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Washington Car Accident Lawyer

Key Takeaways

  • Insurance companies often try to minimize the compensation paid to accident victims. Seek an experienced legal representative to navigate the challenges your claim.
  • After an accident, alert your insurance provider right away. You should seek medical attention after your accident, even if injuries seem minor.
  • Avoid negotiations with insurance companies or admitting fault, as you may accidentally undermine your case and potential compensation.
  • Seeking a car accident lawyer who is familiar with Washington state’s insurance requirements and the process of determining fault in accidents is essential for a successful injury claim.

Auto accidents are life-altering experiences. In mere seconds, routine becomes chaos. You may have to deal with physical pain and vehicular damage. On top of that, you will have a barrage of questions. How do I handle these mounting medical bills? Will I be able to get fair compensation from an insurance claim? What will I do if I have to miss work for an extended period?

How McPartland Law Offices Can Help With Your Car Accident Injury Claim

McPartland Law Offices have helped many clients receive compensation for their car accident injuries. Our law office has seen how insurance companies, with their vast resources and experienced legal teams, often aim to minimize payouts. They capitalize on your vulnerability, believing you are eager for any sort of settlement offer. Without experienced legal representation, you risk accepting a settlement that will not cover your needs. McPartland Law Offices has the experience and skill to fight for your right to compensation.

There is hope amid this adversity you are facing. Contacting our firm and speaking with Bryce Mcpartland, who understands our state’s complex personal injury laws and legal processes, means you’re putting someone in your corner who will vigorously advocate for your rights. To schedule your free consultation today, call us at 509-495-1247 or fill out our online contact form.

Recent Client Testemonials

“I had a great experience and my lawyer and office staff treated me well and listened to everything I had to say they did everything possible to get me what I deserve from insurance company I never had any doubt in them they are very good at communicating with me and I recommend them 100% thank you for making me feel valuable” – Aurora P.

“Excellent lawyer and work team. They never gave up, they worked hard for my case. I recommend them 100%” – Jany F.

“I had the best experience back in 2019. I really recommend Mcpartland law office and their staff. They were all very professional & polite. Huge thanks to Ruben Vela who did great with my case. Once again THANK YOU for taking the stress off my shoulders. Highly recommend this law office.” – Jose B.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive After a Car Accident?

Two types of damages are available in most Washington personal injury cases: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages For Injury Claims

Economic damages compensate you for your direct losses, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Future medical expenses
  • Expenses associated with accessibility, such as modifying your home to accommodate your injuries
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Funeral costs in wrongful death cases

Non-Economic Damages For Injury Claims

Not all damages that result from a car accident involve money coming out of your pocket. The accident can also diminish the quality of your life. The purpose of non-economic damages is to compensate you for that loss. Non-economic damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of a loved one’s companionship in wrongful death cases

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident in Washington?

You have a time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. In Washington, the deadline is three years from the date of the accident.

Washington Fatal Car Accident Statistics (2013-2022)

According to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, fatal car accidents and injuries have been on a substantial rise since 2013. Practicing safe driving techniques is important to protect yourself and loved ones while driving. According to statistics gathered by the Traffic Safety Commission, auto accident fatalities have risen by 74.81% since 2013 in Washington. Additionally, 32% of car accidents reported between 2013 and 2022 involved speeding in some capacity. This highlights the need as drivers to remain vigilant while operating a motor vehicle on state and county roads.

Other Fatal Car Accident Statistics:

  • 46% of fatal car accidents between 2013 and 2022 involved an impaired driver.
  • 44% of Washington’s fatal accidents involved multiple vehicles.
  • Accidents that resulted in a fatality occurred in urban areas 56% of the time
  • Fridays and Saturdays in 2022 had the largest proportion of fatal car accidents, accounting for 246 accidents (35%)


Three Things You Should Do Immediately After a Car Crash

1. Alert Your Insurance Carrier

  • If you have it, open a claim for anticipated medical bills under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Some people wonder why their insurance needs to participate if the crash was the other person’s fault. This is a well-intentioned but misguided thought.
    In Washington, the other person’s insurance is ‘third-party’ to you and owes you precisely zero meaningful obligations. Your insurance is ‘first-party’ insurance and owes you a duty of good faith. This has enormous implications under Washington law and benefits you tremendously. Think about it this way. Why would you want the insurance of the person who hit you directing or managing payment for any of your care when you need it most?
    Note: If a motor vehicle hits you while you are a pedestrian, the driver’s PIP will cover you.

