Automobile accident Attorneys around Everett, Olympia, and near you
For most people getting involved in litigation is a frightening scenario. The legal world can be not only confusing and unfamiliar, but also intimidating. If you have been injured in an automobile accident, then you are likely dealing with insurance companies, adjusters, and in some cases, attorneys for other parties. If your wreck was minor, and did not involve any injuries, you could probably just as easily take care of it without the help of an experienced lawyer.
But what if you have been injured? What if you are facing stacks of medical bills? What if you are too hurt to look into your finances and negotiate with your insurance company or the other party’s insurance carrier? All too often people make ill-advised assumptions that can put their accident cases in serious jeopardy. The five most common errors in this regard are:
1. “The insurance company will cover everything”
Wrong. Your insurance company is not your friend. They are a business. Their goal is to minimize your payment and maximize their profit. Working with an attorney and filing a lawsuit may be your only hope of receiving compensation for your injuries, lost earnings and medical expenses. You do not have to accept the settlement offer made by your insurance company. There is no final offer until you sign an agreement. Discuss your case with an experienced lawyer first. If you settle prematurely, there’s little an attorney can help you to do after the fact.
2. “I cannot afford a lawyer”
Many injured victims accept an unfair settlement from an insurance company because they don’t think they can afford a lawyer. In these cases, the lawyer’s fee is contingent upon his or her success with your claim. The attorney’s fees are usually a fraction of the amount awarded during litigation. Victims who choose to be represented by experienced auto accident lawyers or reputed law firms often receive much more compensation than those who opt to represent themselves. The best law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive evaluation of your potential claim.
3. “If I’m partially at fault for the accident, I cannot get any compensation.”
If you were partly responsible for an accident, you still have a claim. The state of Washington follows the system of “comparative negligence.” You will be compensated depending on what your part or contribution was to the accident. For example, if you were 30 percent responsible, the damages awarded to you will be reduced to 50 percent. You may be eligible to receive compensation even if it is determined that you were partly at fault for the accident.
4. “I have all the time in the world to file a claim or lawsuit”
You would be ill-advised to wait too long to file a car accident lawsuit. The statute of limitations in Washington is three years from the date of the accident. In some cases, especially if your claim is against a governmental entity, the time limit to file may be even shorter. Additionally, when you wait too long to pursue your rights, evidence that is critical to the case could be lost or destroyed.
5. “Litigation is a long battle.”
If you have an experienced lawyer, litigation does not have to be a drawn-out battle. A majority of the cases our firm handles are settled out of court. A knowledgeable attorney knows that successful resolution can be achieved through negotiation. Unless your case is extremely complicated, most cases we handle are negotiated and settled within a year.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, please contact the Bernard Law Group to find out more information about your legal rights and options. We know the ins and outs of the litigation process and have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies. We have what it takes to obtain the compensation you deserve.