Vancouver, WA Car Accident Attorney
According to statistics gathered by the Washington State Department of Transportation, a car accident occurs in the state every four minutes. On average, a person dies in an automobile accident in Washington every 20 hours. A car crash may lead to long-term, physically and emotionally devastating effects for an innocent person who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you or a loved one has been injured or lost their life in a car accident, it is vital to secure representation from a highly-experienced attorney as soon as possible. The team of attorneys at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC is here to help you seek justice and full compensation in cases of driver negligence.
Why Choose Us?
At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, our litigation team is dedicated to securing justice for the injured in car crash cases in Vancouver and throughout Washington and offer some significant benefits to the people we represent:
- We are aggressive negotiators and experienced trial lawyers. We will not hesitate to take your case to trial to recover the maximum possible compensation.
- We have more than 50 years of combined legal experience that has earned us an outstanding reputation and numerous recognitions from respected organizations.
- We are honest and transparent with our clients at all times, acting in their best interests rather than our own.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
Every car collision is unique in the type of impact, speed, and the injuries sustained. Certain types of injuries commonly occur in auto accidents, including but not limited to:
- Broken bones: These can be hairline fractures or simple breaks. Or they can be compound fractures, in which bone pierces the skin and creates opportunities for dangerous infections inside the body. In some cases, bone is shattered and must be reconstructed with metal plates or pins.
- Neck injuries: When impact occurs, the neck can be suddenly forced forward or to the side. The neck can be sprained or strained, or a disc in the neck can be damaged.
- Back and spinal cord injuries: A car accident can lead to back or spinal cord injuries. This can result in chronic pain or even shattered vertebrae or nerve damage. Lifelong mobility can be affected when the spinal cord is damaged.
- Head and brain injuries: A head injury can lead to permanent visible scars, or a brain injury with a long-term impact on physical and cognitive abilities, or death.
Causes of Car Accidents
When another driver has engaged in reckless or negligent driving behavior, that party must be held accountable for their actions. Common causes of car accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Distracted driving, such as texting while driving.
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Violation of traffic laws. This can range from running a stop light or stop sign to speeding, tailgating, lane violations, illegal turns, and others.
- Car part or vehicle safety system failure.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Vancouver, WA
The moments after a car accident are crucial for insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. Even if you are not sure how the crash happened or who is at fault, it is important to document certain information for later use. If you can move safely and without pain, take the following steps after an accident to avoid lost evidence and missed opportunities to speak to witnesses.
- Call emergency services. If you are involved in a car accident, you may have to report it to the local police. In addition, you may need medical attention for your injuries following a crash. After the accident occurs, call 911 immediately. If you are unable to call 911 due to injury or no access to a cell phone, ask a passerby or the other driver to call for you. When the police arrive on the scene, the responding officer will create an official report that you can use as a crucial piece of evidence later.
- Seek medical care. If you have serious injuries that you notice immediately, seek treatment immediately. You can receive emergency treatment at several hospitals in and around Vancouver. Even if you do not believe that you have serious injuries, it is important to be checked out anyway. You never know what internal injuries you may have that you may not notice at the moment. In addition, do not talk to anyone at the scene about the circumstances of the accident. Even something as simple as saying, “I’m sorry,” could constitute an admission of guilt.
- Collect the driver’s information. To file your insurance claim or lawsuit, you will need to exchange information with the other driver or drivers at the scene. Make sure to provide your name, address, and insurance policy information to other drivers and collect the same information. For the most accurate information, take pictures of licenses and insurance cards instead of writing the information down.
- Document the accident scene. The scene of the accident will be crucial in your insurance claim or lawsuit. Document the moments after an accident in as much detail as possible. If you have access to a cell phone, take pictures and record videos of the crash site. Make sure to take photos of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, the street around the scene, and any traffic signs posted in the area. These photos will help your attorney in launching his or her investigation into the accident.
