Understanding Your Rights After an Accident in Puyallup, Washington
You can spend your whole life driving safely and following the rules of the road carefully, and still, you might end up in a car accident because of someone else’s carelessness.
Bad drivers are a fact of life. Try as you might, there is no way to completely protect yourself against them. And when their negligence causes a crash, you can find yourself injured, distressed, and overwhelmed. But you won’t be alone.
Auto accidents caused by negligence are regrettable and unfair. So are insurance claims adjusters who don’t offer you enough money to adequately compensate you for your damages.
Fortunately, car crash victims in Washington have rights — including the right to compensation to make them whole again — and an experienced Puyallup car accident attorney can help them get what they deserve.
If you or a loved one is suffering after an auto accident in Puyallup, Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys at Law can help. We are a family of lawyers (literally!) who fight all day, every day to get injured Washingtonians the money they deserve. And we don’t ask you to pay anything up front for our services. We only charge a fee if we’re successful.
Let us assist you today.
What Is a Car Accident Lawyer?
Simply put, a car accident lawyer’s job is to fight to get you the very best outcome. An effective lawyer is a zealous advocate. He or she represents your legal interests, not the other side’s.
In car accident litigation, one of the lawyer’s chief jobs is to increase your compensation as much as possible. Often, that can be achieved through skillful and aggressive negotiation with the defendant. In other cases, it means going to court. Either way, your money matters, and the right lawyer will be mindful of that.
But there’s a personal component to the attorney-client relationship too. Your car accident lawyer should respect you, understand your life situation and your goals, and give you the timely attention you deserve.
At Fuller & Fuller, we understand how stressful car accident claims can be when you don’t have a lawyer. The whole point of hiring legal counsel is to reduce that stress and improve your chances of success. We work hard to do both those things for you.
Everyone in our family is a lawyer. We’ll treat you like part of our family too.
Compensation Available in a Puyallup Car Accident Claim
The compensation available to auto accident victims in Puyallup often includes:
- Medical expenses
- Pain & suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical therapy/rehabilitation costs
- Diminution in your vehicle’s value
- Lost income due to time away from work
- Rental car costs
- The cost of hiring help around the house after an accident
- Wrongful death damages (e.g., burial expenses, loss of companionship, future wages, etc.)
These are general examples of damages that are widely recognized in Washington courts. You might be able to claim these or other damages, depending on the specific facts surrounding your case.
Car Insurance Requirements for Drivers in Washington
When you carry auto insurance, you’re looking out for yourself and everyone you share the road with. The more coverage you have, the better shielded you’ll be from liability if you cause an accident. Similarly, if someone causes an auto accident and you suffer injuries, you hope they have more than enough insurance to cover all your damages. There are steps you can take to protect yourself from uninsured drivers!
All fifty states have adopted rules requiring drivers to carry at least basic car insurance. Each state sets different minimum coverage amounts.
The minimum car insurance coverage requirements for Washington drivers are as follows:
- Bodily injury liability (per person): $25,000
- Bodily injury liability (per accident): $50,000
- Property damage liability: $10,000
- Personal Injury Protection (per accident): $10,000
- Uninsured Motorist (bodily injury per person): $25,000
- Uninsured Motorist (bodily injury per accident): $50,000
- Underinsured Motorist (property damage per accident): $10,000
Most auto insurance providers in our state will offer all these provisions in their standard policies. Of course, you have the option of adding additional coverage (a very good idea in many cases) or of waiving the Uninsured Motorist and Personal Injury Protection coverages (waiving is not recommended).
Unfortunately, the at-fault driver’s policy limits are sometimes insufficient to cover the full cost of your accident. In those cases, your Underinsured Motorist Coverage can provide some additional financial relief. You can also talk with your Puyallup car accident attorney about additional or alternative avenues for compensation that might be available, depending on the circumstances of your claim.
Who is Responsible for Damages in a Car Accident Claim in Washington?
When a driver buys an auto insurance policy, the insurer agrees to pay for any damages the driver negligently causes with their car (assuming the damages are covered by the policy and within the policy’s coverage limits). Most claims, therefore, involve negotiation with the insurance company, not the at-fault party directly. (Alternatively, if there isn’t enough insurance on the table, you might be able to pursue compensation directly from the individual driver.)
There are cases, however, in which you and the other driver might both share in the liability for the crash.
For example, if a driver is speeding and rear-ends you, but you also had broken tail lights at the time so the rear driver didn’t know you were braking, a court might decide you are 30% responsible. Assuming you suffered $10,000 in damages, you would only be able to collect $7,000. (In other words, your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault.) This is called comparative negligence.
