Car crashes are unexpected, stressful, and painful events that may seriously disrupt a victim’s life. You may worry about how you will pay for emergency medical care, follow-up treatment, rehabilitation, property damage, and out-of-pocket expenses. Moreover, you may need to take time off work to rest and recover. Unfortunately, negotiating with an at-fault driver's insurer is not always easy. In most cases, insurance companies are focused on profit, and they will try to find some way in which you were at fault to reduce their own policyholder's liability. This is why it is so important to retain an experienced injury lawyer. At Blair & Kim, our Seattle car accident attorneys fight for victims of negligent driving to seek the compensation they need and deserve.Establishing the Liability of a Negligent Driver
In most cases, car accidents are the result of driver negligence. To establish negligence, a plaintiff needs to show the defendant's duty of care, a breach of duty, actual and proximate (legal) causation, and actual damages. For example, if a defendant is texting while driving, this will likely be a breach of the duty to use reasonable care. A reasonably prudent driver would not be expected to engage in this distracting behavior. If the texting causes that person to run a stop sign and rear-end another car, he or she likely would be liable for the victim’s injuries.
If you can successfully establish the other driver's negligence, you may be able to recover both economic damages as well as noneconomic damages. Economic damages often include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, lost earning capacity, out-of-pocket expenses, and medical travel mileage. Noneconomic damages are more subjective and typically include loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.
What if you were partially to blame for an accident? Washington follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, a plaintiff's recovery is reduced by his or her percentage of fault, but it may not be completely eliminated unless he or she was entirely responsible for the crash. For example, the jury may assess $100,000 in damages and assign you and another driver 50% liability each. In this situation, you would have the right to receive half of the costs and losses that resulted from the accident from the other driver.Contact a Seattle Attorney for a Car Accident Case
In Washington, you have three years from the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit. Although this may seem like a substantial amount of time, you should consult an attorney right away. In many cases, the insurance company for the other driver will be out at the scene and building a defense as quickly as possible. In complicated situations, it may be necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert, and these experts rely on debris, property damage, and eyewitness testimony to provide opinions on important issues such as fault. Memories fade, and evidence can disappear, so it is crucial to retain a Seattle car accident lawyer to look into these issues right away. Skillful legal guidance may affect whether you are able to reach a favorable settlement or present a persuasive case at trial. Our attorneys have 40 years of combined experience and can assist accident victims in Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue, as well as throughout King County. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or use our online form to set up a consultation.