Andrew Cherin

What should you do following a car accident?

Many people wonder what is the best thing to do after a car accident to help preserve their case and make sure they are crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s. Here are the top things you should do following a car accident to make sure everything goes smoothly in case you have a personal injury car accident case and need to hire a Seattle car accident injury lawyer.

  1. Take pictures of the car accident – there is nothing more telling of how a car accident actually happened then a picture of where each car is right after the car accident and the damage to each car. Make sure to take pictures of the road, your car’s placement, the other car’s placement, and the damage to each car. These pictures can tell who is at fault, how hard the impact was, and the conditions of the road at the time of the collision.

2. Get witness contact information – some times car accidents may seem cut and dry but that all can change when the other driver talks to their insurance company. A witness who saw the car accident that may be in another car or a pedestrian can help convey what actually happened in the car accident and who had the red light or who had the right of way. Getting their phone number could be the difference in who is deemed at fault. These people may leave once they see everyone is ok or have things under control so it is important to look for these people quickly.

3. Call the police – it’s not always necessary to have the police come to a car accident and exchanging information may work just fine, however, it is important to call and file a police report if you are hit by someone and they leave the scene without exchanging insurance information or they don’t have insurance, as you may need to by contract law due to your car insurance and uninsured motorist policy, that you will need to use. Police reports are not 100% determinant of who is at fault for a car accident as the police did not actually see the car accident happen, however, they can act as another witness who saw the scene of the car accident and collects witness information and insurance information strengthening your case.

4. Exchange information with the other driver – It is very important to get the other person’s insurance information at the scene of the car accident. If the person says they don’t want to go the insurance route, you should push for their insurance. Not going the insurance route can severely hurt your case if you are injured and need to find the person to determine if they actually had insurance so that you can use your uninsured motorist insurance policy to cover your damages.

Most people try to avoid insurance because they don’t want to hurt the other driver financially, but this is the reason everyone has insurance so they don’t have to pay anything more than their premium every month or 6 months. Not going the insurance route only hurts the injured victim and doesn’t save the other person money, who otherwise would have only had to pay an increase in premium for a car accident that was their fault. You pay more going this route as it is much harder to for you to get your bills paid timely and get the compensation you need and deserve for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage caused by the other person in the car accident.

5. Call an ambulance or take yourself to urgent care – If you are injured in the car accident, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor immediately to make sure you are ok. Car accidents can cause severe injuries to your neck, brain, and other parts of your body that need to get checked out right away. It’s best to go to urgent care right after a car accident if possible to get checked out. You can go the next day if it is too late at night. Urgent care usually has less people and can get you evaluated quicker than the emergency room. If your car is not driveable and you are severely hurt, call and ambulance immediately.

6. Call a Seattle car accident injury lawyer – It is important to preserve your case and make sure everything is in line and a Seattle car accident injury lawyer can make sure you are doing everything necessary with your insurance company to do this. Additionally, the defendant’s insurance will not pay for your medical bills until you settle with them (unless you were a pedestrian, bicyclist, or passenger and the at fault driver had personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance coverage), this is why it is extremely important to know how your medical bills are going to be paid without having them go to collections and have a plan. A personal injury lawyer will be able to give you all the options to make sure your medical bills get paid or are not sent to collections. Options include using your car insurance personal injury protection (PIP) policy to pay for your medical bills, medical insurance, or having the provider wait to get paid out of the settlement.

7. Call your insurance company and report accident – It’s very important that you report the car accident to your own insurance company to set up your claim and document your case. You most likely have insurance coverage that you will need to use to help your case so you need to report it to your insurance company. Your rates should not go up because of a car accident that was not your fault. If for some reason they try to say that your rates are going up, you should talk to an agent on the phone and tell them you are going to go to another insurance company. I am sure they will change their minds and keep your rates the same, they want your premium every month.

If you or someone you know were injured in a car accident, give Cherin Law Firm, PLLC a call today for a free consultation on the phone 206 850-6716.

Andrew CherinWhat should you do following a car accident?
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Common Car Accident Injuries

Being injured in a car accident and hiring a Seattle car accident injury lawyer does not have to be limited to severe injuries that require long hospital stays and surgeries, many of our cases are people who were injured in a car accident and need chiropractic treatment and massage therapy.

We represent many people who have been injured in car accidents and require months of chiropractic and massage therapy to get better. These are good cases and these people are very much injured and entitled to compensation from the insurance company for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Common injuries suffered in car accidents include whiplash, cervical spine injuries, thoracic spine injuries, lower back injuries, shoulder sprains/strains, concussions, PTSD, broken ribs, broken bones, and surgeries. All of these injuries on their own are very real injuries entitled to compensation from the insurance company as caused by the car accident.