An experienced Puyallup car accident attorney can help you identify potential sources of compensation and explain whether comparative negligence might apply to your claim.
Washington Car Accident Statistics
According to WSDOT car accident data, there is one motor vehicle accident every five minutes in the state of Washington.
In 2016 alone, our state documented more than 508 fatal crashes, with nearly 1,900 more causing serious injuries. In all, there were 35,772 traffic accidents with at least minor injuries reported during the same year.
It is equally concerning that, the WSDOT’s data also shows that among Washington auto accidents in 2016:
- 12,000 were caused by a distracted driver
- 18,000 were caused by a teen driver
- Nearly 7,000 were caused by a drunk driver
- An additional 7,000 crashes involved motorcycles or large vehicles such as commercial trucks and buses
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Puyallup, WA
Now is the right time to commit these steps to memory — before you need them.
- Keep calm and call 911. Ask for emergency medical attention for yourself or anyone who needs it. Even if no one is hurt, you must report the accident to the police. Do not leave until they tell you to.
- Exchange information. You will need the other drivers’ insurance information, and they will need yours.
- Document everything. Names, license plates, street names, vehicle makes & models, contact information for eyewitnesses, and any important details about how the accident happened. Photograph as much as you can including the vehicle damage. Back up those photos as soon as possible.
- Call your insurance company. The phone number is usually on the back of your auto insurance card. Keep this handy in your wallet or inside your car.
- Make a doctor’s appointment. See a doctor soon after the accident if you are injured. Physicians know the right questions to ask and exams to run after an auto accident. Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long to see a doctor.
- Contact a Puyallup car accident attorney. Go ahead and pull out your mobile device while you’re reading this webpage. Store our law firm, Fuller & Fuller, under “Car Crash Lawyer”: 800-570-4878. You’ll be glad you did.
Should I Hire a Puyallup Car Accident Attorney?
While there is no law requiring you to hire a lawyer, your chances of getting comprehensive compensation are much better if you do. Hiring the right lawyer can make all the difference.
We are a family of attorneys determined to handle our clients’ cases with passion. We don’t take a “factory” approach to the practice of law. Every case is personal, and we fight for the absolute best outcomes.
We know every penny matters to you, so every penny matters to us too.
Car Accident Attorneys Serving Puyallup
Please don’t make the mistake of blindly accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer before consulting with a seasoned Puyallup car accident lawyer. The consultation is free, and if we take your case, you won’t have to pay anything upfront. We only charge a fee if we get you compensation.
A statute of limitations applies to most car accident claims in Washington, so please pick up the phone or use our website to contact us right away. Our car accident attorneys at Fuller & Fuller will fight for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Puyallup, WV
Can I file a car accident injury claim in Puyallup, WA?
If you suffer injury or losses as a result of a motor vehicle collision within the state of Washington, you have the right to take legal action, including filing a lawsuit to claim compensation for damages. However, many claims are resolved without having to file a lawsuit.
You are not limited to the options presented to you by an insurance company. Whether your injuries seem big or small, we encourage you to discuss all your options with an experienced car accident attorney in Puyallup as early as possible.
How much money can I get in a Puyallup vehicle accident case?
Monetary compensation in Washington car crash cases varies from one to the next. The nature of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and your share in the assignment of fault (if any) will all factor into your total recovery.
While we cannot promise you any particular outcome, we can help you understand what’s available to you under the law — and how much money Puyallup plaintiffs in similar situations have gotten in the past.
The more we learn about your case, the more insight we can give. Give us a call.
How long does the process typically take?
At Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys at Law, we work hard to resolve cases as quickly as possible without compromising your legal interests. Insurance companies are sometimes prone to prolonging cases unnecessarily — either as a tactic or because they are overwhelmed with other cases. But you are entitled to have your accident claim handled in good faith and within a reasonable amount of time.
We will work tirelessly to shepherd your case toward a swift and just outcome — but we also want to make sure we don’t rush you into a settlement prematurely. If you haven’t recovered from your physical injuries yet, for example, it might be a better strategy to hold off on settling your claim until you heal. In any event, the sooner our office can get involved, the more effective we can be as your advocates and advisers.
The insurance company wants to settle. Is that a good idea?
Please don’t agree to any settlements prior to talking to an attorney. There might be more on the line than you know. Insurance adjusters don’t make settlement offers to benefit you; they do it to benefit the insurance company. Remember: insurers do not represent you or work for you.
Call us, talk to a Puyallup car accident attorney and then decide.