a fractured pelvis in a motor vehicle accident in Kirkland, Washington
What About A Single-Vehicle Crash?
If you were in a single-vehicle crash, you might falsely assume that you don’t have any options for securing the money you need to put your life back together. The authorities and even insurance providers are likely to assume that the crash was your fault, but, at Pendergast Law, we understand that there are numerous reasons you could have ended up in an accident. We have a wide network of resources to draw on to get to the bottom of what caused the crash. Through an investigation, specialist reviews and accident reconstruction, we can build a solid foundation for your claim. Some causes of single-vehicle crashes include:
- Dangerous roads: The poor conditions of the pavement, lack of lighting, broken traffic signs and signals, or faulty road designs can cause even the most experienced driver to crash.
- Negligent drivers: Careless or aggressive motorists can force others off the road by swerving, sideswiping or making other erratic maneuvers.
- Defective auto parts: Faulty tires, defective brakes or damaged fuel lines can make driving any vehicle dangerous.
Even if your injuries were caused by a government agency or faulty auto part, we at Pendergast Law can guide you through the process of filing a claim for compensation. We understand every aspect of personal injury law and have represented clients in a variety of cases.
Standing Up To Insurance Companies After Seattle Car Accidents
Most accident victims believe that so long as the other driver has insurance, they will have an easy time getting compensation. Unfortunately, this is not true. The primary goal of insurance companies is to make money, and that can sometimes conflict with your best interests. If you choose to file a claim without an attorney, it’s very likely that you will be offered a lowball settlement. Insurance companies may also deny a valid claim, so you must be ready with the appropriate evidence and materials to prevent this from happening.
Doing all this after being seriously injured is next to impossible. In many cases, accident victims will accept a lowball offer just to cover their immediate bills and worry about their long-term costs later. This is a major mistake. Instead, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Insurance companies almost always offer more money when an accident victim lets their lawyer negotiate, and the team at Pendergast Law is well-versed in getting clients the money they need to recover.
What Should You Do After An Accident?
If you have recently been in an auto accident or are about to file a claim, it is important to follow these steps to ensure that you receive the most money in compensation:
- See a doctor: If you have not seen a doctor, schedule an appointment or visit an emergency room as soon as possible. While you may feel fine, many injuries can rise up in the days after an accident as shock and adrenaline wear off. By seeing a doctor immediately after an accident, you can quickly get on the path to recovery.
- Report your accident to the police: If you have not already done so, report the accident to the Seattle Police Department or Washington State Patrol. A police report will prove incredibly useful when it comes time to file a claim, and failing to file one can result in certain legal complications, such as when the situation involves hit-and-run charges. After an accident, even if you and the other driver agreed that the accident was minor, you can file a report online afterward.
- Don’t speak to an insurance adjuster alone: In the weeks after the accident, you may decide to reach out to the other driver’s insurance company to discuss a claim or you might start receiving calls from the company. While its adjuster may seem concerned for your well-being, you should never speak to anyone from an insurance company without an attorney present. Insurance companies have their own teams of adjusters, investigators and lawyers who will use any statement you make against you to minimize the amount of money they pay you.
- Call an attorney: Instead of calling the other driver’s insurance company, call an attorney at Pendergast Law first. We offer free consultations and can explain how to go about filing a successful claim. If you hire us to represent you, we will not accept a single dollar until we have won your case. We will handle all the legal legwork so that you can focus on recovering.
- Keep getting treatment: In addition, keep seeing your doctor for any ongoing treatment, including surgeries, physical therapy and other treatments. Missing or skipping an appointment can be used against you by the other driver’s insurance company to argue that your injuries are minor and you exaggerated them.
- Avoid social media: Many accident victims are tempted to share details about their cases on social media, but this is a huge mistake. Insurance companies will often hire investigators to dig into a victim’s social life via their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, among others. They do this to uncover evidence that a victim is exaggerating injuries, often by taking photos or posts out of context. Your best option is to set your account to “private” and stay offline until your case is resolved.
