There are thousands of car accidents in Washington State every year. Some of these are relatively insignificant, resulting in little more than a scratched bumper or minuscule dent. Others are more serious and include significant property damage. Others still are severe and result in catastrophic and devastating injuries. All of these may require a car accident claim.
The severity of the accident you are involved in will play a direct role in how you should handle your auto accident claim.
What to Do After a Car Accident
When you are involved in a car accident, the steps you take–both immediately after and in the weeks that follow–can play an influential role in your claim. If you are able, immediately following your accident you should:
- Report the accident to emergency services
- Check yourself and vehicle occupants for injury
- Get contact, vehicle, and insurance information from all involved drivers
- Get contact information for any witnesses
- Take pictures of the scene from multiple angles
It is important that you do not suggest you are to blame for the accident when speaking with emergency responders or your insurance company. Too many factors can go into an accident for you to be certain before an investigation is conducted. And remember, Washington recognizes comparative fault in these cases. Even if you share some of the blame, you may be entitled to compensation. (See RCW Section 4.22.005)
You are under no obligation to talk to any insurance provider outside of your own. You do not need to give a statement or interact with anyone from another insurer.
If necessary, as soon as possible after a car accident, you should seek medical attention. Some injuries can take several days–and in some cases months–to show symptoms. A full medical examination will help to spot and treat these injuries more quickly.
A Note on Severe Injury
Attorney Marya Fuller understands that severe injury will prevent you from taking action on the scene of the accident. As a specialist in accident and injury law, she knows how to conduct thorough investigations into these incidents, enabling her to establish liability and build strong cases for victims of life-altering injuries.
Attorney Fuller is here to listen to your story and provide her experienced legal opinion on the best way to handle your claim.
What Is the First Step in Filing a Car Accident Claim
The first step in filing a claim after a motor vehicle accident is contacting your auto insurance company to report the incident. From there, your insurer will assign an adjuster to your case who will investigate your car accident claim and determine its worth. The adjuster will reveal their findings in a report that the insurance company will use to determine how much compensation your accident is worth.
If you accept a settlement offer, your claim is through. Unfortunately, this is true even when compensation is inadequate. Once you have accepted a settlement offer from insurance, you will no longer have the option of hiring an attorney to get you a better deal or filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Will My Insurance Rates Go Up if I File a Car Accident Claim?
No. If the accident was not your fault, filing a claim should not impact your rates.
What About My Legal Options?
If your car accident claim involves serious injury, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. While you have three years to file a lawsuit, it is always a good idea to speak with an attorney right away.
Talking to a lawyer after a car accident allows you to understand all of your rights and explore your various options. In some cases, insurance settlements are sufficient, but there’s only one way to be sure. Having a qualified and experienced attorney review your offer can help you determine if legal action might be a better option.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Seek?
After an auto accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation for:
- Economic Damages. These are actual costs associated with your accident. Think of things like medical bills, vehicle repair, money lost while you couldn’t work, and any modifications to your residence made necessary by your injuries such as ramps, retrofits, or railings.
- Noneconomic Damages. These are things for which there is no actual, provable cost. Covering concerns like physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, anxiety, PTSD, and similar issues that, while not financial in nature, deserve compensation.
Insurance companies are often quite good at paying economic damages for property damage. However, long-term economic damages may not be covered by insurance offers. Noneconomic damages are seldom even considered.
If you believe you are entitled to more than you are being offered by your insurance company, having a car accident lawyer review your claim can help you determine your next best steps.
Can I Even Afford an Attorney?
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that you are not required to pay legal fees unless they win your case. It is, however, a good idea to carefully review your contingency agreement so you are aware of how much your attorney may take if you win.
Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC works on an incredibly simple contingency basis. We get paid a percentage of your final settlement or verdict. There are no up-front costs.
We are always upfront about our fees and do not try to hide advantageous provisions in our agreements. The standard fee for an auto accident claim with attorney Marya Fuller is 1/3 of the final settlement if a lawsuit is not required. During your obligation-and-cost-free consultation, she would be happy to answer any additional questions about legal costs and fees to help make sure you are fully comfortable before you agree to anything.
Making sure you are comfortable, taken care of, and always kept in the loop is all part of the representation offered by Attorney Fuller. In her more than three decades of experience helping victims of serious injury get justice, Mayra Fuller has become known as a thoughtful, attentive, and successful plaintiff’s attorney. As an accident and injury specialist, she has the background needed to establish liability and determine the full worth of injuries stemming from auto accidents.
Discuss Your Car Accident Claim for Free
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic event, and dealing with the aftermath is often overwhelming. You may be injured, your car may be damaged, and you might be unsure about what steps to take next. Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC is here to help.
If you need assistance, call (800) 570-4878 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation today. We represent victims of serious injury throughout Washington from our offices in Olympia and Tacoma.