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How to settle a car accident injury case?

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If you are injured in a car accident, your focus is being torn many different ways. You have to focus on setting up medical appointments, go to medical appointments, do the treatment, fill out insurance claim information, get a hold of insurance adjusters to get your claims paid, call places to get your car repaired, get your car repaired, answer phone calls from insurance companies trying to settle your case when you are not ready, and live your normal busy life.

Dealing with insurance companies is no fun and by hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can relax and trust that your going to be getting the max amount for your case and your medical bills are getting paid or will be paid soon. It takes the guessing game out of so much of your case allowing you to focus on healing and living your life, which is already a lot to do.

What if you wanted to settle your case on your own with hiring a Seattle car accident injury lawyer? You can absolutely do this, even though studies have shown that hiring a personal injury lawyer will put more money in your pocket than negotiating on your own. Here are some tips on settling your car accident injury case on your own.

  1. Know the statute of limitations – This is the amount of time you have to settle your case before you will lose your rights. In Seattle and Washington State, you have three (3) years to settle or file a lawsuit on your car accident injury case. This varies from state to state and type of injuries, like medical mal practice, so check your state laws.
  2. When should you start settling your case? – You should start settling your case when you are fully healed and done with treatment or you are close to the statute of limitations. The reason for this is because you want to know how much it is going to cost to get you back to normal. For Seattle cases, you can afford to wait to get all the treatment that you need because the statute of limitations is three (3) years. In other states, you may have to settle your case before you are done with treatment. Waiting until you are fully healed will allow you to collect all your medical bills, receipts for medications, and figure out your lost wages.
  3. Know what you are entitled to – You are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, prescription costs, costs of help or assistance you required while you were healing, lost wages, future lost wages, compensation for disability, and pain and suffering among other things. If you do not hire a car accident injury lawyer and your insurance company paid for your medical bills, your insurance company will collect the medical bills that they paid directly from the at fault insurance company and this will not be part of what you recover. However, if you had to pay co-pays for your doctors visits, keep track of these and include them in the settlement demand.
  4. What do you send to the insurance company? – You are going to create an insurance demand to send to the adjuster representing the defendant who caused your car accident. You should collect all your medical records and bills from all of your treatment providers. Once you have them all, you should write a letter to the insurance company that summarizes what you went through in the eyes of the doctors and yourself. You should find key dates in your medical records that state times where you were in a lot of pain and not the dates in the letter and state what you felt. You should note key dates when your doctors diagnosed you with a certain injury and write that in the letter. You should also include your lost wage information like pay stubs from weeks you missed and letters from human resources stating you missed these dates.
  5. How much should I ask for? – Generally, insurance companies are going to offer you something very low to begin with in an effort to anchor your expectations to a lower number. You should combat this by starting very high, but not too high where they laugh you out of the conversation and stop dealing with you. You want to create a figure that you feel happy with accepting for what you had to go with as your middle ground between what you start off with and where they start off with, so start with a high offer above what you want to accept.

After you send this letter, the insurance adjuster will go through all the medical records and bills and review your demand. They will then put certain information into a computer system program that will spit out negotiation numbers for them to start with and the most they should pay. This computer program varies by insurance company but is relatively the same. It may take them a couple weeks to get back to you with their offer.

They will then send you a counter offer, this is not the most they can offer not matter what they say. They have more money available for you and are expecting you to counter their offer to you. You can either call them back and negotiate on the phone or send them another offer by email, fax, or mail. Negotiations with insurance companies can last weeks or months depending on the insurance adjuster and you.

Some insurance adjusters are easy to work with and you can negotiate a good offer within a couple phone calls to them. Other insurance adjusters are very difficult to work with and can be very nasty and bossy. The mean insurance adjusters will berate you are your case and offer you little or nothing. Don’t let them get to you. Continue to be polite but forceful and never attack them personally. Continue to ask for what you deserve and lower your number until you are within striking distance of your goal settlement. This is all easier said than done and you may feel like giving in, but don’t.

If you feel like you are getting no where and you are tired of dealing with nasty insurance adjusters, give a Seattle personal injury lawyer a call for a free consultation. We can take over and re-evaluate your case value and send another demand out. We can advocate for you and file a lawsuit if we do not get anywhere either.