A Seattle car accident injury lawyer will be able to get you the compensation that you deserve for these injuries. Your lawyer will be able to find the medical coverage to pay for the medical bills or create an arrangement so that you can receive treatment and pay for it out of the settlement with the insurance company.

If you have been injured in a Seattle car accident, we can help you. Most cases can be settled within 2-3 months of our clients being discharged from treatment. This doesn’t have to be a long process. We are paid out of the settlement so anyone can afford to hire us. Call today for a free consultation or book an appointment with us online for a free phone call consultation about your car accident injury case.

Andrew CherinCommon Car Accident Injuries
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Back to School – Seattle School Zone Laws

Seattle schools start Wednesday September 4, 2019 for grades 1-12 and Monday September 9, 2019 for kindergartners. This is just a reminder that you need to slow down when driving around school zones and around children walking on streets starting next week. For some children, this is the first time they have gone to school and the chaos of all the new children they get to meet and cars picking them up or dropping them off for school may confuse children so drive slow in case one darts out into the street.

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.

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.

For the 2019-2020 school year, grades 1-5 start at 7:55am and go until 2:25pm. However, on Wednesdays, schools have early releases at 1:10. This means that school zone cameras will probably be in force from 7:15am to 8:05 am for the morning and between 2:15pm to 2:55pm after school, most days. However, 20 mph flashing signals will most likely be flashing indicating you must slow down during these times as well.

Most Seattle middle schools and high schools will go from 8:55am-3:45pm and getting out at 2:30 on early dismissal Wednesdays. This means that school zone cameras will probably be in force from 8:05am to 9:05am for the morning and between 3:35pm to 4:15pm after school, most days. For a complete list of school schedules, check out the Seattle school districts site here.

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 CherinBack to School – Seattle School Zone Laws
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What to do following a car accident injury? Common Questions

If you are injured in a car accident, there are a few things you may not know that you have to do in order to protect your case.

Immediately after the car accident you should try to get witness contact information. Any cars that you see around you after a car accident, you should flag them down and try to get their name and phone number in case the other person tries to lie about what happened. Witness statements are critical to determining who was at fault for a car accident when it is one person or family saying something and the other person saying something else.

Witness information is better than a police report in most situations where fault is questionable because the police officer didn’t see the car accident happen in most situations so their report is hearsay and for the most part impermissible evidence. However, the police report can be helpful in other ways by collecting information like witness contact information, driver’s license information, and insurance information. Police reports are very helpful to get one if you can.

Additionally, if it is a hit and run situation, your insurance company will require you to file a police report in order for you to get some of your auto insurance benefits such as uninsured motorist insurance (UIM).

After getting information, you may want to call AAA if you have it. AAA provides towing under most plans and they can tow your car to your house, where some independent companies will keep your car in a tow yard. The tow yard will charge you for each day your car is in the tow yard. Because of this, you will want to contact your insurance company and tell them about where your car is and the other insurance company for the at fault driver so that your car is taken out of there and gets paid for without any unnecessary expenses.

Your insurance company may require you to give a recorded statement to them as part of your auto insurance policy following a car accident. You must give them a statement about what happened and your injuries to the best of your knowledge so that you can get PIP benefits and other benefits. However, you do not and should not give a statement to the defendant’s insurance company about your injuries and how the car accident occurred, as they will use it against you.

When you contact your insurance company or the defendant’s about your car in a tow yard, you should also set up a rental car with them while you wait for them to estimate if your car is a total loss or if your car can be repaired. You may want to start car shopping as soon as possible to find a replacement car if your car is totaled. However, you should expect to get what your car Kelly Blue Book’s for, as that is what most insurance companies use to estimate car value. They may also pull a list of similar cars near you for sale and find a price that way.

The defendant’s insurance company will not pay for your medical bills right now and will only pay once you settle with them for your personal injury damages, separate from car repair damages. Because of this, you will have to use your medical insurance and your personal injury protection (PIP) through your auto insurance policy to pay for medical bills while you wait to settle your case.

When you call your auto insurance, you should get a claim number for your personal injury protection insurance (PIP). You can use this claim number to pay for your medical treatment such as chiropractic, physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, etc. Most people have $10,000 in PIP benefits but some have the higher amounts of $20,000 or $35,000.

If you go to the hospital or medical doctor after the car accident, it is best to give these places your medical insurance information first as your medical insurance will have contract rates which will lower the amount you will owe and will not blow through your PIP.