2. Establish Medical Care

  • Hopefully, you don’t require an emergency room visit or ambulance ride (most crashes with even very serious injuries don’t involve either). That said, you should make an effort in the days following your crash to see your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, heading to the local walk-in for an evaluation and securing a referral for physical therapy or chiropractic care is very, very important. You get no points for being “tough,” and if your need for treatment is not well-documented, the insurance company will treat you as though you were not injured at all. Documentation is critical.

3. Follow Your Provider’s Directives Regarding Treatment

  • Treatment is no fun. Therapy appointments can be a pain, following a treatment protocol can be a major inconvenience, and injections and surgery can be scary. There are going to be days you feel a little bit better and a little bit worse on your road to recovery. That said, your healthcare providers are the experts in determining the length and duration of your care, which specialists you ought to be referred to, whether you should pursue and maintain an at-home program, and so many other factors. At the end of the day, you have an obligation to attempt to work your way back to the best person you can be for yourself and your loved ones. This will also provide a strong narrative to arm your claim with the insurance company. Most importantly, if you do not comply with your doctor’s treatment plan, your insurance can use that as a basis to deny your claim.

rear end car crash on highway in washington

What You Should Not Do After an Accident

Do Not Negotiate

Now is the time to focus on healing and improvement. Now is not the time to establish your case’s value. You do not know all of the at-fault parties (the person who caused the crash may simply be the tip of the iceberg). You do not know all of the available insurance. You do not know the trajectory of your injuries and all that might be required to treat them. There are simply too many unknowns to trust that the insurance company’s initial offer is sufficient or that they have your best interest at heart. Remember that they want to buy out your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible.
At McPartland Law Offices, we will give you the facts and the law but not the hard sell.

We look forward to meeting with you for a free consultation and case review to help you understand how these processes work and what you are up against. If you would like help with your case, we are here for you.

Do Not Admit Fault

Even if you honestly believe you were the at-fault driver in a car crash, you should never admit fault. Your instinct might be to apologize to others involved in the accident, especially if someone was injured. However, at this point, you almost certainly do not have all the facts. Something else might have happened that caused or contributed to the crash. If you admit fault to others at the scene, the other party can use that statement as evidence against you. It could harm your chances of getting compensation for your injuries and make it harder to determine what happened.
The same goes for talking to insurance companies, although you should not speak to anyone at an insurance company without legal representation. Adjusters know many tricks for limiting how much they must pay on an insurance policy. One way is to get someone to admit to being at fault.

Do Not Leave the Scene

Any driver involved in a vehicle collision in the state of Washington must stop, exchange insurance and contact information with other drivers, and notify law enforcement. This applies to accidents involving multiple drivers and collisions with parked cars. If you fail to stop after an accident, the police could consider it a hit-and-run case, leading to serious legal consequences for you.
Stay with your vehicle and wait for police or emergency responders to arrive. The police will investigate the scene and prepare a report about the accident. The police report will be valuable evidence when you file a personal injury claim.

Do Not Forget to Document the Crash

You should gather evidence from the accident scene for your insurance claim. You will need to collect information from the other driver or drivers, but you may also be able to do the following:

  • Take pictures of the accident scene. Note the weather conditions and any road conditions that might have contributed to the accident.
  • Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and any other property damage.
  • Take pictures of your own injuries if they are visible.
  • Get contact information from witnesses at the scene.
  • Make notes about your recollections of the accident, including the direction each vehicle was headed.

This information will be essential when you file your car accident claim.

How is Fault Determined in a Car Accident Washington State?

Under Washington law, the at-fault driver is liable for your injuries. “Fault” is based on a legal theory known as “negligence.” To prove that another driver was negligent, you must establish four elements.

  1. The driver owed a duty of care to you or the general public. Drivers in Washington owe a duty of care to drive safely and obey traffic laws.
  2. The driver breached that duty, such as by driving while drunk, speeding, running a red light, or failing to pay attention to the road.
  3. Their breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
  4. You suffered damages from your injuries, such as medical bills and lost wages.