Andrew CherinHow to settle a car accident injury case?
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Can you park within 30 feet of curved stop sign?

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In Seattle, there are many places where you can’t quite figure out if you can legally park there or not. One instance of such a quandary is parking within 30 feet of a stop sign where the stop sign is jutted out into the street.
You cannot park within 30 feet of stop signs because if you do you will get a ticket but also because it blocks the view of other drivers who was to see if there is traffic coming in your direction or not. Parking close to a stop sign can block people’s view of traffic, causing a car accident.
Is a jutted out stop sign considered a normal stop sign for the purposes of determining if you can park within 30 feet or not? It seems that the jutted out stop signs purpose is to allow more parking, while at the same time creating no vision problems for drivers.
There is no clear answer from what I have found. However, both the Seattle Municipal Code and the Revised Code of Washington possibly leave the door open for this unique situation where they say “any stop sign located at the side of a roadway”. The curved out stop sign may represent an exception from this law as it could be argued that the stop sign is not located on the side of the roadway at this point, as the stop sign is jutted out into the street.
Here is what the law says:
11.72.370 – Stop sign approach.
No person shall stand or park a vehicle within thirty (30) feet upon approaching any stop sign located at the side of a roadway. (RCW 46.61.570(1)(b)(iv))
RCW 46.61.570 (1)(b) (iv) Within thirty feet upon the approach to any flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic control signal located at the side of a roadway;
Andrew CherinCan you park within 30 feet of curved stop sign?
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Seattle School Zone Times and Safety

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There is not greater cause than to keep our children safe as they learn to integrate into our society and learn the dangers of society. School zone safety mechanisms are such causes.

We make 20 mph speed limits in school zones so people can safely stop when an unexpected child runs out into the middle of the street because they were chasing a ball, running to their parents, or playing tag. Children in grade school, especially, are learning basic life skills and may not be aware of the true dangers of walking or running around busy school streets.

Seattle has so many school zones that you may miss them if you are driving in an area that you are not familiar with. This could lead to a $234 ticket by camera or by police officer, if you are driving over 20mph while the flashing lights are on or children are present.

For the 2017-2018 school year, Seattle school districts changed some of the usual hours for schools. Instead of grade schools starting at 9am and going until 3pm, most grade schools are now starting at 7:55am and going until 2:25pm. However, on Wednesdays, schools have early releases at 1:10. This means that the school zones will go on earlier and you may be caught unaware if you are not careful.

Most Seattle middle schools and high schools changed from 7:45am starts and going until 2:15pm to 8:55-3:45 and getting out at 2:30 on early dismissal Wednesdays. For a complete list of school schedules, check out the Seattle school districts site here.

The reason for the change in times was because of studies showing that younger children are wide awake early in the morning while teenagers and other young adults need more sleep in the morning.

According to the Seattle school districts website, School zone cameras and flashing warning signals generally start 40 minutes before a school starts and lasts until about 10 minutes after school is to start. Additionally, the school zone cameras and warning signals start 10 minutes before school gets out and ends 30 minutes after school ends.

No one wants to see their child or anyone else’s child hit by a car. There is no more of a horrific scene than to see your young, innocent loved one struck by a car. Car accidents are devastating events that are easily preventable with care and attention for those around you. Drive safely and anticipate others. Drive slow in school zones for your children and other children’s safety and well being.

Andrew CherinSeattle School Zone Times and Safety
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Seattle Car Accident Injury Case with Pemco

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If you are injured in a car accident with someone who has Pemco insurance, here are some things you should know before settling your case.

Pemco is in the business of making money.

They are not in the business of handing out money they don’t have to. If you are injured in a car accident and representing yourself, you are going to be fighting an uphill battle. They have the money and you have not experience negotiating about how much an injury case is worth. Therefore, they are only going to offer and pay you what they want to pay you, not what you deserve.

Pemco is only going to pay for your medical bills once you settle with them.

This can be problematic for people that do not have a lawyer and do not have PIP insurance. PIP insurance is an auto policy that you can purchase that will pay for your medical bills while you wait to settle your case with Pemco.

What can you do if Pemco is not paying for your medical bills?

Pemco will generally only offer to pay for your bills right now if you qualify for their PIP insurance under the defendant’s policy. Generally, the only way you can qualify for their PIP insurance is if you were hit by their insured while riding a bike, walking across a street, or as a passenger of their insured. You can use your PIP insurance, medical insurance, or pay back your medical providers on a lien out of the settlement.

Do not settle your car accident injury case with Pemco until you are fully healed or the extent of your injuries are known.

Pemco will pressure you into settling your case early by telling you that they will not pay anything more so you better take the money they are offering now even though you are not done with your medical treatment. Tell them you do not want to talk to them until you are fully healed. In Washington State, you have three (3) years to settle your case so there is generally a lot of time to heal after a car accident and not feel pressured to settle by Pemco.

How much is your case worth against Pemco in a car accident in Seattle?

Generally, you are entitled to pain and suffering, medical bill compensation, and lost wages, among other things. The best way to maximize the value of your case against Pemco is to hire a Seattle car accident injury lawyer. Hiring a lawyer does not mean that you will have to file a lawsuit, contrary to many beliefs. It does mean maximizing your case value by have an lawyer who only negotiates car accident injury settlements, negotiate your settlement and lower your medical bills.

Hiring a Seattle personal injury lawyer is easy and costs you nothing.

Personal injury lawyers are paid out of the settlement and studies show that people that hire a car accident injury lawyer for their case put twice as much money in their pocket as those who do not hire a lawyer and try to settle on their own, even after lawyers fees are taken out.

Andrew CherinSeattle Car Accident Injury Case with Pemco
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What to do after being injured in a car accident?

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If you have been injured in a Seattle area car accident, you can quickly become overwhelmed with paper work from your insurance company and the defendants insurance company. You may have a lot of questions such as: Who should repair your car? Who should pay for your medical bills? Whose claim number should you use to give to your chiropractor or physical therapist?

Who should repair your car?

Generally, you can go with the defendant’s insurance company to repair your car and you will generally be treated fairly. However, there are a couple conditions for this statement. If your car has minimal damage, you may want to consider having your own insurance company cover the damages to your car.

The reason for this is because you do not want the other company to get the advantage of seeing your car when you can’t see their car’s damage, which may show much more than the damage to your car. Bumpers are solid and made to absorb impact but front ends of car are generally not as well protected, so your car may show little to no damage while their car shows a lot, which can be misleading showing a low impact. Low impact cases will limit the value of your case without a lawyer.

Another reason, is if your car is fairly new with very little mileage on it. If your car has very little mileage and is less than one year old, you are entitled to a diminished value claim which can be worth a few thousand dollars. You will want to have an attorney representing you for this portion of your case if you have a new car.

What claim number should you give your medical providers?

You should never give the defendant’s claim number to your chiropractor, physical therapists, etc. This gives the defendant insurance company and early view of your case and may increase phone calls pressuring you to settle your case. Only give your PIP claim number or medical insurance information to your medical providers.

Who should pay for your medical bills?

The defendant’s insurance company will pay for your medical bills, eventually. However, they will not pay for your medical bills up front unless you are hit by a car as a pedestrian, bicyclist, or were riding passenger in a car that was at fault for a collision. You must wait until you are fully healed and then the defendant’s insurance will settle with you for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering in one lump sum. They will never pay for you medical bills as you go and your bills will be sent to collections.

Who pays your medical bills right now then?

You have a couple of options to pay for your medical bills including your auto insurance policy persona injury protection plan, medical insurance, or pay them back on a lien basis out of the settlement.

Personal injury protection is an auto insurance policy that you can elect to have or not. Generally, it is $10,000 but some people elect to pay a little more for higher limits. Personal injury protection will cover your medical bills and lost wages. You do not need to have a referral from a medical doctor to see a physical therapist, chiropractor, etc., when using PIP, although it may help with your overall case.

Chiropractors can refer you to physical therapists, take x-rays, refer out for MRI’s, and refer you out to specialists. This is why starting with a chiropractor can be an excellent first stop to start your healing process after a car accident.

Medical insurance can be used for your car accident injury case to pay for medical bills right now while you are waiting to settle your case. Medical insurance often covers large hospital bills and other doctors’ appointments. However, medical insurance is not taken by some chiropractors. Additionally, most insurance plans do not include massage therapy or acupuncture, two types of therapy that really help people injured in car accidents heal faster.

Medical liens are a good option for those who do not have personal injury protection on their auto policy nor have medical insurance that is accepted by chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, etc. Most medical providers will allow you to obtain medical treatment on a lien basis as long as you have an attorney representing you for your car accident injury case. The medical providers will want you and your attorney to sign a lien that guarantees payment out of the settlement.

If you have any questions about your car accident injury case, please do not hesitate to reach out to me for a free consultation (206) 850-6716 or andrew@lawcherin.com. Hiring a personal injury lawyer does not mean filing a lawsuit but does mean maximizing the value of your case. Most cases do not need to go to trial but can be settled outside of court and usually within a couple months of you completing your treatment.

Andrew CherinWhat to do after being injured in a car accident?
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How to find the best Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer For You

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If you are looking for a Seattle personal injury lawyer to represent you in your car accident injury case, there are some important things you should be considering. If you are looking for a Seattle car accident lawyer for your case, you should look for someone that has good experience, communicates like you like them to with many options of style, has your goals in mind and not theirs for what to get out of your case, and has heartfelt reviews that talk about what the law firm did for them in detail and not a fake review by a friend or colleague that merely says good lawyer but gives them 5 stars.

Communication Style of Your Seattle Car Accident Injury Lawyer

When you are searching for a lawyer to represent you for your car accident injury case, you should look at their communication style and see if it matches your own. Communication is key in your personal injury case to make sure you are informed about what is going on with your case. Today personal injury lawyers can communicate with you in a whole lot of different ways from texting, phone calls, emails, video chat, or face to face meetings.

In today’s busy world many people do not have the time to have face to face meetings and appreciate fast email communications that can be checked and responded to quickly. Additionally, many people and millennials like texting than phone calls because they can continue to work on what they are doing without picking up the phone and they can respond when they can.

Cherin Law Firm communicates with their clients in many different ways including texting and email, which are usually responded to within minutes of a text or email. Additionally, if you are looking to talk on the phone or schedule a meeting, the receptionists at Cherin Law Firm will take your call and transfer you to Andrew Cherin the attorney to talk about your problems.

Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer with Your Goals In Mind, Not Theirs

Your car accident injury lawyer should have your goals in mind when they are approaching settling your car accident injury case. Most people do not want to go to trial and are looking for just compensation that will compensate them for their injuries. Some Seattle lawyers are very trial and litigation minded so that they do not really try to settle your car accident injury case very long before they file a lawsuit.

Your case is yours to decide what to do with. If it makes sense for you to settle your case outside of a court room and doesn’t drag on the process longer, it is your decision to accept a settlement offer or not and not your attorneys. A good Seattle personal injury lawyer will advise you on whether they believe that the highest offer the insurance company is making is a good offer that puts good money in your pocket or not. A good car accident injury lawyer will also weight the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit and whether it would make financial sense to do so or not.

At the Cherin Law Firm, we do not try to pressure our clients into settling a case or filing a lawsuit but we do give them advice on whether we believe an offer is a good offer or a bad one. We bring to our clients the maximum offer that we can get from the insurance company and break down what the settlement offer will put in the client’s pocket so they know whether this is an amount they feel compensates them enough for their pain and suffering, lost wages, and pays for all their medical bills.

Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer Reviews Say a Lot About Who They Are and What They Do For Their Clients

When you are searching for the best Seattle car accident lawyer to represent you for your car accident injury case, you should look at the client reviews that they have and read them.Don’t just look at the 5 stars, read some reviews. Some personal injury lawyers in Seattle have a lot of reviews but none of the reviews talk in detail about what that lawyer did for them and what they went through, making them seem like they were written by a friend or colleague that wasn’t an actual client. If a review talks in great detail about the service that the client received, you can trust that review was from an actual client.

