Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How lawyers help in car accidents - Washington State

You're driving down I-5 on a sunny Monday morning. Traffic seems to be flowing smoothly at 60 mph. Suddenly, you notice the car in front of you stopped with its brake lights on. You try to change lanes, but there's no time---plus cars around you are going too fast. Being a defensive driver, you've left enough room to slow down and and eventually stop. Just as you release a sigh of relief, the driver behind you slams his car into yours, and your car is suddenly forced forward into the car in the front. You find yourself involved in a car accident. Although a little sore, everyone manages to get out of their cars to exchange information.

Washington State
Auto Accident Lawyers
(800) 854-6967
Later, you find out that the reason why the car in front of you stopped was because she ran out of gas, and her vehicle stalled. The car behind you was going with the speed of traffic and was caught off-guard by your sudden stopped vehicle on the interstate.

Who is at fault? Even though everyone is clear on the question of fact, liability is a question of law. Surprisingly, we have handled multiple cases with facts similar to the ones above. Having multiple parties (and their insurance) all pointing fingers at each other makes it tough.

Since Washington is a comparative negligence state, the law apportions fault among all the parties. It's possible that the lady who failed to put enough gas in her car is only legally 65% at fault, and thus, can only be liable for 65% of the total damage to others. As lawyers, we put a lot of time in negotiating fault to obtain the highest award to our clients. If necessary, we will put a case before a court to decide.

We also find that those who try to handle their own personal injury claims without a lawyer will end up settling for less money than those who started the case with a lawyer. This is usually because auto accident victims are usually unaware of the value of their claim; and therefore, they are unprepared to fight for more.

If there are passengers in the car, please do not consider trying to settle the auto accident claims for others. Do get competent legal advice. And if you do decide to hire a professional to handle your injury claim, it's best to meet with one earlier in the case to obtain the best result.

Arrow Law Group is a Seattle based law firm. We handle personal injury and auto accident claims from all over the state.