Sustaining an injury as a result of someone else’s reckless or negligent actions can negatively impact your life in many ways. Suddenly, you’re focusing on making a physical recovery while costly medical bills pile start to accumulate. Your injuries may be severe enough to prevent you from working, resulting in a loss of wages or income. Fortunately, Washington state allows you to pursue compensation for these injuries by filing a personal injury claim. In most cases, a settlement is reached through a series of negotiations, so let’s take a look at how the process typically unfolds.
First Steps to Take Following an Accident
It’s critical that you refrain from admitting fault or even discussing the accident with the other involved parties at the scene. While you’ll need to exchange important contact and insurance information, do not talk about the accident itself. It’s a good idea to contact the police so that an accident report can be created, which will provide an impartial account of the accident. Then, contact your auto insurance company to inform them of the accident. The sooner you contact them, the more time they will have to investigate the accident.
Working With Your Insurance Company
Washington drivers are required by law to carry a basic amount of insurance. When you sign a policy with an insurance company, you agree to inform them of any accidents and to cooperate in the subsequent investigation and processing of claims. If you fail to uphold your obligation, you could face higher premiums, policies that cannot be renewed, or even the cancellation of your policy. It’s also important to notify your insurance company right away so that you can tell your side of the story. If the other driver decides to take legal action against you, it’s best to have a record of your version of the events and to have given your insurance company ample time to investigate the accident.
Negotiating a Settlement
The sooner you reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer following your accident, the more prepared you’ll be to successfully navigate the claims process. Your attorney will help you understand your options for pursuing compensation from your insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, or from the at-fault driver. For the most part, insurance companies strive to avoid going to court. They are usually willing to negotiate a fair settlement even before a lawsuit is filed. However, it may take a bit of back-and-forth discussions between your attorney and the other party before a settlement is reached. For instance, your attorney may draft a demand letter requesting a specific amount, and the other party may reply with a lower offer. You’ll then go from there until you reach an amount that you find acceptable. In some cases, the other party may not cooperate, and you and your attorney can decide whether to take your case to court.
Thinking about pursuing compensation following an auto accident in the Vancouver area? Call Henderson Taylor Law Firm at (360) 737-1478 today to discuss your options with a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney.