It only takes a moment for a car accident to happen, but the repercussions of that accident can impact victims for months or years and, sometimes, even for the rest of their lives. Judging how an accident can impact someone’s long-term health and finances can be difficult. Can you be sure that an insurance company will offer you the money you need for your immediate and future medical needs? What can you expect in the coming weeks and months after a serious automobile accident? These are questions that run through every victim’s mind, but often a victim doesn’t know where to turn for transparent and honest answers to these questions.
The Kennewick personal injury lawyers of Tamaki Law have experience handling serious car accident claims. We understand how these events impact victims today and in the future. That is why we use the law to help victims pursue fair compensation for their injuries and expenses. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and want more information on how you may be able to recover valuable compensation, turn to the legal team at Tamaki Law for answers. Call us today at (509) 783-8333 for a free case evaluation, and let’s talk about how we may be able to help you.
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Why Do You Need an Experienced Kennewick Car Accident Attorney?
It’s true that car accidents happen just about every day on Washington roads, which means insurance companies have their hands full dealing with claims. It is in their best interest to settle a claim as quickly and as cheaply as possible. That way, they can move on to the next claim in the pile. Insurance companies are for-profit entities, which means that making a profit is what keeps them in business. Can you be certain that after a serious crash, the insurance company has taken the time needed to thoroughly investigate and assign a fair value to your claim?
Having an attorney on your side after a crash can make a world of difference in the amount of compensation you receive. An attorney can help protect your rights while making sure you aren’t being taken advantage of. While the victim focuses on their needs, their attorney can focus on ways to help get the victim the full and fair value of their claim. How can an attorney help accomplish this? At Tamaki Law, we do it by focusing on the things that matter: things that can make a difference in a car accident case, such as:
- Helping the victim file all necessary claim paperwork and forms
- Advising the victim of their legal rights and all available avenues for pursuing compensation
- Handling all communication with the insurance company and third parties
- Ensuring that all communication is accurate and advocates for the best interests of the client
- Investigating the cause of the collision
- Gathering and preserving evidence before it is lost or destroyed
- Collecting police reports, witness statements, and crucial medical documentation
- Assessing the value of the claim
- Negotiating a fair settlement
- Preparing a court case if an insurance company is unwilling to negotiate in good faith
- Communicating important information to the client in a clear and transparent way
At Tamaki Law, we understand how frightening and isolating it can feel to be involved in a serious car accident. It can be overwhelming to deal with medical bills, the pain of significant injuries, and to juggle calls from persistent insurance adjusters. You don’t have to keep all the balls in the air yourself. Pass them off to an experienced car accident attorney instead.
Let us help you recover the compensation you deserve. Talk to a seasoned Kennewick car accident attorney about your situation today.
Car Accidents Cases We Handle
There are several different types of car accidents. Each one has its own set of unique circumstances. Understanding the difference between the accident types and how they happen is crucial when it comes to investigating the situation and assigning liability.
At Tamaki Law, we have experience dealing with a wide variety of different car accidents. We believe that this experience translates into results for the clients that we work with. Some of the car accident claims that we handle include:
- Head-on collisions
- T-bone accidents
- Wrong-way crashes
- Rollover accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Hit and run accidents
- Drunk driving cases
- Distracted driving accidents
- Mechanical defect accidents
- Accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers
While this list is extensive, it doesn’t cover the entire range of cases we have encountered. If you’ve been injured in any type of serious car accident that wasn’t your fault, contact the legal team at Tamaki Law today to discuss how we may be able to help you.
Common Causes of Kennewick Car Accidents
The Washington State Department of Transportation estimates that in Benton County in 2019, there were a total of 3,482 car accidents. While accidents happen for a wide variety of reasons, the most common cause of Kennewick car accidents boils down to just one thing: basic negligence. The U.S. Department of Transportation finds that at least 94 percent of car accidents can be traced back to driver error.
