If you have been injured in a serious car accident, contact the Lakewood injury attorneys of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs to represent you to recover maximum compensation. We offer free initial consultations and you pay us nothing unless we win!
In 2015, a Washingtonian was injured in a car accident every 11 minutes, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Crashes occur all around us, and yet few people stop to think they could be next. If you become one of the unlucky drivers who is injured in an accident, your entire life can be upended, with medical bills draining your bank account, injuries keeping you from work, pain making every day a struggle and more. All too often, victims find themselves in this predicament all because of another driver’s recklessness, which could have easily been avoided.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, our Lakewood car accident attorneys believe that reckless drivers should pay for the damage they’ve done. Since 1952, our experienced car accident lawyers have been helping personal injury victims like you in Washington State win the compensation they need and deserve. If you have been injured in a car accident in Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, or Bremerton, we’re ready to fight for you. Call (253) 588-6696 to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate injury attorneys today.
Whatever type of accident you’ve been injured in, if it was caused by another driver’s negligence, our Lakewood car accident lawyers have the experience and know-how needed to build you an effective case.
Common Injuries Associated with Car Accidents
Car accidents can be violent and frightening events. The Washington State Department of Transportation estimates that in 2019, there were 111,649 car accidents on state roads. 516 of those crashes were fatal and thousands of other victims of collisions were left with minor to serious injuries. The injuries from a car accident can have a life-long impact on a victim, sometimes changing their quality of life dramatically. Some of the most common injuries associated with car accidents tend to be:
Traumatic brain injury
Other head, neck, and spine injuries
Chest and rib injuries
In addition to the physical hurdles a victim must overcome, they are often left with outstanding medical bills forcing them to choose between their medical care and everyday necessities. Financial instability after a serious car accident is a real issue that many people involved in collisions must face.
You focus on your recovery, we'll focus on your case
There are a variety of reasons that car accidents happen. However, the most common cause of car accidents tends to be a driver error or a basic lack of awareness on the part of a negligent driver. Traffic patterns change, lights turn red, animals dart out into the street, there is no shortage to the number of things that can happen out on the road. Responsible drivers understand this and try to use due caution, paying attention to their surroundings and watching for hazards along the way. On the other hand, a negligent driver may find themselves distracted, daydreaming, or pulled in another direction. Without their full attention on the road accidents can happen and you can be caught in the crossfire. Some of the most common causes of car accidents on Washington roads include:
Distracted driving is one of the most prolific problems on roads today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every day in the United States at least 9 people are killed in distracted driving accidents. When a driver’s attention is on something other than the road, traumatic accidents can happen. Cell phones, food, GPS tools, and extremely loud music are some of the most common distractions that lead to collisions.
Driving while intoxicated
Alcohol slows down both your physical coordination and mental cognition. This combination of impairments makes it difficult, sometimes impossible, to assess a situation and respond accordingly.
Fatigued driving or driving while drowsy is very similar to driving while drunk. Sleep deprivation impacts the body in much the same way as alcohol, resulting in problems with coordination, memory, and cognition. Truck drivers, shift workers, business travels, and those with undiagnosed sleep disorders are at greater risk for driving while fatigued.
Aggressive driving is a relatively new term that describes behavior that is deliberate and reckless. Aggressive driving includes speeding, unsafe lane changes, failing to yield, tailgating, cutting off other drivers, and blocking cars trying to pass. Road rage is often referred to as an extreme form of aggressive driving.
Failure to exercise caution in construction zones
Construction zones are dangerous places for both workers and drivers. Drivers not mindful of warning signs, changes in the speed limit, or pedestrians are at risk for causing a serious accident.
Inclement weather conditions
Poor weather conditions are often blamed for collisions, especially pile-up accidents. When bad weather strikes drivers must exercise due caution which means slowing down and leaving extra space between vehicles.
Some drivers can take all the safety precautions in the world and still find themselves involved in a serious accident. Vehicle and manufacturing defects in cars and trucks can result in significant accidents. While not as common as driver error, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that defects play a role in at least two percent of vehicle collisions.
Steps to Take after a Car Accident
Car accidents are often extremely disorienting and confusing. In the immediate aftermath of a crash, it can be difficult to know what to do from one moment to the next. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your safety and make your claim easier down the road:
Call 911. Whether or not you think you need an ambulance, it is important to at least have the police at the scene of the accident so that they can write a report that you and your insurance company will need later.
