Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
Why Should I Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer After A Car Accident?
Being involved in a car accident can be frightening and can have a ripple effect on many other aspects of your life. The immediate concern, obviously, is to assess for injuries. Next, it is important to seek a medical assessment, even if you don’t have an obvious injury. Over the following days, however, life can quickly become overwhelming. Dealing with insurance companies, other involved parties, and trying to get your vehicle fixed takes a lot of time and energy. While you are trying to recover from an injury, it can be difficult to focus on everything else.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, know that you don’t have to face the future alone. The personal injury attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law in Auburn, Washington have years of experience and know just how to help. While we handle the paperwork and negotiate with the insurance companies, we want you to focus on healing.
Insurance companies are for-profit; therefore, they look for every possible way to avoid paying out on a claim. Due to years of successful practice, the auto accident lawyers at Ritchie Reiersen Law know how to navigate through the insurance maze. Above all, our goal is to keep your needs as the focus of the negotiations. We know the intricate details of the laws of Washington, and we will make sure your rights are protected.
For your free consultation, call Ritchie Reiersen Law in Auburn, Washington today at (253) 204-2244.
What Types Of Cases Can Ritchie Reiersen Law in Auburn Help With?
At Ritchie Reiersen Law in Auburn, we love our job as personal injury attorneys. We find joy in being able to help people who have been injured by others. While there are many areas that we have knowledge in, we specialize in cases of injuries due to auto accidents of all varieties (semi truck, bicycle, pedestrian vs auto, etc.), dog attacks, slips and falls, and wrongful death.
The common thread in these experiences is that an innocent person has become a victim, usually with long-lasting injuries, due to the negligence or willful disregard of another individual. How do the personal injury attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law help?
Rights, Respect, and Responsibility
First of all, we fight for your rights. While we take care of the phone calls, paperwork, and negotiations, you get to take time to rest and focus on healing. Our goal is to take the bulk of the stress of the situation from you. As a result of our years of experience, we have an intricate knowledge of the laws in Washington and will make sure your rights are being protected.
From the moment you walk in our door and until your case is settled, we will treat you with the respect and compassion you deserve. If you have been injured and you aren’t sure where to turn, call us at (253) 204-2244.
Let one of our compassionate personal injury lawyers in Auburn talk with you about your options. The pressure-free consultation will cost you nothing; however, it may end up being the very thing that helps you get your life back to normal.
What Can I Expect When Working With An Auto Accident Attorney?
If you have been injured in an auto accident in the Auburn area, and you’re considering working with an attorney, how do you know what should happen?
At Ritchie Reiersen Law in Auburn, we believe in being transparent in what we do. As a result, you can relax, focus on healing, and trust us to do what is in your best interest. If you choose to work with a personal injury lawyer, you can reasonably expect the following things to happen:
Discuss the accident and your injuries, and get their honest legal feedback on your case.
The contract will be specific about what you can expect – process, fees, etc – and it should clearly state that the lawyers don’t get paid unless you win your case.
A quality attorney will clearly and patiently explain the road ahead, and welcome your input in the process.
4. You focus on healing; we will focus on negotiations.
We will do everything in our power to build a strong case for you, allowing you time to focus on healing and getting your life back to normal.
Why Choose Ritchie Reiersen Law Personal Injury Attorneys in Auburn?
At Ritchie Reiersen Law, we go to work every day to fight for the rights of those who have been injured due to the neglectful actions of another. This is a job we love, and we approach it with full purpose of heart. Because we primarily focus on auto accidents and personal injury cases, we have the knowledge of the laws and processes that are involved. Additionally, we are quite adept at navigating the insurance claims maze in order to get results.
We consider it an honor to earn the trust of our clients through the work we do. If you have been injured in an automobile accident and would like to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate car accident attorneys, call Ritchie Reiersen Law in Auburn today at (253) 204-2244.
What To Do After An Auto Accident In Auburn, Washington
Take Care of Yourself
If you’re injured in a car accident, it is imperative that you receive the medical care you need, right away. Not only will this help you feel better as you start on the road to healing sooner, but it will also ensure that there is evidence in your medical records that your injury is a result of the car accident. This can help prevent the insurance company from denying your injury claim.
Call the Police
Police officers have a great deal of weight when it comes to deciding fault and liability. Even if you feel the accident is a “minor” one, call the police and get an official police report of the collision. This also protects you in the case that the opposing driver changes their story down the road.
Insurance adjusters have been known (quite often) to claim that the collision is “low impact” and therefore decrease the value of your damages. The best way to mitigate this comment from them is to have pictures of your vehicle and the damage that is done. Additionally, take photos of the other vehicle involved, as well as the scene of the accident. These items can be used as evidence when seeking damages.
Get As Much Information As You Can
In order to open the claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, you will need a significant amount of information. Before you leave the scene of the accident, make sure you have the following information – it will make your life much easier in the months to come as you work through the claims process.
- Driver’s Information: Name, address, phone number, driver’s license info
- Driver’s Insurance: Take a picture of insurance card with policy number
- Driver’s Car: Get the license plate number and take pictures of the car
- Accident Details: Write down the facts surrounding the accident as soon as you can
- Witnesses: Get contact info for all witnesses and have them talk to police
- Police Reports: Get all police reports and accident records
Ritchie Reiersen Auto Accident Lawyers are Experienced in Many Different Types of Car Crash Cases, Including:
We Can Help You!
