Helping Accident Victims in Kitsap County, Washington
Car accidents occur when you least expect them: driving to work, getting groceries, or taking your kids to school. In a flash, you and your loved ones might be left with painful injuries or extensive property damage. Even minor accidents invite a world of hassle.
Unfortunately, most car accidents in Port Orchard are the result of driver negligence. When other drivers choose to speed, text behind the wheel, run red lights, or otherwise drive dangerously, it puts everyone in peril.
There are real financial ramifications involved in any auto accident. If someone else caused the crash, you shouldn’t be the one to pay for it.
In a perfect world, the at-fault driver would step up and do the right thing, offering to pay the full cost of your harm. But insurance companies complicate things. Insurers employ entire armies of adjusters and attorneys to help them minimize their liability for car accident claims. It often becomes very difficult for victims to get the full compensation they deserve until they hire an attorney of their own.
The Port Orchard car accident lawyers at Fuller & Fuller can level the playing field by advancing effective legal strategies and advocating aggressively for your rights.
Our law firm is made up of family members who are all attorneys and are united in a core belief: our clients deserve our very best.
Let us fight to get you the very best. Contact us today.
What Does a Port Orchard Car Accident Lawyer Do?
When you hire our Port Orchard car accident lawyers, you can count on us to handle every aspect of your personal injury claim. We’re here to give you a voice and a platform against powerful insurance companies, but we’re also here to lighten your load.
You can count on the car accident attorneys at Fuller & Fuller to:
- Handle paperwork and court filings.
- Collect medical records, police reports, and all the other documentation you might need.
- Coordinate witnesses and evidence.
- Make and take phone calls on your behalf.
- Explore every possible path to compensation, including creative or outside-the-box solutions.
- Negotiate skillfully in your favor.
- Give you honest, practical, real-world legal advice.
- Pursue your best possible outcome, not necessarily the easiest one.
- Passionately represent your interests in court (if it comes to that).
- Put your burden on our shoulders instead.
What Compensation Is Available in a Car Accident?
Courts in our state typically recognize the following kinds of damages in Port Orchard vehicle accidents:
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminution in vehicle value
- Lost wages (past, ongoing, and future)
- Rental car expenses
- Household help expenses
- Funeral and burial costs (in wrongful death cases)
- Loss of companionship (in wrongful death cases)
You can claim compensation for these and many other losses you’ve endured as a result of the accident. Ask your attorney about the specific forms of compensation that might be available in your situation.
Car Insurance Laws in Washington
We want you to be familiar with Washington’s minimum mandatory car insurance requirements because they can play an important role in your accident claim.
If the person who caused your accident has only the bare minimum insurance, they have:
- Bodily injury: $25,000 (per person) / $50,000 (per accident)
- Property damage: $10,000
Your own auto insurance policy comes into play too. Washington is one of several states to adopt Personal Injury Protection insurance (PIP). Under this system, your own insurance company will pay for your medical and wage loss damages in the accident up to your PIP coverage limit, regardless of who caused the crash. (The at-fault driver might then be required to reimburse the insurer for some or all of the PIP funds out of your final settlement.) While it is possible to opt out of PIP in writing, many drivers in Washington carry PIP coverage of at least $10,000 per accident.
Your car insurance policy can also kick in if you’re injured by a driver who has too little insurance coverage (or no insurance coverage at all). This is called Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage, and it is included in many Washington auto insurance policies — though some drivers choose to opt out by signing a written waiver. We strongly encourage you to carry these additional coverages. If your policy does include this type of insurance, it must offer at least the following minimum coverage:
- Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury: $25,000 (per person) / $50,000 (per accident)
- Underinsured Motorist Property Damage: $10,000 (per accident)
What Damages Are Paid for in a Port Orchard, WA Car Accident?
If you suffer injury, you are entitled by law to recover compensation for the costs of those injuries.
There are cases, however, in which the victim might also have played a small part in causing the accident.
That situation gets addressed differently in different jurisdictions. Here in Washington, courts have adopted the system of Comparative Negligence.
Here’s how it works (using a hypothetical example for illustration):
The Story of Janet and David
Janet pulls up to an intersection. She quickly looks for oncoming traffic and doesn’t see any, so she makes a left turn. At that very moment, David comes barreling down the road toward Janet, driving 30 miles over the speed limit. David’s car hits Janet’s.
David is unharmed, but Janet suffers $100,000 in damages. She sues him. A court might decide that David owes Janet because he was speeding. But the judge or jury might also decide that Janet should have looked more carefully before making her left turn.
In a Comparative Negligence system like Washington’s, the court will need to assign a portion of fault to each party. A judge might decide David was 90% responsible but that Janet was 10% at fault too. The court would then reduce Janet’s total damages award ($100,000) by her 10% portion of fault. Janet’s total court award would come to $90,000.