Distracted driving continues to top the list of negligent behaviors that cause significant car accidents. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission attributes 30 percent of all crash fatalities and at least 23 percent of all serious crashes to distracted driving. These disturbing numbers have led state officials to target this behavior with new laws and a series of educational campaigns. However, there are numerous other causes of serious accidents, as well. Some of the more common causes of automobile accidents in Washington include:
- Distracted driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Fatigued driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failing to yield
- Construction zone hazards
- Mechanical defects
- Poor weather conditions
Injuries Common in Car Accidents
Car accidents can be violent and turbulent events. The resulting injuries may be severe and can impact a victim for months or years or even the rest of their life. Some of the most common injuries that result from serious car accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Other head, neck, and spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Internal injuries
- Organ damage
- Wrongful death
What Compensation Is Available for Kennewick Car Accident Claims?
Victims injured in car accidents may be able to obtain compensation meant to cover their losses related to the accident. These losses are typically broken down into economic damages and noneconomic damages. One is a total of the measurable losses a victim has suffered, such as the cost of medical bills or lost wages, while the other is the total of subjective losses, such as quality of life changes and pain and suffering. Assessing the value of both economic and noneconomic damages results in an estimation of the total amount of compensation that a victim may be due.
While this value depends on how the accident happened and how severe the victim’s injuries are, in general, most victims may be able to recover money to compensate them for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
However, the total value of the claim isn’t always the same as what a victim can expect to walk away with. Washington has a law known as “pure comparative negligence” that all courts must follow when it comes to establishing liability and allocating compensation after an accident. This regulation stipulates that the amount of money a person may collect is tied directly to their portion of responsibility for causing the accident. If a victim is ten percent responsible for the accident, they may be able to collect the total amount of their damages minus ten percent.
Even at-fault drivers are allowed to recover compensation under the pure comparative negligence model. If a driver is 90 percent at fault for causing a collision, they can seek the total amount of their damages minus 90 percent. However, being the at-fault driver means that they, or their insurance provider, are also liable for paying the victim’s portion of the damages, as well.
Understanding the pure comparative negligence rule is important if a case makes its way to court, but it’s also important to understand because it influences the decisions of insurance adjusters. When an insurance adjuster is considering a car accident claim and assessing its value, they will typically consider how the case would play out in court. This guides their estimates as they evaluate a claim and determine what settlement offer to make.
Whether you file a claim or take your case to court, you need an experienced attorney on your side who understands how the pure comparative negligence law impacts your specific claim. Thoroughly investigating the accident and collecting evidence can help establish liability and strengthen your claim, giving you the best chance possible at a favorable outcome and a fair compensation package.
Don’t Wait to Talk to an Experienced Attorney
After a serious car accident, it can feel as if time moves differently. Weeks can go by in the blink of an eye, but days seem slow and drawn out during the painful recovery process. While no one wants to be bound to the calendar, measuring the march of time since the date of their traumatic accident, it is important to keep a good sense of time about your claim. Washington gives victims of car accidents a strict three-year time limit when it comes to filing a legal claim to recover compensation. Once this statute of limitations deadline has expired, so, too, does the hope of recovering compensation following an accident through the court system.
Many victims make the mistake of ignoring this time limit because they have filed their claim with an insurance company. However, if an insurance company drags its feet resolving a claim or fails to negotiate in good faith, a lawsuit may be the only viable option left for recovering compensation. Let the insurance company drag the process out for too long, and that statute of limitations may expire. Filing a lawsuit after the three-year anniversary of the accident will typically result in the case being dismissed.
Hiring an attorney as soon as possible gives you the best chance at a favorable outcome for your situation. An attorney will have the ability to gather and preserve evidence before it is lost or destroyed, and they will be able to manage important deadlines related to the case. If an insurance company is not negotiating in good faith or is attempting to take advantage of the victim, an attorney will be able to begin the process of filing a lawsuit.
Dangerous Areas in Kennewick
Car accidents can happen anywhere that there are cars, yet some Kennewick roads are much more dangerous than others. Local law enforcement officers have targeted the corner of Canal Drive and Edison Street as just such a location. The site has been home to dozens of distracted driving accidents over the years. In just 3 ½ hours on a Saturday, officers issued 33 distracted driving citations at that one location.
