If you or your loved one have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver you may be wondering whether you can recover financially from mounting medical bills and lost wages. The short answer is you can, and a Seattle distracted driving attorney from our law firm can help.
With the rise of cell phones we have seen an increase in distracted driving. Distracted driving has increased so much so that the state of Washington has made even holding your cell phone while driving as against the law. The less you pay attention to the road, the more likely you are to get into a car accident.
Under Washington law, drivers are required to carry the following insurance:
A distracted driving lawyer can help you collect the settlement amount you deserve. The insurance company is going to do everything they can to convince you to take a lower settlement amount than you deserve. At the end of the day, an insurance company is a business and they will do anything to protect their most important asset: their money.
Hiring a Seattle distracted driving attorney to manage the claims process and handle negotiations with the insurance company will show the insurers that you are serious and aren’t going to fall for any of their tricks. Specifically, a personal injury lawyer can help you build a case that proves the other drive was distracted and legally responsible for you injury by:
All accidents are traumatic and terrifying, but it’s particularly distressing to learn that your accident was entirely preventable if only the other driver had focused their attention on the road. If you’ve been injured due to a distracted driver in Seattle, it’s likely that your accident-related expenses are piling up while you may not yet be able to return to work. A successful distracted driving claim can recover compensation for the following damages:
Once you recover your financial losses plus compensation for pain and suffering, you can focus your energy on maximizing your physical recovery without financial worries.
Every state places a time limit on filing personal injury lawsuits. Washington’s Statute of Limitations for accident claims is three years from the date of the accident. This limit serves to keep evidence and witness testimony available and fresh should the claim progress into a lawsuit in court. About 95% of injury cases settle out of court when a lawyer sends a demand letter stating the evidence of liability and the calculated damages to the appropriate insurance company. The 3-year statute of limitations allows time for back-and-forth negotiation to maximize a settlement before filing a lawsuit if the insurance company doesn’t offer an ample settlement to cover damages.
Rare exceptions to Washington’s statute of limitations include possible extensions if the party at fault flees the state or remains unidentified for a period of time, or if the accident victim is a minor at the time the accident occurs, in which case the three-year clock begins on the victim’s 18th birthday. It’s also sometimes possible to extend the deadline if you later discover an injury that occurred in the accident and went undetected for a period of time.
While most distracted driving accidents settle out of court through an evidence-backed demand letter from a lawyer to the appropriate insurance company, these for-profit companies often try to undervalue a claim to reduce their payout or to deny the claim completely. An experienced accident attorney in Seattle understands how to recognize and counteract common insurance company strategies such as:
It’s best to hire a Seattle distracted driving attorney soon after an accident and then direct all communications with insurance companies to your lawyer.
Under Washington law, distracted driving is illegal. You cannot use OR hold your cell phone while driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stop light. The only exception is if you are calling emergency services.
If you are caught distracted driving you can face a fine of $136 for the first ticket, and $234 for the second ticket.
Cell phones aren’t the only cause of distracted driving. Washington has also passed a law that allows officers to ticket you $99 for grooming, smoking, eating, or reading if it interferes with your driving and you are pulled over for another traffic offense.
Distracted driving accidents tend to be some of the most destructive motor vehicle accidents on the roadways. Because the distracted driver remains unaware of an approaching hazard, they may be driving at full speed when the accident occurs. Injuries typically range from significant to severe or catastrophic. Some common injuries experienced by victims of distracted driving accidents:
Most accident victims require expensive medical treatment and in cases of serious injuries, they may need surgeries, medical procedures, and physical or occupational therapies. Some injuries cause permanent disability or impairment. Whether your injuries were serious enough to require medical care and time away from work, or life-altering and catastrophic, you shouldn’t have to pay for the damages when a distracted driver was at fault.
Anytime something takes a driver’s attention away from the road ahead and off the task of remaining vigilant behind the wheel, it’s distracted driving. The CDC recognizes three types of distracted driving:
While texting and driving is currently the most common cause of distracted driving, there are other distractions that cause accidents including:
When there’s an urgent need to answer a text or search for a dropped item, drivers should always wait until they have a safe place to pull off the road. Accidents happen in an instant. Research shows that a driver at 55mph travels the length of a football field while their eyes are off the road for only 5 seconds—the typical amount of time it takes to read a short text message.
Washington’s at-fault insurance laws require the accident victim to prove liability on the part of the driver before filing a claim against their insurance policy. This can be a challenge in distracted driving accidents. Your attorney can investigate all aspects of the accident to prove liability and fault for the accident. This often requires examining evidence such as:
Once your Seattle distracted driving lawyer gathers evidence to show fault they can use the evidence to demonstrate the following points of legal liability:
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, an average of 3,000 people die in distracted driving accidents each year, peaking at 3,526 in 2015. Distracted driving accident fatalities have decreased since 2015, most likely due to increased awareness, stricter traffic laws, and increased access to hands-free technology; however, the number of deaths has increased again from a low of 2,841 in 2018 up to 3,522 in 2021, nearly matching the record number in 2015.
The CDC offers many other statistics that offer insights into distracted driving accidents including the following:
Our distracted driving accident lawyers in Seattle are standing by to assist in recovering from a distracted driver’s insurance company. We have decades of experience in the distracted driving litigation arena. At The Fang Law Firm, we know all the insurance company’s tricks and can cut through their underhanded tactics. Call us today at (206) 489-5140 for your free case consultation. We’ll help you chart a path to financial recovery.
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