Some car accidents have devastating consequences. If you were injured in an accident in Seattle that happened because of someone’s negligence, you need to know your legal options. Washington is an at-fault state, so the at-fault driver must pay compensation to the victims. In the real world, of course, things are rarely that simple. In this post, we are sharing a guide on selecting an attorney after a car accident injury in Seattle.
Do you really need a lawyer?
If your car accident was a minor bump, you don’t need a lawyer. Inform your insurance company, and file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. The claims adjuster will investigate the matter to find fault, and make an offer accordingly. However, Washington follows the pure comparative negligence rule. If you had a share in fault, your settlement will be lower. In general, you should seek legal advice, if –
- Your injuries are severe
- You are likely to suffer from temporary or permanent disabilities
- You were partly at fault
- You are unsure of fault
- You don’t want to deal with the car accident claim on your own
Finding the right lawyer
Not all personal injury lawyers in Seattle specialize in car accident cases, so take your time before you choose someone. Here are some questions to ask when you meet an attorney for the first consultation –
- What percentage of your practice is dedicated to car accident cases?
- What do you think of my claim? How much can I expect in a settlement?
- Will you handle the case? Will someone else from the law firm work on my case?
- Will you work on a contingency basis? What about other costs?
- Will you share a few references?
If a car accident lawyer claims to be among the best in Seattle, they must offer references. Check if the lawyer has good reviews online, and don’t shy away from calling the references. If the attorney agrees to take the case, they will not charge you until they win. The contingency fee is usually no more than 40%, but do ask in advance. There are other costs related to car accident cases, including litigation and investigation expenses, which must be discussed with the attorney.
Finally, check the work profile of the lawyer and ask about their strategy for the case. A skilled car accident attorney should have experience of trial too, although most cases and claims are settled outside of court. Don’t wait for long to hire a lawyer after your car accident.