Ask an experienced lawyer to review the facts of your Port Orchard car accident and determine how much you might be able to claim in damages. Comparative Negligence does not apply in all cases — only those where both parties are at legal fault.
Car Accident Statistics in Washington
You probably are aware that car accidents happen from time to time, but you might be shocked to learn just how common they are.
We can all be lulled into a false sense of comfort by the fact that we don’t personally witnesses crashes on a daily basis. However, the truth is that accidents happen in The Evergreen State every day.
Take a look at these figures from the Washington State Department of Transportation’s 2016 traffic report:
- 18,037: the number of crashes with a teenager behind the wheel
- 12,314: the number of crashed involving distracted driver (texting, etc.)
- 6,922: the number of crashes with a drunk driver involved
- 1,900: the number of crashes where someone was seriously injured
- 508: the number of crashes where someone died
- 35,722: the number of “less serious” traffic accidents reported
Steps to Take After a Port Orchard, WA Car Accident
While you can’t completely protect yourself from auto accidents, you can take power over the situation in the minutes that follow a collision. Calmness, clarity, and wisdom will go a long way in protecting your interests and getting you the help you need.
We recommend familiarizing yourself with the following post-crash protocol:
- Contact the police. Pick up the nearest phone and call 911. (If you are certain the accident is minor, you may call the police department’s local line instead. Don’t leave the scene without police permission, no matter how small the crash might seem.)
- Ask for paperwork at the scene. Ask the other driver(s) for their car insurance information. Ask the police officer for a copy of the police report (or at least a police report number so you can access it online later).
- Use your phone to take photos. Pictures from the scene of the crash can prove very useful later.
- Notify your provider. Auto insurance companies need to know that a claim is on its way. After you’ve gotten the emergency under control, call your car insurance company and tell them about the crash.
- Call a physician’s office if you have any injuries in the hours or days following the accident. Tell them you were in a car accident and request a checkup. Even if you are “only” sore and don’t think it’s a “big deal,” it is very important — for both your health and your legal interests — that you see a physician soon.
- Schedule a consultation with our Port Orchard car accident lawyers by calling 800-570-4878. We recommend putting our phone number and firm name, Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys at Law in your contacts list today. That way, you’ll have a local lawyer’s contact information handy when you need it.
Should I Hire a Port Orchard Car Accident Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer is truly in your best interest. It won’t cost you anything up front, it improves your chances of getting more money from your claim, and it allows you to pass so much of your stress and frustration to someone else — namely, a professional.
Handling your claim or talking directly with insurance adjusters (who aren’t in your corner and are actively working against you) is never recommended.
Car Accident Lawyers Serving Port Orchard
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Port Orchard auto accident, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible.
The earlier we get involved in a case, the more helpful we can be for you and your family. Washington law applies a strict statute of limitations to most auto accident cases, so it is critical that you not delay. Waiting too long could mean you lose your shot at meaningful justice forever.
Please contact our firm and ask about a no-cost, no-obligation case review today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Port Orchard
Can I file a car accident injury claim in Port Orchard, WA?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have a case until you’ve reviewed the situation in detail with a lawyer. Insurance representatives are very good at making you feel like considering legal action would be silly or futile. But make no mistake: if someone else caused you injury by driving negligently, you have a right to take legal action to get the compensation you’re owed.
What is required to prove a case of auto accident negligence in Washington?
It is your lawyer’s job to build a persuasive case and meet every element required by negligence law in Washington. These elements include:
- That the driver had a duty to behave carefully
- That the driver failed to meet that duty
- That the driver’s careless behavior caused your injuries or losses
- That you have suffered damages as a result
You might not be sure yet whether your case meets all those elements. That’s okay. An attorney can give you a better idea of how the law applies to the facts of your case. You could be entitled to more than you realize. Victims often are.
Should I accept the insurance settlement? It seems like a quick solution.
The insurance company’s proposed solution might be quick, but it probably benefits them a lot more than it benefits you. Insurance companies don’t work for you. Their goal is to pad their own pockets, not yours. As tempting as the insurance settlement might seem, we think you owe it to yourself to at least talk to a lawyer and ask about your options.
Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys at Law, offers no-risk, cost-free case reviews: This your chance to get answers and consider your choices before you agree to anything with the insurer.
How long would my Port Orchard car accident claim take?
We work hard to reach a resolution for our clients as quickly as possible. The timeline for your claim will depend on how complex the legal issues are and how long it takes you to recover from any physical injuries — among other factors. We can give you a clearer sense of a potential timeline during your initial case review. Please contact our office right away.