As soon as you physically can, you should call a Seattle car accident injury lawyer for a free consultation on your case. A Seattle car accident injury lawyer will be able to set up all your insurance benefits and make sure you get them all. They will also be able to stop the defendant insurance company from hounding you with pressure to settle for fear of mounting medical bills. Your lawyer will also be able to stop collection actions in most cases and be able to set you up with medical providers who will wait to get paid out of the settlement if you do not have PIP or good medical insurance to pay for your medical bills right now.

Andrew CherinWhat to do following a car accident injury? Common Questions
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UIM Insurance Coverage

There is one very important type of insurance coverage that all drivers NEED to have and that is Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UIM). UIM is an auto policy insurance that will cover your damages in case you are injured in a Seattle car accident and the other person who causes the car accident either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all of your damages.

It is depressing how many people are driving with the bare minimum insurance coverage or no insurance coverage at all in Seattle. Some studies show as much as 50% of people are driving with little or no insurance coverage. If you get hit by someone who has little or no insurance coverage and you do not have UIM insurance, you could be out of luck.

The minimum liability insurance limit in Washington State is $25,000. This is a very small amount of money because it must cover all of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

To get an idea of how fast $25,000 can get eaten up in a car accident injury case, know that most hospital visits that last more than 1 or 2 days can cost over $25,000 alone. If you are seriously injured in a car accident and require a lengthy stay in the hospital, that will easily eat into if not all of the $25,000 possible settlement with the defendant. If you do not have UIM insurance, this could be the most you can get out of the settlement.

Even if you do not need to go to the hospital but instead require a lengthy rehab and miss a lot of work, the $25,000 the other person has in insurance coverage may not be enough to adequately pay for all of your medical bills, cover your lost wages, and provide you with enough pain and suffering to be adequate.

This is not to say that a personal injury lawyer cannot help you if the other person has only $25,000 in insurance coverage. A Seattle car accident injury lawyer may be able to negotiate down your medical bills, reduce the amount your insurance is owed back through subrogation, and actually allow you to get some money in your pocket when it looks like all of the money will be eaten up by insurance and medical bills. If you have PIP insurance or medical insurance coverage, this will help some but not replace UIM.

If you have UIM insurance, great! UIM insurance will step in just like the other person had whatever your UIM policy limits are and whatever insurance coverage, if any, the other driver had. If the person had $25,000 and you have $25,000, you would have $50,000 available for your case settlement. Much better to work with than $25,000 alone.

However, this does not mean that your insurance company will treat you fairly and give you all of this money. They will fight tooth and nails to try to pay you as little as possible for your case, even though they are your own insurance company. This is why you need a Seattle car accident injury lawyer to represent you for your car accident injury case.

UIM insurance is very affordable and can cost as low as $3-4/month for $250,000 in UIM coverage. Meanwhile, collision coverage costs you $25-$30/month depending on your car’s make, model, and year. If you are looking to skimp on insurance coverage cost somewhere and your car is worth less that $5,000, you probably can skip on collision coverage, as your deductible and monthly premium will easily eat up the value of your car quickly.

Make sure that you have UIM insurance so you are not out of luck in case you are injured in a Seattle car accident. Call a Seattle car accident injury lawyer today for a free consultation. (206) 850-6716 or email [email protected].

Andrew CherinUIM Insurance Coverage
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PIP Insurance and Lost Wages

If you didn’t have enough reasons already to get personal injury protection (PIP) added to your car insurance, here are some more reason in case you are injured in a Seattle car accident.

PIP is odd because technically it is required to have under Washington State law, but there is a clause that says that you can waive PIP by signing it away in your insurance contract. YOU SHOULD NOT WAIVE PIP.

PIP is incredibly cheap to add to your plan and I definitely recommend that you max it out. PIP comes in benefits of $10,000, $20,000, and $35,000. PIP can cost you as little as $5/month to add to your plan for $10,000 in benefits to as much as $10/month to max it out at $35,000.

PIP covers any medical treatment that you need as a result of a car accident and you do not need a referral to see any of your medical providers, although it is recommended for all specialized care not including chiropractic, physical therapy, or massage therapy.

Additionally, PIP comes with $200 a week in lost wage coverage for a maximum benefit up to your PIP policy amount. However, PIP lost wage coverage only starts paying after a brief few weeks waiting period, which most people return to work after a week off anyways, so you may not see that benefit. However, if you are severely injured, $200/week is better than nothing.

