Personal Injury Lawyer Kennewick WA
As a personal injury lawyer Kennewick, WA, trusts can confirm, distracted driving continues to be one of the most dangerous yet preventable hazards plaguing motorists statewide. Taking your eyes off the road while operating a vehicle even for a few seconds can result in a serious accident. When you are not paying full attention, you can miss sudden hazards or fail to control your vehicle properly. Distracted driving is a problem that leads to many fatalities and injuries each year. Like most states, Washington has outlawed texting while driving. Thankfully, lawmakers also saw fit to ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Studies have shown that drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a crash when talking on a cellphone. If you have been hurt in a car accident, don’t waste time and call a lawyer right away. They will inform you of the steps you can take so that you can file a claim in time.
Why Retain a Kennewick, WA Personal Injury Lawyer
A good place to begin is to call a lawyer right after an accident. If you find yourself drowning in expenses, such as medical bills, lost wages, or have a significantly reduced earnings capacity, you can talk to a skilled lawyer and they can help you seek ways to recover compensation for all of your losses. Understandably, many accident victims just want to move past their experience so they don’t take the time to explore their legal options. However, being aware of your options can help you make the right decision and can help you avoid making ones that you will regret. Have the full information before you decide that you don’t want to pursue legal action.
Following any accident involving negligence, you may have experienced significant monetary losses. These could be related to anything, but often include medical costs, lost wages, property damage costs, and more. These expenses can amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on how severe your injuries are. You might have thought, or even attempted, to file a claim with the insurance company. Perhaps they have told you they are here for you and ready to help. You might have even been offered a settlement, but are resistant to accept it. As a Kennewick, WA personal injury lawyer might tell you, the last thing you should do is accept their offer without knowing all of your options. Insurance companies will prioritize their profits before your best interests, so do not take the first offer that you are presented with. Before you accept any settlement offer given to you by the insurance company, have a lawyer review it and they will let you know if you are entitled to more than what they are offering you.
All too often our lawyers hear about someone who accepted a fast settlement before the extent of their damages/losses had been valued. When they do so, they cannot accept anything more. You cannot change your mind or ask for a greater amount once you accept a settlement offer, so choose wisely. For example, if you accept a settlement of $30,000, and you then have $50,000 in total losses, you will be responsible for the remaining $20,000. Insurance companies are very clever and know how to use language in a way that compels people to make haste decisions. This is also a good reason to know what your complete list of damages is so you know what settlement offer to accept. You don’t want to accept an offer only to find out your expenses are $50,000 higher than you thought. With a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, WA on your side, something like this won’t happen. They will make accurate calculations so that all of your losses will be covered. As leading trial injury lawyers, we don’t accept a fast settlement and never agree to an amount that is less than fair or just. This is one of the biggest advantages of retaining a lawyer versus handling a claim on your own.
Whether you have been injured in a car accident, slipped and fallen in a grocery store, harmed by a doctor, or exposed to a toxic chemical, let a personal injury lawyer from Telaré Law help you. For years we have recovered millions in damages for our clients. It doesn’t matter if you have a fairly basic case or are dealing with a more complex one, we will use our resources and skills to give you the best legal representation. As a victim, we will support you throughout the entire case. We understand the challenges of these cases and also know that you may be in a vulnerable situation. The good news is that you don’t have to deal with legal struggles alone. If you would like to get advice, ask questions, or learn more about your legal options, call Telaré Law.
Understanding the Benefits of a Lawyer
A Lawyer Has Experience – A lawyer has the necessary experience to fight claims of all complications. A good lawyer will know the laws relevant to your case and can build a defense that is irrefutable. Unlike the average person, a lawyer has strong knowledge of the law and legal practices so they are prepared to help you navigate what is often a challenging system.
A Lawyer Works on Contingency – The vast majority of personal injury lawyers will handle cases on contingency. This means you are not required to pay their legal fees upfront. Only if the firm wins your case will they be paid. As a general rule of thumb, the fees for a lawyer are between 25 and 45 percent. There are factors, and typically the more complicated the case is, the more a lawyers’ fee might be. You are encouraged to speak with Telaré Law to learn more about our payment arrangements.
If you have been injured in an accident, please reach out to Telaré Law to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, Washington. We will be happy to listen to your concerns and guide you on your way to make a sound decision on how best to proceed.
Have You Been Injured by a Distracted Driver?
Despite our state’s stringent laws, however, distracted driving remains a pervasive problem. According to statistics from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, nearly 1 in every 4 serious crashes (23 percent) statewide is caused by distracted driving. This behavior is responsible for 30 percent of all crash fatalities.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured by a distracted driver (whether distracted by a cellphone or another source), know that you do have legal options available to you. The experienced team at Telaré Law is ready to help you seek the compensation you need and deserve.
