Car Accident Lawyer in Bellevue Helping Car Accident Victims Get Fair Compensation
Car accidents can be traumatic events that can turn an ordinary day into a nightmare. While you
may be confused and in disbelief that you were involved in an accident, it is essential to know
the proper steps to take and how to protect your rights. Learn how car accident claims work in
Washington and when to seek the help of a car accident lawyer.
What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident, the first thing you should do is get emergency
medical help for any major injuries. If you or any of the parties involved in the accident are
severely injured, call 911 right away. If injuries are minor, move the vehicles to a safe area (if
possible), but be sure to take pictures and videos of the scene of the crash before that.
If it is safe to do so, document the scene of the accident and record as much information as
possible. Write down the contact information and insurance information of the other driver, as
well as any witnesses to the accident. If a law enforcement officer is dispatched to the accident
site and fills out a police report, you may want to obtain a copy of the report. Finally, take a
minute to write down everything you remember seeing and doing in the moments leading to the
accident, during and after the accident, as certain details may be easy to forget later on.
Do All Car Accidents Need to Be Reported to the Police in Washington?
In Washington, any automotive accidents that result in severe injuries, death, or significant
property damages should be reported to law enforcement. In these cases, a police officer may
be sent to the scene of the accident to fill out a police report, documenting any important
information about both drivers and the sequence of events that led to the accident. If the police
officer finds that any of the drivers were breaking traffic laws, such as speeding or driving under
the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer may issue citations or take appropriate measures
such as taking the intoxicated driver into custody.
While you may not be required to report minor accidents, it may still be a good idea to do so.
Some insurance policies require a police report in order to initiate a claim. If you called law
enforcement, but an officer was not dispatched to the accident scene, you may file a report later
on – the Washington State Patrol even offers an online tool to allow citizens to report an
accident. Keep a copy of the report and contact your insurance company as well as a car
accident attorney as soon as possible.
Can I File an Insurance Claim With the Other Driver’s Insurance Even if I Was Also at Fault?
In some states, victims of a car accident cannot be even slightly responsible for their accident,
and the smallest percentage of fault means they may be barred from receiving compensation.
Fortunately, the state of Washington is one of 12 states that follow the pure comparative
negligence rule, which is a lot more lenient to accident victims and allows them to recover some
compensation, even if they were partially at fault for their accident.
Therefore, you may be able to file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance, even if
you may have partially contributed to your accident. However, the amount of compensation you
may be eligible to receive may be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. In other
words, if it was determined that you were 30% at fault, your final award amount will likely be
reduced by 30%. While some states may bar victims who are 50% or 51% at fault, the state of
Washington allows victims who are as much as 99% at fault to seek compensation. If you were
partially at fault, working with a car accident attorney is important so as to reduce your
percentage of liability and maximize the amount you may receive.
What Should I Do if the Insurance Company Is Offering Me a Low Settlement Amount?
It may come as a surprise that many insurance companies routinely offer low, inadequate
settlements to car accident claimants and may even attempt to pressure them into accepting
their initial offer. By quickly coming up with an offer and trying to convince the claimant to accept
it, the insurance company is simply protecting its bottom line, as it is in its best interest to close
claims as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Regardless of what the insurance company may tell you, you are not obligated to accept their
initial offer. In fact, it is best not to accept any offer or sign anything before consulting a car
accident lawyer first. Your attorney may also take over the task of negotiating with the insurance
company on your behalf, minimizing your risk of falling for the usual tactics insurance
companies typically use to protect their profits.
What Kind of Damages May I Be Eligible to Recover?
In most car accident claims, your final settlement award is a combination of economic and non-
economic damages. Economic damages are the tangible financial losses you sustained as a
direct result of your accident and injuries. Medical bills, lost wages, and the cost of repairing or
replacing your car are just a few of many possible examples of economic damages.
In addition, because an accident can greatly impact a victim’s psychological well-being, you may
also seek compensation for non-economic damages, which are sometimes informally referred to
as “pain and suffering”. Emotional distress, physical pain resulting from the injury and recovery
process, and any other psychological or mental issues caused by the accident and injury can all
be counted as non-economic damages.
In certain cases, victims involved in an accident caused by the gross negligence of another
driver may be eligible to receive punitive damages in addition to standard damages. Punitive
damages are meant to work as a punishment for the defendant’s gross negligence and lack of
regard for the safety of others. Because a civil court cannot issue criminal penalties in a gross
negligence case, punitive damages work similarly to a fine, with the goal of preventing the
defendant from engaging in similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are not available in
every case. Consult your attorney to understand what type of damages your particular case may
entitle you to receive.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer in Bellevue Help?
Being hurt in a car accident is a traumatic and unexpected event that may leave you confused
and overwhelmed, making it hard to know what to do next or how to get reimbursed for your
losses. You may be dealing with endless forms and red tape while receiving constant calls from
insurance adjusters who want to find a reason to pay you less than you deserve. A car accident
lawyer can take over every aspect of your case on your behalf, so all you have to do is focus on
At Cascade Injury Law, PLLC, you can receive the caring and knowledgeable legal help you
need to protect your rights as a car accident victim. Cascade Injury Law, PLLC, has assisted
countless victims in Bellevue and surrounding areas to get fair compensation after a car
accident. Call 425-637-3096 to request a consultation and discuss your case.