Colburn Law

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Colburn Law

Issaquah Car Accident Lawyer

Being involved in a car crash can be devastating. Your doctor may tell you to relax and focus on healing, but that’s hard to do when you’re juggling phone calls from insurance claims adjusters, your employer, and keeping track of your mounting medical bills. A car accident lawyer can make the weeks and months following your car accident easier to navigate.

Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Personal injury settlements provide compensation for medical bills and lost wages, as well as the intangible losses you suffered as a result, such as physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and inconvenience. An experienced Issaquah car crash attorney can help you navigate the legal matters surrounding your wreck while fighting for the compensation you deserve. 

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Issaquah Car Crash Statistics

Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death and injury in the United States, and Washington is no exception. In fact, there is a car crash every 5 minutes somewhere in the state.

Issaquah is more prone to car crashes than most areas. Its location right next to bustling Interstate 90, 15 to 30 minutes from Seattle depending upon traffic, makes Issaquah a hot bed for wrecks. Consider the following:

  • The average traffic congestion around Issaquah increases every year, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation. In fact, it’s up 2.4% since 2013. Traffic congestion plays a direct role in car accidents in downtown Issaquah, the Issaquah Highlands, and Sammamish.
  • Traffic congestion affects more than just the highways – it’s increasingly becoming an issue on Front Street and historic downtown. Though many have proposed a bypass, King County lacks the funds to aid the city.
  • Some of the busiest roads in the area are also those most frequently reporting accidents. Examples include I-90, Lake Sammamish Parkway, and Washington State Route 900.
  • Some of the most common contributing factors to car accidents in the area, are failing to yield the right-of-way, and failure to assure a safe stopping distance.

What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident in Issaquah?

It’s natural to feel scared and confused after a car crash. However, your next action, or lack thereof, could have a direct effect on the outcome. If you were recently involved in a car crash in Issaquah, we recommend taking the following actions:

  • File a police report if you haven’t already. Police reports often contain vital information regarding an accident, including a designation of fault. This could aid your insurance claim or an additional personal injury claim.
  • Don’t sign any paperwork unless advised by an attorney. Your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company may present you with an offer or other paperwork; we highly recommend having an attorney committed to your best interests review it first.
  • Hire a personal injury attorney. A car crash can have devastating consequences – some may even lead to a lifetime of hardship. A personal injury attorney, with experience in local car accident law, can help you gain compensation for your injuries and give you the tools to live your best possible life.

Is Washington State a No-Fault Insurance State?

Some states follow a no-fault insurance system when it comes to car accidents. In a no-fault state, each driver is responsible for paying for his or her own damages after a collision, regardless of who caused the accident. Drivers in no-fault states carry some form of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which pays for medical bills and lost wages in the event of a car accident.

Washington is not a no-fault state. Like the vast majority of states, Washington follows a fault-based insurance system when handling car accident cases. This means that drivers who are responsible for causing car accidents must pay for the damages of their victims. All Washington drivers must carry liability insurance to uphold this financial responsibility.

All Washington drivers must carry the following minimum amounts of car insurance.

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person per accident
  • $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident
  • $10,000 in property damage per accident

If you suffer an injury due to another driver’s negligence, you have three options to secure compensation for your damages. You can file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own insurance company, if you have the appropriate coverage. You can also file a lawsuit against the driver in Washington civil court.

No-fault states, on the other hand, offer different legal options for car accident victims. In many no-fault states, residents can only file a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against a negligent driver if they sustained catastrophic injuries. For example, to file a claim against a driver in New York, a car accident victim will need to have experienced significant disfigurement, a bone fracture, or a disabling injury due to his or her action.

What is Washington’s Pure Comparative Fault Rule?

If you file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver in Issaquah, you will need to prove that his or her negligence caused the accident and your subsequent injuries. To prove negligence in a car accident lawsuit, you will need to provide enough evidence to support four key elements.

  • The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. All drivers owe a duty to drive safely and follow all applicable traffic laws.
  • The at-fault driver breached his or her duty of care. Running a red light, speeding, driving under the influence, and distracted driving are all examples of breaches of care that occur during motor vehicle collisions.
  • The breach of duty directly caused your accident and injuries. You can use evidence such as surveillance footage, witness testimony, and police reports to establish causation.
  • You suffered damages in your car accident that you can collect compensation for in your lawsuit. You can recover damages for medical expenses, property damage, and many other economic and non-economic losses.

If you can establish these four elements, you will likely recover damages in your lawsuit. However, your award could be at risk if the at-fault driver claims that you share liability for the accident. Under Washington’s comparative negligence laws, the court can reduce your award by the percentage of fault that you hold.