Washington has a “pure comparative fault” rule that considers your share of the fault. If a jury concludes that you were partly at fault for the accident, it will reduce your damage award by your percentage of fault. Suppose the court finds that you suffered $50,000 in damages, but you were 20 percent at fault. Your damage award would go down by 20 percent to $40,000. In Washington, you can legally recover damages even if you have more responsibility for a collision than the other person who is involved in the crash.

Is Washington a No-Fault Insurance State?

Washington is not a no-fault state. “No-fault” laws allow people to recover compensation from their own insurance companies after a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. In Washington, car accident victims must prove that a driver was legally at fault to recover compensation from their insurance company in a settlement or verdict.

Everyone who operates a motor vehicle on Washington roadways must have a minimum amount of insurance coverage. This includes coverage for injuries caused to others in auto accidents.

You do not have to make a claim on your own insurance policy first. You can submit a claim directly to the insurance company for the at-fault party. They will investigate your claim and decide whether it would make financial sense to offer you a settlement or risk a lawsuit from you. An experienced Washington automobile accident lawyer can help you with this process.

Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents in Washington

Driving can be a dangerous activity. You are at risk for a car accident whenever you get behind the wheel. The Washington State Department of Transportation reports that, in 2021, people drove an average of over 92 million miles per day on the state’s roadways. This presents many opportunities for motor vehicle accidents. Some common causes of car accidents include the following.

  • Speeding
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Road Conditions
  • Dangerous Weather
  • Driver Fatigue

Washington State Speed Limits

Washington state law sets speed limits for different types of roadways. Unless signage indicates otherwise, the speed limits in this state are:

  • 25 miles per hour in cities and towns
  • 50 miles per hour on county roads
  • 60 miles per hour on state highways, although some roads on the Interstate Highway System have speed limits of 70 or 75 miles per hour

Driving faster than the posted speed limit is a common cause of auto accidents. Motorists going too fast have less time to react to traffic and other hazards on the road. They also need more space to slow down and stop, making it more difficult to avoid collisions.

Common Serious Injuries You May Sustain In a Car Accident in Washington

Male who sustained head injury in car accident is cared for

Car accident injuries can range from minor to severe. Some serious injuries are not visible immediately after an accident but can become life-threatening without prompt medical attention. The following are some common types of injuries among car accident victims.

Neck Injuries

Injuries to the neck are quite common in Washington car accident cases. In a collision, the vehicle can stop abruptly while a driver’s or passenger’s head continues moving. This can cause a condition known as whiplash, which might include symptoms like pain and stiffness, loss of range of motion, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Car accident victims often suffer blows to the head. Blunt-force injuries can cause concussions and skull fractures. Objects can also penetrate the skull and cause direct damage to the brain. These types of injuries can be severe or even fatal and may result in permanent disabilities.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord can sustain serious damage in a car accident due to blunt-force trauma or abrupt pulling or twisting motions. Unlike other body parts, the spinal cord cannot repair itself. This means that most types of spinal cord injuries are permanent. They can leave Washington car accident victims paralyzed to varying degrees.

Broken Bones

Fractured or broken bones are among the most common car accident injuries. This type of injury might require anywhere from a few weeks in a cast to multiple surgeries to resolve.

Internal Damage

Not all car accident injuries are easy to spot right away. The accident’s impact can cause internal bruising or bleeding that could be severely dangerous or fatal without treatment. Seeking medical attention as soon as possible is critical to identifying and healing internal injuries.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Car accidents can cause damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons, often known as the soft tissues. These injuries might not manifest after a car crash for hours, days, or longer. A car accident victim might begin to experience delayed symptoms like headaches, joint stiffness, or muscle pain. The symptoms could improve and go away independently over time, but they could also require surgery or rehabilitation services.

What is Washington State’s Uninsured Motorist Law?

Washington law requires motorists to carry a minimum amount of car insurance to cover liability for injuries. Drivers may also obtain coverage for uninsured motorists (UM) and underinsured motorists (UIM).

  • UM coverage can pay compensation when the at-fault driver has no insurance or is unknown, such as after a hit-and-run accident.
  • UIM coverage applies when the maximum compensation under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is insufficient to cover your damages.

UM and UIM coverage can be useful, but they are optional under Washington law.

Do Insurance Rates Go Up After an Accident in Washington State?

You might worry that a car accident will cause your insurance rates to increase. Washington law prohibits insurance companies from raising an insured’s rates after an accident unless a court found them to be the at-fault driver. Your insurance company may not retaliate against you for using insurance coverage you purchased. It is important to consult a licensed Washington automobile injury lawyer in case your insurance provider decides to fight back.

