Car accidents can be the type of traumatic experience that end up leaving you not only with physical injuries, but also a great deal of emotional distress and burdens such as financial issues and difficulty holding a job. In Seattle, Washington, the aftermath of a car crash can make a victim feel confused, especially if they never had to fight for their rights before. One of the questions that arise from that confusion is the timeline for filing a personal injury claim.
Oftentimes, people wonder whether there’s a statute of limitation regarding car accident claims. Additionally, victims are not sure whether they should get a lawyer immediately after the crash. In this article, we will explore this question in detail, helping you or a loved one of yours to make better informed decisions about your legal options in Seattle.
The Statute Of Limitations
Before we get to the question of how long the victim of a car accident can go without getting a lawyer in Seattle, let us explain the concept of the statute of limitations.
In legal terms, the statute of limitations is a time limit set by the state’s laws that specifies how long the personal injury accident victim has to file a lawsuit after being injured in a crash. In Washington State, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years. This time limit begins with the date of the accident. This means that the injured party in an auto crash in Seattle has three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties as well as their insurance companies.
If you were injured in a crash and failed to file a lawsuit within the given timeframe, your case can no longer see the light of day, meaning that you will lose your right to seek compensation for the damages, suffering, and injuries you sustained. Therefore, it is crucial that victims of auto crashes act promptly after the incident. Do not hesitate to consult with a lawyer immediately after your car accident.
Another thing to note is that the statute of limitations is not the same for all kinds of personal injury accidents and claims in the state of Washington. If an accident involves a driver or victim who’s a minor or if it involves a government agency, or even if the incident involves a wrongful death claim, the legal filing timeframe changes. That is one of the many reasons why accident victims should speak to an attorney if possible. A professional in the area can better guide you and explain to you what your case’s specific time limit is.
The Importance Of Hiring A Lawyer
Now that we’ve helped you better understand what the statute of limitations is, we will explain why hiring an attorney who is well acquainted with car accidents may be good for your case.
If after the car accident the victim is feeling overwhelmed, they may be dealing with injuries and the medical bills related to such injuries. Unfortunately, that means that the victim may also be dealing with insurance companies. That adds even more pressure on the injured party. Without professional help, the victim can end up settling for a smaller compensation than they deserve.
In Seattle, a skilled personal injury lawyer should be able to help the injured party to properly navigate the legal process without any major headaches. The attorney is trained precisely to protect the victim’s rights and take the case to the court if necessary to obtain the compensation the victim deserves.
Attorneys and their team can investigate the accident thoroughly and deeply, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and even represent the victim in court if the at-fault parties are not collaborating.
When it comes to seeking peace of mind after a serious crash, hiring a lawyer can allow the victim to once again focus on their recovery. In the meantime, the attorney and their team will handle everything else.
Hiring an attorney can be even more pressing if the insurance companies are being difficult. Remember: large companies have full specialized teams of lawyers working around the clock for them. Their goal is to protect the insurance companies’ interests, not yours. If you’re injured, do not allow a company to take advantage of you.
Factors To Consider When Hiring A Seattle Car Accident Lawyer
Before hiring an attorney to represent you in a Seattle car accident case, you must take into consideration a series of factors. If the goal is to find a legal representation that will not let you down and will help you obtain the compensation you deserve, keep the following points in mind:
- Experience: An attorney who has clear experience helping clients who suffered due to car accidents also has the reputation and track record of success that will prove they can obtain favorable settlements or verdicts for those they represent.
- Communication: Being a recovering victim of an auto accident requires trust. A lawyer with poor communication skills does not inspire trust. Throughout your case, you must be properly and timely updated as to how it progresses.
- Fees: It is not difficult to find an attorney who works on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if the injured party wins the case. However, that doesn’t mean that some attorneys might not be clear as to what additional fees they charge. Ask clear questions regarding the attorney’s fee structure and other costs associated with your case before choosing a law firm.
- Reputation: Consulting with past clients through reviews and testimonials online can give you an idea of the lawyer’s reputation. Client satisfaction is key when it comes to choosing a top car accident attorney.
- Personality: The lawyer you choose should make you feel comfortable. If the attorney doesn’t listen to your concerns and priorities, they might not be right for you.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Let’s review some of the crucial steps the victim of a car crash in Seattle must take following the collision:
- Call 911: Whether anyone is injured or property is damaged, call 911 immediately.
- Exchange Personal Contact Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with any other driver or drivers involved.
- Gather Relevant Evidence: Have a phone or camera ready to take snapshots of the scene, the vehicles, the damage caused by the impact, and any visible injuries.
- Seek Medical Attention Immediately: Even if you don’t immediately believe you are hurt, seek the care of a physician. Many victims suffer hidden injuries that do not manifest until later.
- Report the Accident: Report the collision to your insurance company.
- Consult with a Lawyer: Contact a personal injury lawyer who’s reputable in your community to discuss your legal options.
If you are wondering how long you have to get a lawyer after being injured in a car accident in Seattle, Washington, the answer is three years from the date of the accident. However, the best course of action is to act fast. Consult with a lawyer with expertise in the area and who’s well known in your community as soon as possible. This will ensure that your legal rights are safeguarded.
Remember, the aftermath of a car accident can be tough on anyone, but nobody should face it alone.
A skilled personal injury lawyer can guide you through the legal process and, most importantly, fight for your rights as a victim. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact a lawyer today to discuss your case and get the help you need.