Violating a Duty of Care
Each of us may be controlling our own vehicles and choosing our own destinations, but we share a common responsibility. By traveling on shared roads, each driver assumes a “duty of care” that they owe to all other vehicle occupants, bicyclists, and pedestrians. This essentially means that we all must avoid driving in a way that could reasonably be predicted to cause injury to others.
Given the statistics about the dangers of distracted driving, those who engage in the behavior are knowingly violating their duty of care. Even if texting and handheld cellphones weren’t explicitly banned behind the wheel in Washington, someone who caused a distracted driving accident could be sued for personal injury because of the duty of care principle. Thankfully, these behaviors are banned, which ultimately makes it easier for injured drivers to pursue litigation with the help of an experienced Kennewick, WA personal injury lawyer.
Cellphones are the Largest Problem
There are many ways to be distracted behind the wheel. Distraction is defined as any behavior that:
- Takes the driver’s eyes off the road
- Takes the driver’s hands off the steering wheel
- Takes the driver’s mind off the task of driving
Eating, applying makeup, changing the radio station or having extended conversations with passengers in the back seat could all be distracting enough to result in a crash. But by a wide margin, cellphones have been shown to be the most common distraction on our roads and highways. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission notes that of all the distracted drivers observed by others, about 70 percent were using their cellphones.
The one silver lining about cell phones is that they can provide the evidence needed to prove distracted driving in court. Personal injury attorneys often subpoena call logs and text message data to demonstrate that the distracted driver was using their phone at or very near the time of the crash.
3 Things To Focus On During Your Car Accident Recovery
Following your car accident, you may be feeling as if your life has come to a stop. This can be further complicated if you are out of work or facing a long physical recovery. The legal team at Telare Law is here to help you deal with this life-altering event. Here are 3 things you should be focusing on during your car accident recovery.
If you were injured in your accident, it is imperative that you follow all of your doctor’s orders concerning your recovery. Although you may feel like you need to get back to your normal life as quickly as possible, remember that you cannot fully recover unless you give your body the time it needs to heal.
A car accident is a traumatic event and it may take you some time to deal with the emotional results of the incident. If you are also facing a legal battle as part of your accident, the added stress can really take a toll on your mental health.
It is very important during this time to protect your mental health. You may want to talk with a counselor or a therapist to help you navigate this situation.
Bringing in the help of a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, WA can also help to put your mind at ease. The legal team at Telare Law can help make this often confusing legal process less intimidating. When you have answers to your questions you can proceed with more confidence. This is a boost to your mental health during this difficult time.
If someone else was to blame for your car accident, you may be facing a legal battle as well as your own personal recovery. Insurance companies often cannot be trusted to deliver a fair and just settlement to those who were injured in a car accident. When this is the case, it may be necessary to bring on the help of a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, WA. These professionals know exactly what the law has to say about your rights and what is a fair amount of compensation for your injuries.
Trying to deal with an insurance company on your own can be frustrating and will often result in you getting the short end of the deal. The professionals at Telare Law can help make sure the legal aspects of your recovery are dealt with properly.
When Do I Need A Personal Injury Lawyer in Kennewick, WA?
As soon as you are injured in an accident, you can feel assured in knowing the insurance company will be evaluating your claim. Because of this, it is essential that you retain counsel as soon as possible to level the playing field.
If you believe the accident was another person’s fault, you may have a lot of questions. One of these may be, “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?”
Not all situations warrant the need for a lawyer; however, when there is a serious injury or significant loss, you will likely require the help of an attorney. That said, the following are a few ways to know if you may need a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, Washington. No two accidents are identical. The circumstances are almost always unique. If you are unsure about anything, call our firm today.
Your Injury Was Serious or You Suffered a Disability
If you suffered a serious injury, or have been left with a permanent disability, you almost certainly need a lawyer. In a situation like this, there is little room for errors. At the minimum, consulting with a lawyer is recommended. By hiring a lawyer, you may prevent lifelong stress for you and your loved ones.
You Don’t Know Who is to Blame
If you don’t know who is at fault, it may be a good idea to talk with a lawyer. In a situation like this, you may be accused of what happened. The insurance company might even pressure you to admit fault. You should not accept any liability. Talk with a lawyer to find out how to protect your rights and interests, and to receive defense from cross-claims.
Multiple Parties Are Involved
If there were multiple parties involved in your accident, consulting with a personal injury law firm may help you to avoid being accused or stuck with many bills. Multi-party claims are challenging and generally require a legal advocate who can maintain the management and communication of different insurance companies. Furthermore, there is a chance of receiving less compensation. A good lawyer can help you to maximize your damages in a multi-party claim.
The Insurance Company is Denying Your Claim
Insurance companies know that 99 percent of people are not aware of their rights, as well as the laws and procedures that are applicable to a claim. Because of this, they may use their advantage to deny a legitimate claim. They do this with the hope that you become discouraged, or believe them and don’t proceed. In other cases, they may offer you a low-ball settlement. If you accept, you will very likely be able to do nothing further. Whether you have been denied a claim, are facing accusations, or are being offered a low settlement, please call a Kennewick, WA personal injury lawyer.
