What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Auto Accidents?
People often worry that the money damages will come out of the pocket of the person who hurt them. In actual fact, that is rarely the case. Liability insurance is purchased to protect people against claims arising out of accidents. It’s that insurance which pays in the case of an injury. If the at-fault person doesn’t have any insurance then typically Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage will come into play. That kind of coverage can provide a source of funds with which to indemnify the injured person. People also worry about whether they can afford to hire an attorney. They don’t realize that most bodily injury claims are done on a contingency fee basis. A contingent fee is one in which the attorney will charge a percentage of whatever is recovered on behalf of the injured person. If nothing is recovered, the injured person will not pay a fee.
What Is Pure Comparative Negligence? How Does It Impact My Auto Injury Claim?
In Washington, comparative negligence is a damage reducing factor. An injured person’s money damages are reduced by the percentage that the injured person is found to be comparatively responsible. For example, if a jury determines that our client was 50% at fault and had total damages of $10,000, the client would receive $5000. In other words the damages are reduced by the percentage of comparative fault attributable to the plaintiff (our client)
What Are The Time Limits For Bringing A Personal Injury Lawsuit When Involved In A Car Accident?
In Washington, the applicable Statute of Limitations for automobile accidents is 3 years from the date of the incident. If an injured person fails to file a summons in complaint within 3 years following the date of the incident, that claim is barred forever under current Washington law.
What Steps Should Someone Take If They Have Been Injured In An Auto Accident?
Immediately contact your attorney and arrange for a consultation. A surprising number of cases are lost because injured people mistakenly thought that they could handle this situation themselves. They give statements, they sign medical releases, they permitted access to their medical and employment files and so forth. Any of these things can be harmful to a case.
Should I Notify My Insurance Company Of An Accident? Should I Notify The Other Party’s Insurance?
Absolutely notify your own insurance company. It’s best however, that you contact your attorney first. This is because there may be issues concerning your own comparative fault. Your rights can be protected if you talk to your attorney first. You are not responsible for notifying the at fault driver’s insurance company of the claim. Either your own insurance carrier will do it or your attorney will do so. You can help your attorney by bringing in a copy of the police traffic collision report if you have it. That document will contain identifying information of the at fault person, that person’s insurance company, the policy number and other helpful information.
What Defenses Can Insurance Companies Use To Avoid Paying out On Personal Injury Claims?
The first and most obvious line of defense is fault. The company will blame you for the incident. The company will claim that you caused the collision, their insured did nothing wrong, and therefore the claim is denied. If their insured is obviously at fault, such as in the situation of a rear end collision, the company will argue that even so, you must have done something wrong. Maybe you slammed on your brakes and caused the collision, or maybe your brake lights weren’t working. The company will argue that there was some percentage of fault attributable to your actions and use that to reduce the value of your claim. If liability is clear and there is absolutely no evidence of comparative fault, the company will attack your damages. The common themes we see are that you really weren’t that hurt, or if you were either it wasn’t serious or if you had a serious but unrelated medical condition, perhaps a condition which must have pre-dated the present collision.
As an example, in a situation involving a sore back, we will hear the defense argue that our client really had pre-existing arthritis which is the source of all the problems. Sometimes insurance companies will attack the type of treatment you receive. For example, chiropractic care is often attacked as being unnecessary or lasting too long. Wage loss is always contested. Self-employed people have a very difficult time proving wage loss because they typically don’t receive a weekly or a monthly pay stub to show loss of income. Assuming that person actually has good documentation, then the argument will be made that the injured person could have and should have gone back to work sooner but simply chose not to do so. These are some of the types of things that we encounter on a daily basis.
For more information on Misconceptions About Auto Accidents, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (425) 449-4577 today.
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