For example, say that you are in an accident with a driver who speeds through a stop sign and collides with your vehicle. However, surveillance footage shows that you were texting on your cell phone at the time of the crash. The driver argues that you share liability for the collision due to distracted driving. The court agrees and assigns you 45% of the liability. If you request a $50,000 award, you will only receive $27,500.

Some states bar victims from recovering compensation if they are more than 50% responsible for their accidents. In Washington, you can still recover compensation even if you are 99% responsible for the collision. For example, if the court assigns you 80% of the liability, the at-fault driver will still need to pay for $10,000 out of your original $50,000 award.

Advantages of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer

Car accident claims can be very complex. You will need to establish how an accident occurred, prove the extent and nature of your injuries, and negotiate with insurance adjusters who may not have your best interests in mind. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your collision, you may have to defend yourself and your potential award from accusations of liability.

In these situations, hiring an Issaquah car accident lawyer can help. An attorney can provide several benefits to your case, including the following.

  • Recovery after a car accident can be painful and lengthy. If you have not filed a car accident claim before, navigating the process after a recent injury can be stressful and overwhelming. Your lawyer will handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on healing, not paperwork.
  • Your attorney can conduct an in-depth investigation into your collision to determine liability and collect the evidence necessary to prove your case. Using medical records, police reports, traffic footage, and other crucial pieces of evidence, your lawyer will craft a compelling case for your right to compensation.
  • Your lawyer will have experience negotiating with car insurance companies and can advocate for a higher settlement on your behalf. Insurance companies do not want to spend more on your settlement than necessary, and settlement offers you receive from an adjuster may not be sufficient to meet your needs. With an attorney on your side, you will always have someone to advocate for your highest possible settlement.
  • You may need expert witnesses who can validate your claims and prove your right to compensation. Your lawyer will have developed connections with medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, life care planners, and other experts who can provide testimony on your behalf and strengthen your claim.
  • Your attorney will also have the ability to calculate your settlement value. He or she will explore all possible avenues of compensation to estimate your maximum case value. If you need to calculate complex costs, such as future medical care, he or she can enlist the assistance of expert witnesses who can evaluate your claim and help calculate your expenses.

Hiring a lawyer can help you strengthen your car accident claim and provide you with the support you need during this complex process. After seeking medical attention after the collision, speak to an Issaquah car accident lawyer at Colburn Law as soon as possible. Your attorney will review your case, identify your optimal path to compensation, and explain your next steps.

Compensation Available for Car Accident Victims

In a car accident claim, you can recover compensation for the financial, physical, and psychological losses you sustained in the collision. There are two categories of damages in Washington: economic damages, which involve your financial losses, and non-economic damages, which involve your physical and emotional pain and suffering. Common damages in Washington car accident claims include the following.

  • All past and future medical expenses, including hospitalizations, surgeries, prescription medications, and doctor’s appointments
  • Property damage you sustained in the accident, including vehicle repairs or replacement
  • Transportation to and from necessary medical care
  • Disability accommodations to your home or vehicle
  • Specialized therapies, such as rehabilitation programs or psychiatric treatment
  • Lost wages during your recovery time
  • Loss of future earnings, if your injuries prevent you from returning to work
  • Chronic pain, physical disability, or disfigurement
  • The development of mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Car Accident

If you lost a loved one in a Washington car accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf. In these lawsuits, you and your family can recover compensation for the losses directly related to your loved one’s death, as well as the financial and emotional impact his or her death had on your family. Common examples of wrongful death damages include the following.

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Property damage that occurred in the accident
  • Medical expenses related to your loved one’s final injury
  • Lost wages and earnings your loved one would have earned if he or she had lived
  • Damages for the pain and suffering your loved one experienced prior to his or her death
  • Loss of care, companionship, and other intangible losses you and your family suffered

In many states, a third category of damages, known as punitive damages, is also available for car accident victims. These damages seek to punish an at-fault driver for especially negligent, dangerous, or reckless behavior. However, Washington does not allow personal injury victims to seek punitive damages. You can only recover compensation for the losses you sustained in your collision.

Calculating estimated damages after a car accident can be a challenge. While financial losses are simple to prove with a receipt or invoice, intangible pain and suffering damages are more complex and require the knowledge of a personal injury lawyer to calculate. As soon as possible following your accident, contact Colburn Law to discuss your accident and potential settlement.

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Do You Offer a Free Consultation?

Yes, if you believe you have grounds for a car accident claim, your first step is to contact Colburn Law for a free initial consultation. Let us help you on the road to health and financial recovery – contact us to schedule your case review today.

Client Testimonial: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Greg guided me through a stressful process involving a car accident and the insurance company. Not only did he put me at ease, but he was truly an advocate for me and my family. I am truly thankful for his help, and would highly recommend him to any of my friends or family. 

-Jeff P.
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