The Cherin Law Firm has a lot of heartfelt reviews from our clients because we truly do care about what our clients have gone through and treat them how we would like to be treated. We do not have any reviews that say great lawyer and leave it at that. Our clients, who we are very blessed and honored to have served, write multiple paragraphs often about the struggles they went through from the car accident and the relief they felt knowing that the Cherin Law Firm handled all aspects of their case taking a big burden off of them.

Andrew CherinHow to find the best Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer For You
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How to Preserve Your Case Value

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If you are injured in a Seattle personal injury car accident, you need to find a good Seattle personal injury lawyer to represent you and preserve your case value as soon as possible.

Here are the things to do to preserve your case value in a car accident:

  1. Contact both insurance companies. Immediately after a car accident, you need to contact your insurance company and the other company’s insurance company to set up your case.  However, don’t give a statement to the defendant’s insurance company, only your own. Contacting your car insurance is important to preserve your auto insurance benefits like personal injury protection and uninsured motorist policies. Uninsured motorist policies require you to give them notice of a hit and run or an uninsured driver within a 24-48 hours in some instances so you should absolutely contact your insurance company immediately.
  2. Go to your medical doctor immediately. As soon as you can after the car accident, get looked at by your medical doctor to determine the extent of your injuries. Your medical doctor can refer you out to physical therapy, chiropractors, or specialists if you need more treatment. If you go to the hospital right after the car accident, follow up with your medical doctor when you can to start getting the treatment you need. Do not wait too long to start treatment that you need. Get on it now.
  3. Get the treatment that you need and don’t miss appointments. Nothing will hurt the value of your case more than missing appointments with your medical team like physical therapy, chiropractors, etc. Your case value is based upon your injuries, the extent of your injuries, and the time it takes for you to get better. If you miss appointments or have gaps in treatment like a month without going, the insurance company will use that to their advantage and state you aren’t that injured if you stop going to treatment for a month or regularly miss appointments.
  4. Don’t settle your case until you are 100% healed. In Washington State you have three years to settle your car accident injury case. This means that you have three years to get the medical treatment. You should not feel pressured to settle your case. You need to get the medical treatment you need to get back to normal but this does not mean that you can wait a year or two to start getting treatment. You must get treatment from the get go and continue to seek treatment that doctors say you need or you will hurt your case.
  5. Hire a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer. There is no better way to preserve the value of your case than by hiring a Seattle car accident injury lawyer for your car accident injury case. Personal injury lawyers are paid out of the settlement and most charge 1/3 of the settlement. Therefore, they are not paid hourly and there is no risk of having to pay out of pocket for your personal injury lawyer. Additionally, you will get money in your pocket even after your personal injury lawyer is paid. Contact one today for a free consultation.
Andrew CherinHow to Preserve Your Case Value
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Settlement Value: Estimating Surgery Costs

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If you have been injured in a Seattle car accident and decide to hire a Seattle personal injury lawyer, your lawyer will try to make sure you get all the treatment you need to make a 100% recovery. However, sometimes a person can’t get all the treatment that they need because they can’t afford the treatment and don’t have insurance.

If a person can’t afford a medical surgery because their insurance will not cover the full cost or they can’t afford to pay for the remaining balance, a Seattle personal injury lawyer can estimate the costs and get it included in the settlement in most cases. One way to estimate the costs of the surgery is use an online tool like Healthcare Bluebook that estimates the costs of surgeries, MRI, and other medical procedures. The estimates include low, high, and fair costs so you know what to expect if you get the surgery after settlement.

Your settlement will be made up of medical bill costs, future medical costs (for major injury cases only, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It’s important to get future medical included in the settlement if you need a surgery because then you will know how much you have to pay for that necessary surgery.

Healthcare Bluebook is also good to see if you are paying for a fair price for your surgery and other costs in a medical world that is largely mysterious in their costs and expenses when billing you. It’s good to get see a second opinion on costs to see if you are paying too much.

Andrew CherinSettlement Value: Estimating Surgery Costs
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Saving Money in Car Insurance and Protecting You

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I was in the gym the other day and overheard a guy telling another that you shouldn’t be paying $110 a month in car insurance. He told him that you should only have liability insurance because the rest is just fluff. This is the type of thinking that can leave you without a way to recover money for your injuries suffered in a car accident. I told him what insurance he should have in why. This is a breakdown of what insurance you should have and what you could skip on.