Exchange insurance information. You need to gather the other driver’s insurance provider and policy number. If they refuse to cooperate, the police will gather this information for you.
Gather evidence. Take pictures of the scene of the accident and interview any witnesses you see, recording their accounts of what happened.
Report the accident to your insurer. To start the claims process, your insurance company will need to know what happened. When they ask you for your account of the accident, make sure it is accurate and consistent with what you told the police.
Seek medical attention. Even if you did not feel that you needed an ambulance, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. This is important both for your recovery and for your claim. Make sure to save all receipts and other documentation.
Once you have taken all of these immediate steps, you should consider taking legal action if you believe the other driver was responsible. You may be able to win significant compensation for your injuries in a settlement or in a judgment at trial. An experienced Washington personal injury lawyer can evaluate what happened and tell you if you might have a case. For a free consultation, contact The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs now.
Washington State applies a legal doctrine called pure comparative negligence in determining fault for a car accident. This means that even if you share part of the fault for the accident, you can still recover some portion of damages in a personal injury suit. This portion will be reduced according to your amount of fault.
The amount of fault that each driver shares will be determined based on their negligence. In the legal world, negligence is the failure to do something that could reasonably be expected of you, such as looking both ways before making a left turn. When a driver breaches their duty of care in such a way and causes another driver injury in the process, they can be held liable in a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations On Injury Claims in Washington
While many car accident injury claims settle long before a lawsuit needs to be filed, there are times where it is appropriate and necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit to get the full and fair compensation you’re owed. However, there is not an unlimited amount of time to go through this process. The state of Washington gives victims three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Trying to file a lawsuit after this statute has expired can result in the suit being dismissed, leaving the victim with no other legal recourse for seeking compensation.
While three years sounds like plenty of time to file a lawsuit, many people are often caught by surprise at how quickly time passes. In some instances, they are even more surprised at the length of time it can take to resolve an insurance claim. The more time you give yourself, the better the position you are in to negotiate with an insurance company. If it becomes obvious that the company is not negotiating in good faith this allows you the time to begin filing a lawsuit without running into the statute of limitations.
By securing an experienced attorney at the very beginning of your ordeal you are strengthening your position two-fold. First, you have a seasoned professional on your side that can conduct an investigation, strengthen your insurance claim, and negotiate on your behalf for a full and fair compensation package. Secondly, if an insurance company is unwilling to negotiate or is refusing to put a fair value on your claim, an attorney will already be well prepared to begin court proceedings to seek the compensation you deserve.
Whether you are dealing with an insurance company or filing a lawsuit, having a resourceful and experienced attorney on your side is a wise way to maximize your compensation and protect your rights. Not all companies are looking out for your best interests, some may use borderline predatory tactics to take advantage of you in your vulnerable state. Let a skilled attorney take the lead and handle the heavy lifting while you focus on what matters, your recovery.
You May Be Owed Compensation for Your Car Accident Claim
Car accidents can have a far-reaching impact on victims’ lives, financially, physically, and emotionally. Luckily, most of these costs can be recuperated through a settlement or judgment. If you have been injured in a car accident, here are some of the damages you might recover in a personal injury suit:
Car repair or replacement costs
Lost wages due to time off work
Future lost income due to disability caused by the accident
Physical pain and suffering
Emotional pain and suffering
Transportation and other costs related to recovery
Whether you proceed with your case in or out of court, your lawyer will work with you to determine which types of damages you should seek and help you aggressively pursue them. If your case goes to trial and you win, the full award you would have received will be reduced according to your comparative negligence as determined by the jury. For example, if you would be awarded $100,000 but the jury determines that you were 10 percent at fault, your award will be reduced to $90,000. Regardless, this is significantly more than you could expect in a claim through your own insurance without taking legal action.
Recovering from injuries after a car accident is a trying time in your life. The accident can take a toll on your physical health, your finances, your relationships, and more. You don’t have to face this alone. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you fight for compensation for your injuries.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, we have been helping car accident victims secure fair compensation for their injuries for over sixty years. Over this time, our lawyers have built the experience that will be invaluable to your case, and our firm has become an ingrained part of the Lakewood community. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, or Bremerton, don’t hesitate. Call us now at (253) 588-6696 for more information on how we can help.