How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim in Washington State?

You have three years after a car accident to file a lawsuit. This means you must handle the insurance claim before that time limit expires. Insurance companies also have a timeline that they must meet. These timelines are laid out in Washington insurance regulations and a Washington personal injury attorney can help hold the insurance companies accountable to those rules.

Complicated claims may take longer to settle, but insurance companies must always respond to you in a reasonable amount of time.

Types of Car Accident Cases Our Legal Team Represents

Our law firm handles many different types of car accident claims, including:

Why Hire a Washington Car Accident Lawyer to Handle Your Claim?

man on the phone calling for assistance after a car accident in Washington

Every case is different and presents unique challenges. That said, recovering damages without a personal injury lawyer is often difficult. Our legal team of car accident injury attorneys can assist you with:

  • Gathering evidence about the accident
  • Consulting with experts and compiling medical records to prove your injuries
  • Calculating your damages
  • Preparing your claim
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers on your behalf
  • Advocating you for in court if necessary

Received Fair Compensation After a Washington Car Accident

A car accident can turn your life upside-down. You might worry about your job and countless other concerns as you try to recover from your injuries. Negotiating with an insurance company could be the farthest concern from your mind. An experienced Washington auto accident lawyer can prepare your claim and advocate on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery and getting back to your life.

The personal injury attorneys at McPartland Law Offices represent car accident victims throughout eastern Washington state, including Grant, Benton, Franklin, and Spokane Counties. We look forward to meeting with you for a free case evaluation. We can help you understand how the personal injury claims process works and what you are up against. Contact us to schedule a meeting at 509-495-1247 or through our online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do immediately after a car accident in Washington?

After a car accident, it’s critical to:

  • Alert your insurance carrier and file a claim under your PIP coverage if available.
  • Seek medical attention to establish a record of your injuries.
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment recommendations closely.
  • These steps help protect your health and strengthen your case for compensation.
Why is it important not to negotiate with insurance companies directly after an accident?

Negotiating with insurance companies without legal representation can be detrimental. Insurance adjusters aim to settle claims quickly and inexpensively, capitalizing on your vulnerability. An experienced car accident lawyer can ensure you receive fair compensation that covers all your needs.

Should I admit fault at the accident scene?

You should never admit fault at the accident scene. Early admissions can be used against you, potentially harming your case and compensation. The full circumstances of the accident may not be clear immediately, and fault determinations require thorough investigation.

What type of compensation is available for car accident victims in Washington?

Car accident victims may be entitled to economic damages (covering direct losses like medical bills and lost wages) and non-economic damages (for pain, suffering, and life quality diminishment). An experienced lawyer can help you understand and pursue all the compensation you’re eligible for.

Is Washington a no-fault insurance state, and how does this affect my car accident claim?

Washington is not a no-fault state, meaning victims must prove the other driver was at fault to claim compensation from their insurance. This legal requirement emphasizes the need for skilled legal assistance to navigate the claims process effectively and secure the deserved settlement.

Visit Our Office

McPartland Moses Lake
2830 W Broadway Ave
Moses Lake, Washington 98837
+1 (509) 495-1247
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A Reputation
You Can Trust
  • “Bryce did a great job for us in negotiating a settlement for my husband’s car accident. We could never have reached as fair a settlement if we had tried to do this without him.”
    – Personal Injury Client
  • “I was so nervous, because I had never been involved in a car accident and personal injury case before. From the first day that I came into the office, I was immediately put at ease and was comfortable handing everything over to you…”
    – Mary
  • “I actually began my case with another law firm, before my accountant referred me to McPartland Law Offices. I had been injured on the job, and my employer was making things very challenging for me…”
    – AG
    • “Bryce did a great job for us in negotiating a settlement for my husband’s car accident. We could never have reached as fair a settlement if we had tried to do this without him.”
      – Personal Injury Client
    • “I was so nervous, because I had never been involved in a car accident and personal injury case before. From the first day that I came into the office, I was immediately put at ease and was comfortable handing everything over to you…”
      – Mary
    • “I actually began my case with another law firm, before my accountant referred me to McPartland Law Offices. I had been injured on the job, and my employer was making things very challenging for me…”
      – AG

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