What insurance should you absolutely have?

You should have UIM coverage at the very least with liability coverage. As a Seattle personal injury lawyer, I have been heartbroken to see the times where a person is severely injured and comes into my office with no insurance and no insurance on the other guy. If there is no insurance on either side, you have no realistic chance to recover any money in the case. This is because the person who caused the car accident without insurance probably doesn’t have any money to pay for your injuries. Additionally, it’s not likely that a Seattle personal injury lawyer will take your case because there is no realistic hope of ever recovering any money without insurance.

Some studies have show that nearly 30% of drivers are driving without insurance on the road and another 25% have the bare minimum of insurance coverage $25,000. This is why everyone should have UIM insurance. UIM insurance steps in and covers your personal injury damages if you are hit by someone that doesn’t have car insurance or doesn’t have enough car insurance to cover your injuries suffered in a car accident injury case.

PIP insurance is often skipped by people because they believe their medical insurance will cover their medical costs in a car accident. Most medical insurance does not cover chiropractic care and most people have high deductibles that make it so insurance pays very little for their car accident injury treatment. PIP covers all medical costs no questions asked up to your policy amount. Most people choose the $10,000 option but I recommend the higher amount of $20,000. This is because a hospital visit could take up almost all of your $10,000 in PIP leaving you with not much to cover any other treatment you will need like chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, and other doctors appointments.

What insurance could you skip on?

If your car is not worth much, the one insurance policy you could skip is collision coverage. Collision coverage covers the repair and replacement value of your car if you cause a car accident. This is one of the most expensive insurance policies on your policy and may not make sense to have if you have an older car that the cost to repair would be less than your deductible or not much more than it. If your cars value is less than $5,000, it may not make sense to pay extra for collision coverage.

The same goes with comprehensive collision coverage. This covers you in case your car is damages by road debris, rocks, or anything else not caused by a car accident or collision. This is expensive and can usually be avoided. Check your policy on the price.

If you have been injured in a Seattle car accident injury case, you need a Seattle personal injury lawyer. Contact us today for a free consultation on your car accident injury case today.

Andrew CherinSaving Money in Car Insurance and Protecting You
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Forgot your car seat on vacation?

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Many people take their car seat and strollers on vacation. Did you know car seats and strollers are free to check on the plane? Some people don’t know this but you can bring this stuff to be checked for free on most airlines. However, if you forget your car seat on vacation or a trip, you have options.

Many rental car companies offer car seats and booster seats of all shapes and sizes. You can rent these car seats usually for an extra fee with your car rental. You may even be able to get them thrown in for free if you negotiate well.

When renting a car seat from a rental car company make sure to inspect the car seat before leaving the rental car company. You should look for visible damage, ask if the car seat has been in a car accident, and do a quick recall look up on your phone to make sure the car seat hasn’t been recalled by the manufacturer.

Keeping your child safe is your number one priority. If you forget your child’s car seat, never allow them to sit on your lap or hold them while driving. While you think they are safe for normal driving, you will not have a firm grasp on them if you are involved in a car accident. Pay the extra money to rent a car seat for them.

Additionally, you should not let your child sit in a car on their own without a car seat or booster seat when they are not ready to be without one. Seat belts were made for full sized adults and not for children. Children are safest when they are in a car seat or booster seat. While you may think the chances of you getting in a car accident are low and you can risk it for a second, don’t. You never know when a car accident will happen and you want to have all safety precautions in place to keep you and your child as safe as possible in case of a car accident.

Many car accidents happen in places where people are most comfortable driving and driving on auto pilot. This is because their senses are dulled by being familiar with the area and driving route so they may be careless or less careful when driving. This is why a lot of car accidents happen within one mile of someone’s house. A cab driver or taxi driver may be comfortable driving the route do always bring a car seat eve for tax or cab rides. They usually don’t have a car seat for children.

If you have been involved in a car accident and were injured, contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.

Andrew CherinForgot your car seat on vacation?
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