You need PIP because the defendant’s insurance will not pay for any of your medical bills until you settle with them, which could send all of your bills to collections and seriously hurt your credit score. Additionally, if you have a Seattle car accident injury lawyer representing you, your Seattle car accident injury lawyer can negotiate the amount you owe back to PIP out of the settlement in subrogation down by at least 1/3 of the amount PIP paid.

There are a few exceptions to this rule where PIP is actually given to you by the defendant’s insurance company but this only happens where the other driver has PIP and you were riding your bike, crossing the street as a pedestrian, or you were a passenger in their car.

If you do not have PIP or PIP runs out, you can pay for your medical bills with your medical insurance. However, while this is a great benefit to have and can severely lower the amount of your hospital bills, medical insurance plans usually do not include chiropractic or massage therapy coverage, and if they do they are generally capped at a certain limit like 10 visits per year. PIP on the other hand will cover massage, chiropractic, physical therapy, hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, ambulance rides, etc.

If you run out of PIP or your medical insurance plan does not include certain services, a Seattle car accident injury lawyer should be able to make an arrangement with your treating providers to pay them back out of the settlement. This will allow you to continue to receive the treatment that you need and pay nothing out of pocket until you settle your case and your attorney pays them out of the settlement at that time.

If you are injured in a car accident in or around Seattle, please give us a call and we will be happy to walk you through your car accident injury case with a free consultation. (206) 850-6716 or email [email protected].

Andrew CherinPIP Insurance and Lost Wages
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Whose Insurance Will Pay For Your Medical Bills Following a Car Accident?

This is one of the most confusing areas of a car accident injury case for a lot of people. People generally believe that because the other person caused the car accident, their insurance will pay for the medical bills immediately. This is not completely accurate.

The defendant’s insurance company will not pay for your medical bills until you settle with them. For some people, this can be seen as a pressure to settle early because they may not believe that they can pay for medical treatment without the defendant’s insurance covering their bills. Because you want to wait until you are fully healed to settle your case, it can be very difficult to not try to settle at this point, but holdfast you have many options.

How then do you pay for your medical bills while you are waiting to settle your case? You have many options to pay for your medical bills while you wait to settle with the defendant’s insurance. You can pay for your medical bills through your own car insurance medical policy called personal injury protection. If you don’t have personal injury protection, you can pay for your medical bills with your medical insurance. If you don’t have medical insurance that covers certain types of treatment or enough medical insurance to cover your bills, you can sign a letter of guarantee with the treatment provider to pay them back out of the settlement.

PIP insurance pays for your medical bills while you wait to settle with the defendant. Most car insurance policies have $10,000 in PIP coverage, which is generally enough to cover a chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, and physical therapy. However, $10,000 may not be enough if you go to the hospital. In that situation, you can use your medical insurance to pay for anything that goes beyond your PIP, including your hospital bills. Some people elect for the high amount of PIP coverage which is $35,000.

PIP coverage is required in Washington State, however, you can waive it by signing it away, which some people do to save money. PIP coverage is not very expensive so you should include it with your policy. Additionally, if your insurance does not maintain a signed waiver of PIP, you may be entitled to the benefits.

Medical insurance generally does not cover car accident injury cases unless you don’t have PIP coverage or your PIP coverage is exhausted. At that point, your medical insurance will be primary and cover all visits according to your insurance coverage.

All medical bills paid by your medical insurance and PIP insurance must be paid back out of the settlement by a process called subrogation. However, subrogation allows for you to have the benefit of lower contract rates with hospital, medical doctors, etc., lowering the amount you have to pay back. In addition to this benefit of lower contracted rates, which are usually 1/4 of the actual bill paid, Washington State law requires that the insurance company pay their pro rata share of attorney’s fee, thus lowering the amount you owe them by at least 1/3 and sometimes more. For this reason, it is vital to have PIP and or medical insurance pay for your medical bills in a personal injury case and will end up putting more money in your pocket in the end.

If you do not have PIP coverage or medical insurance, or you exhaust all your benefits, you are not a loss. You can still avoid paying for medical bills out of pocket before settling your case by having your medical provider agree to be delay being paid right now and get paid out of the settlement down the road. Most chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists will agree to this arrangement so long as you have a personal injury lawyer representing you. They will also require you and your attorney to sign a letter of guarantee that states you direct your attorney to pay them back out of the settlement. This is a huge benefit for people that do not have PIP or medical insurance that covers chiropractic treatment or massage.

In Washington State, there is a 3 year statute of limitations to settle your case. This is more than enough time for most injuries to heal. However, getting the proper treatment to get you back to normal can be a struggle if not properly addressed and consistently addressed.