- Speak to witnesses. If pedestrians are in the area who witnessed the accident speak to them and collect their contact information. Ask these witnesses for their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Your attorney will speak to these people to record their accounts of the accident. These witnesses can help determine who was at fault for the accident, establishing crucial liability in your case.
Even if you think you caused the accident, it is important not to admit fault until you speak to an attorney. You may not have the full picture of the accident. In addition, be careful not to minimize your injuries. Although you may feel fine at the moment, shock or confusion could numb your injuries. Don’t tell the police that you aren’t hurt. Wait until you seek medical care before making a statement about your injuries.
Dealing With Insurance Companies After a Car Accident
Washington State follows a “fault” car accident system. When you need financial compensation for your injuries after a car accident, you will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive this compensation. While the amount of money you can receive is subject to policy limits, if you have injuries or property damage, insurance claims could provide the funds you need.
However, handling insurance claims can be difficult and frustrating after a car accident. While you are trying to obtain the amount of compensation you need to recover, insurance companies have a different goal in mind. Because the company will have to pay for your injuries, it is in the company’s best interest to provide the minimum amount of compensation.
You can negotiate with the insurance adjuster to argue for a higher settlement. You can also hire an attorney to assist you in the claims process. Whichever option you choose to proceed with, you should take caution in how you navigate the insurance claim.
- Do not speak with an adjuster before speaking with an attorney. Do not sign any agreements or orally agree to any settlements. You may not know the extent of your injuries or if the offer is sufficient to cover your injuries. An attorney can help you determine if you are receiving a fair offer.
- Many insurance companies will calculate your damages independently and provide you with a suggested settlement amount. Your attorney can help you calculate your damages as well as provide detailed reasoning as to why you need the compensation.
- Before entering into negotiations, make sure to determine your ideal settlement amount. In addition, determine the lowest amount you would be comfortable with accepting. These numbers can help you determine if a settlement is sufficient for your injuries and whether you should accept an offer.
- If your adjuster still offers you a low settlement after negotiations, ask him or her to justify the reasons why the company is offering a low amount. Write down these reasons and, with the help of your attorney, draft a letter countering each of the reasons. During your next meeting with the adjuster, ask him or her to respond to your letter. This practice can help you secure a fairer settlement amount.
Who is Liable?
The first step in a car accident injury case is to determine liability. A full investigation into the facts must be conducted, including an evaluation of the vehicles, accident scene, interviews with eyewitnesses and an evaluation of the police report from the accident. At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, we have the resources and experience to identify all liable parties, whether another driver, an auto manufacturer or auto parts manufacturer if a vital component of the vehicle failed. If a vehicle accident was the result of dangerous road conditions and a failure to maintain, the entity responsible for the road may be liable.
Why Do You Need an Attorney for Your Car Accident Case?
It is possible to negotiate a car accident insurance claim on your own. However, a car accident attorney can provide numerous benefits to you in handling a claim. Hiring a lawyer to handle your case will help ease stress, provide you with additional resources, and boost your chance of a successful negotiation.
- Your car accident attorney will have the resources, investigation experience, and a network of experts necessary to conduct an in-depth investigation into the facts of your accident. You may not have access to crucial pieces of evidence, such as video security footage, that your attorney could request.
- Your attorney can contact and speak to witnesses using skilled interview techniques. These testimonies will be crucial to your claim and establishing liability in the accident.
- Your attorney will file all paperwork and handle all negotiations on your behalf so that you can focus on recovery, not the case. This assistance can remove significant stress from you and your family.
- Insurance companies tend to offer lower settlements to claimants who do not have legal representation. Having an attorney on your side can help you evaluate if a settlement offer is fair and if you should agree to it.
- Your attorney will have the negotiation skills and experience necessary to argue for a higher settlement figure on your behalf. He or she can also help you take inventory of your damages and calculate an accurate figure so that you are not left with additional debt after the settlement.
Contact Us Today
Contact Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC in Vancouver, WA for a free and private case consultation. We charge no fees unless we win for you.