There are a few common factors to consider when attempting to determine value of an injury claim, though determining the exact value of any individual car accident case takes time and will depend on the unique facts of your case. There is no magic formula for predicting the amount of money a person is entitled to receive after being involved in a motor vehicle collision.
Our office will usually have a pretty good idea of a reasonable settlement range once you have reached maximum medical improvement. We rely on such factors as the extent and permanency of your injuries, the effect your injuries have had on your life, the amount and duration of your medical treatment, prior jury verdicts and/or arbitration awards received for similar injuries, and so on. Our team of Seattle car accident attorneys can give you a better idea of whether your insurance company's current offer is fair and whether hiring an attorney may increase the overall value of your case.
There are essentially two types of damages that are recoverable in a car accident claim; economic damages, and non-economic damages. Past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, and the cost of household services are examples of economic damages. Non-economic damages are more subjective, such as mental and physical pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The potential result that may come from your case depends on a number of different factors, including:
- Medical Expenses. You are entitled to compensation for all medical costs related to the injuries you suffered in an auto accident. This includes past and future medical care.
- Non-economic Damages. Pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional trauma are common forms of non-economic damages after an accident.
- Lost Wages & Earnings. Compensation for wage loss is usually based on how much money you would have earned if you had not been injured.
- At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Coverage. Our legal team will investigate every possible avenue and source of recovery to ensure that you get what you deserve. If the at-fault driver was carrying a policy with low liability limits, we may be able to identify other sources of recovery.
- Your Insurance Coverage. If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, your chances of being fairly compensated fully are much higher. Unfortunately, even your own insurance company is likely to put up a fight over these benefits.
- Potential Litigation. Insurance companies want to avoid the risk of a jury awarding a large verdict to accident victims at all costs. Our experienced trial attorneys can help you get the best possible settlement.
To get the best possible result for your case, it is important that you hire an experienced Seattle car accident lawyer. Our legal team is standing by to review your case free of charge.
Who Pays For My Damages?
By far the most common question we get from accident victims who call our office is, "Who pays for my damages?" That can depend on a number of factors, the first being which types of insurance benefits you have available on your own. If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP), as many people do, then a certain portion of your initial medical costs - like an ambulance ride to the hospital, initial X-rays and medication, and so on - will be covered by your PIP benefits.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) may also add additional coverage in the event of a hit-and-run or an accident with a driver who does not have adequate liability insurance. A health insurance policy, perhaps obtained through your employer or by Apple Health, may also provide certain benefits for your medical treatment.
Insurance companies want you to believe that handling car accident claims is a simple matter that you can do yourself, and does not require the assistance of an attorney who specializes in car accident claims. But you should know that insurance adjusters are trained to reduce the amount of a settlement that you are paid. The only way to make sure that you get a fair settlement or award is to have a qualified Seattle personal injury lawyer who understands the insurance system, is well prepared and experienced in trying these cases in court, and of course, will do everything possible to fight for your rights.
Although insurance companies and many lawyers consider car accident claims to be routine, that just isn't true. Every car accident and every individual who is injured in a car accident is unique. Attorney Chris Davis knows that a wide variety of injuries can result from a car wreck. Car accidents may be caused by the negligence on the part of another driver or the design and condition of the road or highway.
Studies by the Insurance Research Council have shown that on average, claimants who hired a lawyer received a settlement that was 3 and a half times more than they would have if they had tried to negotiate on their own. Insurance companies are in business to make profit; their largest expense is paying out claims, which means that they have a strong incentive to try to convince accident victims to take lower payouts. You can learn more about this study by downloading our free report: Why Injury Victims Who Hire A Lawyer Receive Larger Settlements.
Most car accident victims don’t understand their legal rights, and the insurance companies use this to their advantage during the negotiations process. At Davis Law Group, we focus treat our clients like part of our family. When you hire us, you can expect:
Personalized Care. We give each of our clients the time and attention they deserve, and our experienced legal team keeps each client up-to-date with the progress and status of their unique case.
Commitment to Justice. We want to make sure each client gets the best settlement or verdict that is reasonably possible. While other law firms may leave money on the table in order to settle your case more quickly, we take the extra time to get the best possible results for every client.
Constant Communication. We don’t just want the best results for our clients - we want to make sure they understand the process from start to finish. You’ll receive free books and information about your car accident case written in plain English.
- According to 2017 Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) data, a car accident occurs every 4 minutes and a person dies due to a car crash every 20 hours.
- Fatal crashes went from 508 in 2016 to 525 in 2017, resulting in the death of 555 people. This number has stayed relatively steady for the past decade.
- According to WSDOT, the number of car accidents with suspected serious injuries totaled 1,932 for the year 2017.
- Suspected serious injury collisions went from 1,896 in 2016 to 1,932 in 2017, resulting in 2,229 serious injuries.
- King County accounted for 40,192 (33 percent) of car accidents in Washington state in 2017 and 538 (28 percent) of serious injury collisions.
Types Of Auto Accidents In Washington State
A motor vehicle collision can happen in a number of different ways, and no two accidents are identical. Some of the more common types of car accidents we see at Davis Law Group include:
- Head-On Crashes: When two vehicles collide head-on, the violent impact can cause very serious injuries or death. These collisions often involve a drowsy or distracted driver, or someone who is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Hit-And-Run Collisions: Tracking down the responsible driver after a hit-and-run collision can be difficult. The right team of investigators and attorneys on your side can make all the difference.
- Rollover Accidents: Rollover accidents typically occur in situations where a vehicle is trying to avoid a collision, such as with another vehicle or an object or animal in the roadway. Defective vehicles and negligent roadway design can also play a role in these types of crashes.
- Rear-End Collisions: While liability for a rear-end crash typically rests on the following vehicle, it's still important to conduct a thorough investigation into the collision and determine other possible contributing factors.
