Suffering an auto accident injury can negatively impact your life in multiple ways. In addition to coping with a painful physical recovery, you may find yourself struggling with the unexpected costs associated with the accident, including medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses. Injured victims in Washington State have the right to seek compensation to assist with these unanticipated costs, and it’s best to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney to ensure your claim is as strong and effective as possible. As distracted driving practices continue to rise across the nation, you may find yourself involved in an accident caused by another driver who failed to keep their eyes on the road. Here’s what you need to know about pursuing compensation following an accident involving a distracted driver in the Vancouver or Portland area.
Defining Distracted Driving Behaviors
When drivers are not fully engaged in operating their vehicles, they put themselves and others at increased risk of injury. According to the most recently available data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reported that 23 percent of serious crashes in Washington are due to distracted driving, and drivers are three times more likely to be in a crash when talking on a cell phone. Distracted driving behaviors encompass any activity that diverts attention from driving, such as talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, drinking, talking to passengers in your vehicle, fiddling with the radio, or staring at the navigation system. Any of these behaviors can take your attention away from the road, and taking your eyes off the road for even five seconds while traveling 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Steps to Take at the Scene of the Car Accident
The minutes and hours after the collision can be overwhelming and chaotic. First, assess yourself and others at the scene for any injuries requiring immediate medical attention. Call for an ambulance if necessary, and alert local law enforcement about the accident. The responding officer will create a police report that includes important details about the collision. This report will help you strengthen your insurance claim later on, as the information could indicate that the other driver was using a cell phone at the time of the accident. It’s essential that you refrain from discussing the collision with the other driver, as they could use any statements or even small expressions of empathy to indicate your guilt or role in the accident. As much as you may feel compelled to say, “I’m sorry,” resist this urge and let the investigators determine fault objectively. Additionally, even if you do not believe your injuries warrant a trip to the emergency room, schedule a visit with your physician within the next few days to rule out any harder-to-detect conditions (i.e., internal bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, etc.). Your doctor’s documentation detailing your injuries will also demonstrate how seriously the accident has affected you.
Pursuing Compensation From a Distracted Driver
If you suffered an injury in a car accident, you have the right to seek compensation to help cover the medical bills, lost wages, and other costs triggered by this incident. While some auto accident victims elect to move forward with this process on their own, insurance claims can quickly grow complicated and frustrating. Working with an experienced and compassionate personal injury attorney can give you the clarity and confidence you need to navigate this complex process. Here are just a few of the ways that enlisting the help of a Vancouver car accident lawyer can help you obtain a fair and favorable settlement.
Handling Conversations With Insurance Adjusters
One of the most challenging aspects of the insurance claims process is navigating tense conversations with insurance adjusters. Even though the adjuster may maintain that they are “on your side” and they just want “to know what happened,” you should remember that their loyalty lies with saving the company as much money as possible. They may ask questions or coax you to give away information that discredits or undermines your claim. It’s stressful enough to focus on your physical recovery after a car accident—the last thing you want to do is engage in these frustrating conversations. Let your attorney step in to handle these negotiations on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.
Obtaining a Fair and Favorable Settlement Offer
Most auto accident victims are eager to obtain compensation as quickly as possible so they can start paying down the medical bills that are quickly piling up. Unfortunately, insurance companies often take advantage of this eagerness, making a lowball initial settlement offer and hoping that the injured party will accept it. However, your attorney can assess the full worth of your claim and help you push for and negotiate a more favorable settlement offer. While this may take a bit more time, insurance companies usually want to avoid litigation and are willing to work with you and your lawyer to reach a more equitable settlement offer.
If you need help recovering compensation after suffering an auto accident injury in Portland or Vancouver, call Henderson Taylor Law Firm today at (360) 737-1478 to discuss your situation with a trusted and compassionate personal injury lawyer.