Trucking and Automobile Accidents
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Trucking and Automobile Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents happen every day — there were more than 86,000 motor vehicle accidents in Washington State in 2020, resulting in more than 2,000 potentially serious injuries and 500 deaths. Serious injuries can affect a person’s ability to work, or result in lifelong pain and disability.

The attorneys at Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC help accident victims get compensated for injuries, wrongful death and collision damage from auto, trucking, bus and motorcycle accidents.

What are motor vehicle accidents?

  • Car accidents, often caused by distractions like cellphone use, speeding, drunk driving, fatigue and breaking traffic laws.
  • Trucking accidents, often resulting from fatigued and stressed drivers operating huge vehicles with large blind spots.
  • Bus accidents, which can be dangerous since buses often don’t have seat belts.
  • Motorcycle accidents, which are often more dangerous and catastrophic than car accidents.
  • Defective roadways, or when a road’s design or neglect leads to serious accidents.

What do I do after a motor vehicle accident?

If you’ve been in an accident, first find out if anyone needs medical attention and dial 911 immediately for an ambulance if they do. Make sure everyone is safe, and move to the side of the road if needed and possible.

Everyone should remain at the scene of the accident, including witnesses. Call the police to take a report, but don’t take responsibility for the accident without speaking to an attorney first. Take thorough pictures of the scene and all damage, and exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver or drivers.

What kind of injuries can result from motor vehicle crashes?

These events can cause devastating injuries that require immediate emergency medical attention. Some injuries from catastrophic collisions and truck accidents include brain trauma, paralysis, spinal cord damage, broken or dislocated bones, internal bleeding, damage to internal organs, amputated limbs, or severe cuts.

Some injuries may not be immediately obvious. For example, you might not feel a concussion, whiplash or herniated disk right away, especially since adrenaline will be rushing through your system during a traumatic event. Pain might arise after some time has passed. If you sustained any head injury during the accident, you should seek medical attention in case of a concussion.

What do I do after an accident?

Before you speak to any insurance companies, you should speak to an attorney. The insurance company of the other driver will try to pin the blame on you. An experienced attorney will know whether you are entitled to compensation for injuries or property damage, and will know how to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company.

What kind of compensation could I be entitled to?

In Washington State, the law reduces any recovery you are entitled to by your share of the blame for the accident. In other words, a jury verdict will be reduced by 25 percent if you are found to be 25 percent to blame for the accident.

Compensatory damages include reimbursements for medical costs, any lost income, and pain and suffering. People involved in very serious accidents may be entitled to damages from emotional distress, such as sleep loss or anxiety. There could also be damages for loss of enjoyment if you are unable to participate in favorite activities because of your injuries. If a driver was especially reckless, you might be entitled to punitive damages.

If a family member died in an accident, your family may be entitled to wrongful death damages. Although no amount of money will ever make up for the death of a loved one, these damages are meant to compensate for lost wages, funeral expenses, and the emotional trauma caused by a sudden, untimely death.

If I speak to an attorney, will I need to go to court?

An experienced attorney will negotiate with insurance companies to arrive at a settlement before taking your case to court. If a settlement offer falls short of what you deserve, the attorney will handle court filings for you and walk you through the litigation process.

The statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit in Washington State is three years from the date of an accident. However, it’s best to speak to an attorney right away to ensure you have proper documentation for your case.

What kind of documentation should I gather after a vehicle accident?

It’s a good idea to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to give a detailed account of the accident when your memory is fresh. If circumstances allow, extensive pictures of the accident are preferable, as well as injuries, and it’s a good idea to document injuries as time progresses. Be sure to obtain copies of police reports and medical records. All this evidence will help build the strongest case.

An experienced motor vehicle accident attorney will examine your case and advise you about every step of the process to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Speak with a lawyer by completing our intake form or calling us at 253-948-3199 or 206-536-2850. All conversations are confidential.