Snohomish County Car Accidents Lawyers Providing Strong, Compassionate Legal Services to Victims
A severe motor vehicle accident can leave victims with devastating injuries, chronic pain, disturbing flashbacks, and more. Even relatively minor accidents can cause property damage and injuries that can impact your ability to work. Even if you carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or MedPay, your losses may quickly outstrip your coverage, and you may even have completely uncovered damages. Unlike in some states, under Washington state law, you always have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party with no limitations on how severe your injuries must be. If you have been hurt in a car accident caused by a negligent driver or a motor vehicle defect, contact Elsner Law Firm today for a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights: 206-678-1427.
What Steps Should You Take After a Car Accident?
Car accidents are often sudden and violent. The aftermath can be chaotic, but it is essential to stay calm and take action to protect your health and your rights, if possible. The safety and well-being of yourself and your loved ones should always be your top priority. If there are injuries, call 911 to get medical help. When emergency services arrive, follow their directions and advice and do not refuse medical treatment. After this, if you are physically able or if there is someone present who you trust to help you, try to complete these steps:
- Contact the police: If they are not already on the scene, call them so they can create a police report with statements and photos.
- Collect insurance information from the other driver(s): Include their policy number, the insurance company’s name, and the company’s phone number.
- Document the scene: If it is safe, take photos and videos of the accident scene from many different angles.
- Get eyewitness contact information: Gather the names, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses to the crash.
- Report the accident to your insurance company: Make an accident report to your own insurance. Record the claim number and the name of the adjuster assigned to your case. If you have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance as part of your coverage, you may request an application for these benefits at this time.
- Call a car accident lawyer: Promptly consulting with a lawyer after your accident can preserve your rights and mitigate some of the stress of the situation. They can also advise you on any other actions you need to take.
You should always seek medical attention after an auto accident, even if you don’t feel injured. Do not tell anyone at the scene that you feel ok because that seemingly harmless statement could be used against you in court. Shock or adrenaline can mask pain, especially with neck and back injuries, and you may find later that you have suffered serious harm.
If the other driver’s insurance company reaches out to you, do not give a recorded statement or accept a settlement. Take down their name, phone number, and claim number, and tell them you are consulting a lawyer. Your car accident attorney can help ensure that you do not say anything which could harm your case.
What Injuries May Be Caused by a Car Accident?
The forces involved in an auto accident can crush steel and break glass. It is unsurprising then that a human body can be grievously injured in a crash even with the advanced safety features on newer cars, such as crumple zones and airbags. In fact, the majority of car accidents result in some type of injury to the passengers. Some of these injuries can be significant and life-changing, requiring both immediate and ongoing medical care for victims. Some of the injuries most commonly seen in car accidents include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Back, head, and neck injuries
- Head trauma, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Severed or crushed limbs
- Wrongful death
There can also be secondary effects of physical injuries, such as brain swelling, internal bleeding, and blood clots leading to strokes. The damage also may not be entirely physical, as accident survivors can experience PTSD, nightmares, anxiety, and other trauma-related issues. While PIP insurance may cover some medical expenses, your bills can quickly surpass your coverage limits. Your personal injury lawyer from Elsner Law Firm will fight to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries, so your car accident doesn’t turn into a financial catastrophe.
What Compensation Could a Car Accident Lawyer Secure for You?
Recovery from a motor vehicle accident can be expensive. You may require multiple surgeries, expensive physical therapy, or daily help with your household needs. Paying for medical expenses and property damage losses can be particularly challenging if you have missed work, lost your transportation, or have become permanently disabled. Personal injury claims exist so victims can seek fair compensation from those who were at fault for the accident.
The two main types of damages a personal injury attorney will seek in your car accident settlement are actual and general compensatory damages. Actual compensatory damages are sought for tangible financial losses you experienced due to the accident. Examples include:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Medical equipment
- Rehabilitation costs
- Vehicle and property replacement or repair
General compensatory damages are non-monetary losses you suffered from the car accident. Typically, the amount of this financial compensation increases based on the severity of your injuries and how long they have affected or will continue to affect you. Examples of general compensatory damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
If the at-fault party was found by the court to be malicious or particularly egregious in their negligence during the car accident, additional punitive damages might be awarded. Punitive damages are meant as a punishment and a deterrent against others committing the same actions.
How Can Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Benefit You?
You have legal rights if you or a family member have been hurt in a car accident. Insurance companies may offer you a settlement, but it may not be enough to cover your medical expenses, and it likely won’t compensate you for non-monetary losses, such as the pain or mental suffering you’ve had to endure. Because an insurance company is a for-profit business, they do not have your best interests at heart when offering a settlement.
A skilled car accident attorney from Elsner Law Firm can help you level the playing field and ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your losses. Your lawyer can file the necessary paperwork, help you get your car fixed and find a temporary rental, and handle correspondence with the insurance companies so you can focus on your recovery without unnecessary stress. Contact our law firm today at 206-678-1427 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our compassionate attorneys to learn more about your legal options.