Being in a car accident can be a traumatic, stressful event, especially if you suffered injuries or significant vehicle damage. Beyond dealing with health issues and vehicle repairs or replacements, you may need to determine how to recover damages from the at-fault driver, which opens up several legal pathways under Washington state law. Understanding your different options can help guide you toward the best route for your unique situation.
Working with a Washington Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Seattle, Washington, it’s important to consider hiring an experienced car accident lawyer located in Washington, like Monge & Associates. Dealing with insurance companies and navigating legal procedures can be complex, so a Washington car accident attorney can be invaluable in helping you build a strong case.
Our Washington lawyers offer free initial consultations, so meet with us to assess if you feel comfortable with our expertise and experience level. Always consider a lawyer who has handled many car accident cases that are similar to your situation, such as rear-end collisions or intersection accidents. Inquire about their typical procedures, such as thoroughly investigating the crash scene, obtaining medical records and bills, getting witness statements, and using accident reconstruction experts if needed.
A good Washington accident attorney like Monge & Associates will be upfront about potential settlement values and fees. We work on a contingency basis, only getting paid if your case results in a recovery. Their goal is to obtain fair compensation for your injuries, property damage, lost wages, and long-term medical costs to fully make you whole again following the wreck.
Negotiating a Settlement
After a collision in Washington, the first step is typically to try negotiating an agreement to settle damages directly with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Opening up a dialogue with the adjuster to request a settlement offer is generally quick and inexpensive.
However, insurance adjusters represent the interests of their company, not yours. They will likely offer you an amount far lower than the maximum you may be legally entitled to. Come to the negotiation informed on the extent of your damages and realistic settlement ranges. You can start the process on your own, but hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to negotiate for you levels the playing field.
Mediating a Settlement
If attempts to directly negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company stall, mediation provides a structured process guiding both sides toward an agreement through open communication. Mediation involves a third-party mediator facilitating the discussion and proposing non-binding suggestions with the goal of reaching a compromise.
Mediation is typically voluntary, informal, confidential, and less adversarial than court litigation. Parties in the mediation have more control over the process and outcome compared to a trial. Mediated settlements may even cover damages that might not be legally awarded by a judge, like pain and suffering. Mediation is also generally faster and less expensive than going to court.
The assistance of a qualified personal injury lawyer from Monge & Associates can be highly valuable in mediation, including advocating for a favorable resolution and negotiating the technical legalese around the settlement agreement terms and payment schedule.
Pursuing Compensation Through Litigation
If you exhaust other remedies and fail to reach an adequate settlement, filing a personal injury lawsuit in Washington may be the only remaining option to pursue fair compensation, especially if the insurance company refuses to negotiate reasonably or mediate in good faith. A seasoned litigation attorney can then take the case to court.
Lawsuits also become necessary if independent fact-finding processes determine the at-fault driver violated traffic laws or demonstrated negligence causing the collision. Compensation through litigation may be the only way to recover damages from an uninsured or underinsured motorist in these situations as well.
The litigation route does come with drawbacks, including substantially higher legal costs, longer time commitments, heightened stress, and an uncertain trial outcome. Jury awards can vary widely, and even seven-figure settlements may yield far less after legal fees and expenses. However, valid cases taken to capable trial lawyers can result in court-ordered compensation well above what insurance companies might have otherwise offered.
Any car accident victim deserves justice. An experienced Seattle, WA personal injury attorney like us can advise which option aligns with your unique needs and has the highest probability of securing fair compensation for your injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, and other collision-related damages.
We have offices in 32 locations and 19 states, including Washington, Ohio, and Maryland. Take advantage of an initial free consultation to discuss your best path forward. Call now on (888) 477-0597.