Will My Case Qualify for Punitive Damages?
When a victim is injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness, Washington law allows the victim to pursue a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party in order to recover damages they have suffered as a result of their injuries. If the victim died as a result of their injuries, their family or estate representative can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. Some of the more common types of accidents that result in one of these legal actions include car accidents, premises liability accidents, work accidents, and dog attacks.
As a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, WA can explain, the judge or jury in a personal injury lawsuit will decide if the party that is accused of causing the accident acted in a negligent or reckless manner and it was that behavior that did indeed cause the accidents. The purpose of the award or settlement the victim (or their family in a wrongful death lawsuit) receives is to compensate them for both the economic and noneconomic losses their injuries have caused them.
There are some cases, however, where the actions of the at-fault party are so egregious that they are ordered to also pay the victim punitive damages.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim for either their economic damages (medical bills, loss of income, etc.) or their non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional anguish, etc.). Instead, these damages are meant to serve as a financial punishment for the behavior of the at-fault party. Punitive damages are also meant to serve as a message to “society” that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
As a Kennewick, WA personal injury lawyer can explain, one of the most common types of accidents where punitive damages are often awarded is drunk driving accidents. This is because driving while under the influence is against the law. When a driver makes the decision to drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they do so knowing they are committing a crime, but they do it anyway. The law says this reckless indifference to the risk of harming others should be punished not only in a criminal court with the loss of license and/or other penalties, but also in a civil court by awarding the victim punitive damages.
Other types of personal injury cases where punitive damages may be awarded are defective product lawsuits. In many of these cases, investigations reveal that the company manufacturing the defective or dangerous product was aware of the dangers their product posed to the general public, yet chose to keep this information secret, resulting in injury and death to countless numbers of victims.
If you have been injured in an accident, a Kennewick, WA personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case to see what type of damages you may be entitled to.
3 Types of Impaired Driving
Distracted driving is only one of the four Ds that contribute to serious car accidents. There are three more that may be just as hazardous as distracted driving.
1. Drunk Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, around 28 people are killed by drunk drivers every day. That’s an average of one every 52 minutes. In 2019, 10,142 people died because of drunk drivers. Every one of those deaths was preventable.
Driving Laws by Nolo reports on the consequences of drunk driving in every state. Penalties may include jail time up to two years, Fines from $150-$6,250. License suspension from 15 days to one year. In some states, you must install an ignition interlock device, a breathalyzer you must pass before your car will start.
If you are the victim of a drunk driver, contact Telare Law, a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, WA, for help.
2. Drugged Driving
Drugged driving is more difficult to track than drunk driving. There are no easy roadside tests for drugs. The NHTSA reports that approximately 20% of surveyed drivers tested positive for drugs that could impair their ability to drive safely.
It’s not just illegal drugs that are causing problems. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause drowsiness, dizziness, or other side effects that make it harder to drive safely. With some states legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use, their incidence of drugged driving accidents has increased. It is still illegal in those states to drive under the influence of marijuana.
While drunk driving has a national standard — you’re driving drunk if your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher — there is no such scale for drugs. But a drugged driver is just as dangerous as a drunk driver. Impaired is impaired, no matter the substance causing the impairment.
If a drugged driver caused the accident that injured you, talk to a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, WA, such as Telare Law..
3. Drowsy Driving
If drugged driving is difficult to track, drowsy driving is even more so. There are no tests for sleepiness or fatigue. The NHTSA estimates that in 2017, 91,000 crashes reported to police involved drowsy drivers. Those crashes resulted in approximately 50,000 injuries and almost 800 deaths.
Drowsy driving can result from a wide variety of issues. A new baby keeping you up at night. A long commute after work. A long, monotonous drive to visit relatives for the holidays. A case of sleep apnea.
Whatever the cause, drowsy driving is dangerous driving. If you are the victim of a drowsy driver, call Telare Law, a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, WA.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Legal Options
If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, you have rights that deserve to be protected and legal options available to you. As a victim, you do not need to go through this experience alone. You have access to a top legal firm that has an excellent success rate helping clients recover the compensation that they are entitled to receive. When you choose to hire us, you don’t need to pay out of pocket right away. We accept 99.9 percent of personal injury cases on contingency. This means you pay nothing up front to have a lawyer defend your rights and interests. It is important that you make a decision to seek legal help soon. Waiting too long to file a claim after an accident can result in a weak case that may not get you the results you want. To learn more during a free consultation, call our office to speak with an experienced Kennewick, WA personal injury lawyer; we look forward to speaking with you.
Sit down with attorney George Telare to discuss the importance of UIM Coverage