If you have been injured in a car accident, please contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation. We are paid out of the settlement so everyone can afford us but you can’t afford not to have us when settling against insurance companies. Most cases do not go to trial and can be settled within 2-3 months of being done with treatment. Call today!

Andrew CherinWhose Insurance Will Pay For Your Medical Bills Following a Car Accident?
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Car Accident Injury Lawyer Seattle FAQ

I get a lot of questions about what is a good car accident injury case, how much is my case worth, will other person have to pay me money personally or just their insurance company, will my case have to go to trial if I hire a lawyer, can I afford a lawyer, will my case drag on forever, etc.? I will answer each of these questions below.

Do you have to be seriously injured in order to hire a personal injury lawyer for your car accident? The answer may surprise some people but no. Most of my cases are people who have been injured in a car accident and require chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy in order to get better. Most people are done with treatment anywhere from 3 months to 9 months of treatment. These are good cases and worth hiring a lawyer for.

Can you afford to hire a personal injury lawyer? This is the best part of being a personal injury lawyer – everyone can afford to hire one. We are paid out of the settlement a strict percentage 33 and 1/3 percent with no costs up front to you. This is an area of law that is different that all others where you will have to put up a large retainer to pay for a lawyer.

Will my case have to go to trial or take a long time to settle if I hire a lawyer? 99.9% of cases do not go to trial after hiring a personal injury lawyer. We can usually settle your case within 2-3 months of you being done with treatment. The whole process is relatively quick compared to people’s thought of how long a personal injury case takes. The case is yours to settle so we will present to you the insurance company’s highest offer and break it down so you know what exactly you are getting in your pocket.

How much is my case worth? This is one of the hardest questions to answer without a lot of information about you. Things to consider are what kind of treatment you had, what injuries were you diagnosed with, how much are your medical bills, how long was your treatment, did you have any broken bones, did you have surgery, how much work did you miss, do you have any permanent injuries, etc.? You could be owed $10,000 or more depending on how seriously you were injured. Obviously the more serious, the more money you are owed.

Will the other person have to pay a bunch of money personally or will their insurance company cover everything for them? Some people are worried about financially hurting the person that injured them and 99% of the time the person who caused the car accident will not have to pay a dime towards your personal injury case. The entire case will be covered by their insurance company, most of the time.

Contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer immediately in order to determine whether you have a good case and could use the services of a personal injury lawyer. We give free consultations so you have nothing to lose but everything to gain by talking to us.

Andrew CherinCar Accident Injury Lawyer Seattle FAQ
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US Should Look to Norway for Drunk Driving Laws

In response to a question I sent out on what other people suggest for DUI laws and protection measures, one reader stated that US should follow Norway’s laws for drinking and driving to prevent drunk driving car accidents, which often leave victims extremely injured or dead. I looked into the laws for Norway and they state that the legal drinking limit is about .02 BAC compared to the US of .08 BAC.

Norway is dead serious about stopping drunk driving and preventing senseless deaths and injuries related to car accidents. Norway’s .02 BAC level basically means that you cannot even have one drink and drive, otherwise you could potentially lose your drivers license for one year, lose one month’s salary, and go to jail. If your BAC is between .10-.15 you would go to jail for a minimum of 21 days in addition to losing your license for a year.

The problem in the US with .08 BAC limits is that people can have one drink and sometimes two drinks and blow below a .08 BAC, even though they may exhibit signs of slow reaction times and poor motor functions, diminishing their ability to drive. In the US, people believe they are good to drive after drinking because it was just a couple drinks and they feel fine. In Norway, people drink and they do not risk driving because they have had a drink and know they could get a DUI and lose their license even though they are perfectly capable of driving, in American standards of thinking.

If the US had Norway’s DUI laws, people would not even have to debate whether they are too drunk or not to drive. A person that has had any amount of alcohol can easily reason with themselves that they drank alcohol and will blow over a .02 BAC. This takes the decision making/debate out of drinking and driving, which is the biggest problem with people who drink and drive. It’s not until they get caught and blow over a .08 BAC or that they crash and hurt someone that they realize they were not actually good to drive.

If we are truly serious about stopping drunk driving car accidents and countless senseless deaths, we should take the debate out of people who are clearly not in the right mind to make a decision. We should advocate for a lower drunk driving limit if we truly want to make a difference with drunk driving car accidents.

Andrew CherinUS Should Look to Norway for Drunk Driving Laws
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How to settle a car accident injury case?

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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