Following these steps and trusting your attorney can improve your chances of receiving proper compensation for your injuries. Remember, insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and they are only concerned about their bottom lines. You cannot trust them to be charitable after an accident.
For nearly 30 years, Pendergast Law car accident attorneys have been helping victims recover damages as a result of auto accidents. Call toll-free at 888-539-9211 today for your free consultation.
What Costs Can You Recover In A Car Accident Claim?
The amount of compensation you can receive will vary depending on several factors, including the costs of your injuries and recovery, how much fault is assigned to you and what insurance policies you can file a claim against. However, in most Seattle auto accident claims, you can receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses: Keep a record of all medical expenses related to your collision, which can include more than just the initial visit to a doctor or hospital. Bills, invoices and receipts should all be safely filed away, especially if they pertain to medication, procedures, therapy or rehabilitation you received for your injuries.
- Loss of wages: Being unable to return to work after a car accident is common, especially if your injuries are severe or require therapy and rehabilitation. By reviewing old pay stubs and tax returns, your attorney can include these losses in your claim. You can also seek compensation for the tuition you might have lost after missing classes due to the accident.
- Property loss: Whether your car is totaled or only has minor damage, you may be compensated for the cost of repairing any damage. This can include repairs to your vehicle, the cost of a rental vehicle or the purchase of a replacement if your car was considered a total loss.
- Emotional distress: A wreck can damage more than just the body. It can be a terrifying and uncontrollable situation, and it can have an impact on your emotional state. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result from a vehicle collision, especially if a loved one is injured. If you require counseling or medication, make sure to include those bills in your claim.
- Long-term care: If a serious injury prevents you from working, any necessary physical rehabilitation or long-term care should also be factored into your compensation.
At Pendergast Law, we have the experience to advocate for all these damages in your case, where applicable. However, you should be aware that if your case goes to trial, the amount of compensation you can receive will depend on how much fault is assigned to you. Washington is a “pure comparative fault” state, which means that injured victims may have the total value of their cases reduced if a jury places any amount of fault on them. You can still receive compensation if you are assigned 99% of the blame for the crash, but that will mean that you can only receive 1% of your case’s total value. We are experienced in both settlement negotiations and personal injury trials, so you can trust that we will work to get you the maximum amount of money available for your injuries.
The other matter that determines how much compensation you can receive is what insurance policies you can file against. Most drivers in Seattle have the minimum amount of liability coverage, which means that you can recover at least $25,000 for your injuries and $10,000 for any damage to your vehicle. If you had a passenger in your vehicle, the total value of your injuries can increase to $50,000. In addition to filing a claim against a negligent driver’s insurance policy, you can also file a claim against your own insurance company. Many insurance companies offer underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). If your claim with the at-fault driver caps out at $25,000 for your injuries but you still have additional costs left over, you can file a UIM claim with your insurance company to recover the difference. This will be limited by your own policy’s cap, but most UIM policies match a minimum liability policy. With both a claim against the at-fault driver and a UIM claim, you may be able to recover up to $50,000 for your injuries.
Filing both an auto accident claim and a UIM claim can be a difficult process. In both situations, you will have to go head-to-head with an insurance company that will not want to pay the maximum amount. That’s why it’s important to seek the help you need by working with an experienced Seattle car accident attorney. We can handle both claims to ensure that you receive proper compensation for your injuries.
Results You Can Trust
For decades, the team at Pendergast Law has helped thousands of victims get on the path toward healing by recovering financial compensation for their injuries. Recently, we have recovered more than $12 million for victims of freeway accidents, rear-end collisions, single-vehicle crashes and other types of car accidents.
When our Seattle personal injury attorneys fight for your case, we review every resource at our disposal, including witness testimony, photographs of the crash site, police reports and medical records, to make sure that you are seeking the right amount of compensation for your damages.
We understand the legal system and what is required to prove that a driver has acted negligently. Our history of working with police officers and investigators allows us to compile the clear and convincing evidence required. Don’t try to handle something as complicated as a car accident on your own. Contact our office toll-free at 888-539-9211 to get started with a free consultation.