- T-Bone (Side-Impact) Collisions: T-bone accidents are perhaps most common at intersections where one driver has run a stop sign or red light. These collisions typically occur at high-speeds and leave innocent victims with serious, life-changing injuries.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrians are vulnerable to serious injury in a collision because, unlike motorists, they are not protected by a vehicle. Liability can be difficult to prove in pedestrian accident cases, and in many cases witness testimony is crucial.
- Parking Lot Accidents: Parking lots are private property, which can cause a number of legal issues in the event of an accident. Accidents can be serious even at low speeds, and often involve pedestrians or bicyclists.
- Bicycle Accidents: Bicyclists share the road with motorists, but the size difference and visibility issues create a significant risk of serious injury or death. Bicyclists often do not have their own insurance, which means a thorough investigation is necessary.
- Freeway On-Ramp Or Off-Ramps: Improperly or illegally-parked vehicles can cause a serious collision on the on-ramp or off-ramp of a freeway or highway. Injuries are often serious because of the high speed nature of accidents that occur on a freeway or highway.
- Illegal Turns: Illegal left-hand turns and U-turns at traffic signals or in uncontrolled intersections can lead to a serious accident, and liability may be disputed.
- Side-Swipes: At low speeds, a side-swipe accident is likely to be minor and result in very little, if any, injury. At high speeds, however, the sudden impact and drivers' reactions can cause a major collision with extensive damage and potentially serious injuries.
It is important to understand that all car accident cases are different and unique in some way or another. That being said, there are some common factors and causes that we often see in car accident cases, including:
- Distracted Driving: One of the most common causes of car accidents. Drivers are often distracted by the cell phones, GPS systems, or other passengers inside of the vehicle.
- Drunk Driving: Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs pose a serious risk to other motorists.
- Drug Impairment: Studies show that drugged drivers experience slowed reaction times, increasing their chances of being involved in a serious collision.
- Dangerous Roadways: Municipalities have a duty to ensure roadway design issues do not jeopardize public safety. If a dangerous roadway leads to an accident, the department of transportation or other government agencies may be held legally responsible.
- Elderly Drivers: Pursuing an injury claim or lawsuit against an elderly driver can be difficult, but with serious injuries and medical bills you may have no other choice.
- Inexperienced Teen Drivers: Teen drivers and those with limited driving experience often react slowly to a potential crash and may have a poor understanding of traffic laws.
- Reckless Driving: Vehicles traveling over the speed limit or following too closely often cause serious and even fatal car accidents.
- Defective Vehicles & Parts: Malfunctioning equipment or poorly-maintained cars and parts can break down and make it difficult for drivers to control their vehicles.
- Roadway Debris: Drivers who fail to secure their load can be subject to a citation. In the event that an accident results from roadway debris, the driver who left the debris behind could be held legally responsible for any damages that may result.
- Uncontrolled Intersections: Drivers are expected to exercise reasonable caution at uncontrolled intersections. Liability for these accidents is often heavily disputed, so hiring an attorney can be very beneficial to victims.
- Police Chases: Police must consider public safety when pursuing a suspect, and failure to exercise reasonable care can lead to legal liability for a crash.
- Speeding: Drivers traveling too fast for conditions is one of the most commonly-cited factors in collision reports in Washington state, and the person who is guilty of speeding is often the person who is legally responsible for causing the accident.
- Snow Or Black Ice: Winter weather conditions are a common issue in Washington state. It's important to conduct a thorough investigation after an accident involving snow or ice on the roadway.
- Wrong-Way Drivers: Drivers who travel in the wrong direction of a road or highway put the public at serious risk of injury or death. These drivers are often under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of personal injury in Washington state and throughout the United States. And although no two car accident cases are alike, some types of injuries are more common in auto accident cases than others. Some of the more common types of injuries our Seattle car accident lawyers see from clients involved in motor vehicle accidents include:
- Lower Back Injuries: Back injuries can range in severity, from minor sprains, to torn ligaments, or even crushed vertebrae in extreme cases.
- Torn Ligaments: Ligament injuries require advanced imaging to detect and often take time to become apparent. These injuries often require surgery to heal.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: Brain injuries are especially common in car accidents, as the head may impact a steering wheel, dashboard, or window upon impact.
- Spinal Cord Injury: Violent collisions can result in injuries to the spine or spinal cord, which may result in life-changing conditions such as paralysis or loss of bodily functions.
- Herniated & Bulging Discs: Herniated or bulging discs are typically very painful and affect a person's ability to walk or perform basic tasks.
- Pregnancy Complications: Pregnant mothers and unborn children are both especially vulnerable to injury in a crash.
- Fractures & Broken Bones: Fractures are quite painful and may require surgery or other invasive treatment options in order for accident victims to recover.
- Lacerations: Large cuts often lead to blood loss, risk of infection, and scarring. Proving the extent and severity of these injuries can be more complex.
- Burn Injuries: Burns may be less common in car accidents, but they can leave lasting damage in the form of scarring and psychological trauma.
- Amputations: Injuries are sometimes so severe that they can require amputation, which can turn an accident victim's life upside down.
- Wrongful Death: Accidents are the leading cause of death in the U.S. Washington state law permits surviving family members to pursue legal action against the responsible party.
Finding The Best Accident Lawyer For Your Case
Our award-winning legal team is dedicated to helping you get the best possible result for your car accident injury case, as we have for each and every one of our clients over the past 25 years. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it may be in your best interests to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney.
Don't trust your legal rights and financial future with just anyone else, hire the experienced Seattle car accident attorneys at Davis Law Group. We offer a free case review to all car accident victims and our law firm works on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no up-front fees and you do not owe anything until we successfully resolve your case. Call our office at (206) 727-4000.