Other intersections in the city known for being danger zones include:
- Columbia Center Boulevard and Canal Drive
- Columbia Center and Quinault Avenue
- Columbia Center and Clearwater Avenue
- Edison Street and Clearwater Avenue
I-82 leading from the Tri-Cities to Yakima is also an area with frequent and heavy traffic, prone to accidents. Many of the interstates on and off-ramps are also danger zones, especially for failure to yield accidents and unsafe lane changes. 395 and 240 can also be dangerous areas for Kennewick motorists and drivers traveling through the area.
Important Steps to Take After a Serious Accident
Being involved in a car accident is frightening. It may be hard to think clearly in the moments after a crash, but the actions you take directly after a crash and in the months following can have a significant impact on the outcome of an accident claim. From common-sense tips to little known facts about accident claims, here are some of the important steps that you should take after a collision:
If possible, move to a safe spot where you won’t cause traffic problems and potentially another crash. Then you need to assess everyone involved for injuries and immediately contact the proper authorities to report the accident. Medical attention for the injured needs to be the top priority. It is also important to contact authorities because they can file an official police report about the crash, which may be useful when filing a claim. They can also provide traffic control and support to ensure that others aren’t impacted by the crash or that a secondary crash doesn’t take place.
Exchange Information and Document the Accident
If you are physically able, try to collect as much information about the crash as possible. Exchange information with the other driver and take photos of the scene and the damage caused. Photograph skid marks, broken glass or taillights, and traffic signs. If there are witnesses present, be sure to get their contact information as well.
Get Medical Treatment and Stick with It
Even if you feel like you aren’t seriously injured, after a crash you need to get medical attention. A symptom as minor as a headache or whiplash can be a sign of a concussion or a serious spinal injury. Significant injuries may mean hospital stays or surgical intervention. No matter what your condition, it is extremely important that you seek medical attention and follow through with all the physician’s orders and treatment plans. Medical documentation is an especially important piece of an accident claim. A lack of medical documentation or failure to follow doctor’s orders can seriously impact the amount of compensation you may be able to recover.
Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
In the days and weeks after the accident, you’ll be interacting with doctors, insurance adjusters, and a variety of other people. The accident claims process can begin to feel overwhelming. Shift that burden onto a knowledgeable attorney who can handle communication with the insurance company, collect evidence, and help you file paperwork.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
Hopefully, by this point, you’ll have retained legal counsel. Your attorney can then oversee communicating with the insurance company on your behalf. Too often, after an accident, the victim will contact the insurance company right away and can be coerced into making statements on the record that can impact the success of their claim. It is always better to give an official written statement to the insurance company, rather than an oral, recorded statement.
Social Media Blackout
Now is not the time to take to social media to drum up support from family and friends. Do not post anything on social media, and do not talk about your accident online. Insurance adjusters or lawyers can take this information and potentially use it against you.
Keep Detailed Records and Receipts
Be sure to keep copies of all your medical paperwork, bills, and receipts that pertain to your treatment or any money you’ve spent related to the accident. Make sure you also keep copies of car repair estimates, letters from the insurance company, and other relevant documentation.
In addition to bills and receipts, you may also want to consider keeping a pain journal. This is a personal account of how you feel on a day-to-day basis and the struggles you may have encountered as a result of your injuries. This can help your doctor get a clearer picture of your injuries and how the treatment is working. It can be a therapeutic part of the recovery process, and it may help support your accident claim.
Negotiating a Settlement and Reviewing Offers
An insurance company will review the claim and then come back to you or your attorney with what they estimate should be your compensation. Taking their first offer may not be in your best interest. Review the offer with your attorney, and let the negotiations begin. This is where your attorney will assess the value of your claim and compare it to the offer from the insurance company. If the company refuses to negotiate in good faith, it may be in your best interest to have the attorney file a lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced Kennewick Car Accident Attorney Today
At Tamaki Law, we’ve built our reputation on integrity and results. We have extensive experience using the law to help car accident victims pursue the compensation they deserve following a significant accident. If you’ve been impacted by a collision that was someone else’s fault and want to find out more about how an attorney can help you, contact our office at (509) 783-8333. We can set up a free consultation to discuss your case and answer your questions.