Ritchie Reiersen Law has experienced personal injury attorneys in Auburn, Washington with a successful history of handling car accidents cases. As your auto accident lawyer, we handle the medical bills, deal with the insurance companies, and take care of the legal paperwork. Most importantly, we work hard to ensure you get a fair settlement. With personal injury lawyers at locations in Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Richland, Pasco), Yakima, Tacoma (Lakewood), Auburn, and Portland, we can be available to help you, wherever you are.
Call Ritchie Reiersen Law for your free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Auburn today at (253) 204-2244.
What a Local Personal Injury Attorney in Auburn Would Do For You
Having helped thousands of clients after car accidents, the personal injury attorneys at Ritchie Reiersen Law in Auburn know how to win a case with solid results. With our dedicated attorneys, we have helped clients recover over $25 million in damages. We strive to be dependable and ethical members of our local communities. It is an honor to earn your trust through the work we do on your behalf.
Call today! Car Accident Attorney Auburn – (253) 204-2244
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do For Me After a Car Accident?
The job of a personal injury attorney – sometimes called an auto accident attorney – is to help guide you through the claims process with success. Your attorney will help you fully evaluate the damage that you sustained from the accident, then fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will make sure the medical bills get paid, while also helping to ensure that you are seeing the right doctors. Most important of all, you will focus on recovering from your injuries while your attorney deals with the insurance companies and handles the paperwork. Ultimately your personal injury attorney will help reach a fair resolution for the claim once your medical needs have been met and treatment has been completed. Having a local personal injury attorney in Auburn, Washington can substantially increase your likelihood of being properly compensated after your auto accident.
Why Would I Want to Hire an Attorney After My Auto Accident?
Having a personal injury attorney on your side after your car accident will not only ensure you get compensated for your injuries, but it also makes the process much less stressful than trying to do it on your own. Most people have a busy life, and find it difficult to spend countless hours in communication with insurance companies. Dealing with the insurance companies and making sure the medical bills are being paid becomes the job and focus of an auto accident attorney – while you take the time to focus on healing.
Experienced auto accident attorneys deal with car accidents every day. Not only do they know what is a fair offer from insurance, but an experienced auto accident attorney knows and anticipates the tactics that the insurance companies use to try to decrease your settlement. You certainly do not need to have an attorney helping you after a car accident – indeed, many individuals successfully settle their claims on their own. It can, however, make your life easier to have someone fighting for your rights – and most of the time, you get a significantly better outcome with an attorney on your side than you would if you were on your own. Insurance companies will have lawyers working for them – it’s only fair that you do too. If you have been in a car accident in Auburn, Washington and you want to receive fair consideration from insurance, consider getting a personal injury attorney on your side to help level the playing field and get you the compensation you deserve.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Personal Injury Attorney?
Almost all personal injury attorneys work on what is called a contingency fee. Put simply, this means they do not get paid unless they win the case for you and you agree to accept the terms of the settlement. Additionally, most personal injury attorneys offer a free, no-pressure consultation to answer your questions. Rather than requiring a large amount of money up front and charging an hourly rate for their services, most personal injury attorneys have found the contingency fee system serves their clients better. When an individual is injured and suffering, the last thing an attorney wants to do is add increased financial stress on a client.
Contingent fees are somewhat risk-free in the sense that you pay nothing up front and the attorney only gets paid if you agree to accept a settlement offer. The attorney’s fee is typically thirty-three percent of the settlement. If you have questions regarding specific costs of personal injury attorneys in Auburn, Washington set up a free consultation and get those questions answered.
What to do After an Auto Accident?
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF: After an accident there are a lot of things going on; the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself. If you need to receive emergency medical care, don’t hesitate to do so. If you need to see the chiropractor, physical therapist, or your primary care provider, make an appointment and receive medical care. Do not wait. The longer you wait, the longer you will continue to hurt. Also, the longer you wait, the more “ammunition” the insurance company has to try to discredit your injuries.
CALL THE POLICE: Always call the police. Police officers have a lot of weight in deciding liability. Additionally, people seem nice and cooperative initially and often even admit fault to you; however, their stories often change. This creates the “he said, she said” scenario that will could result in you having to pay your own expenses and pay for your own medical bills – even when the accident was no fault of your own.
TAKE PICTURES: The number one comment I hear from every insurance adjuster as I try to settle claims is “this is a low impact accident.” One of the easiest ways to challenge that claim is to show pictures of the damaged vehicle. It is also very helpful to take pictures of the other person’s vehicle as well as pictures of the scene of the accident in case the person who hit you tries to deny liability later. Also, get statements from all witnesses as this will validate the facts of the accident.
How Do I Get My Car Fixed After a Car Accident?
When opening a claim, the first step to take is to call your insurance company and let them know you’ve been in an accident and need to open a claim. You will also need to open a claim with the other person’s insurance company. In addition to contacting insurance companies, you will need to take your car to an auto body shop in order to have them assess the damage and put together an estimate. There are many very good auto body shops in Auburn, Washington that are experienced handling insurance claims. Unfortunately, there are also a few that are not quite as good – so it is important to ask friends and family members for recommendations.
Choosing an Auto Body Shop After Your Car Accident
After your car accident, it is likely that the insurance company will try to direct you to one of their “preferred” shops. However, do not be fooled into thinking that is where you are required to take your car. There are a lot of auto body shops in the Auburn area who are very experienced in handling vehicles after a car accident. You have the right to choose any auto repair shop you want. There are many reasons why it may be wise to choose a shop that is not on the list of “preferred” by your insurance company. A personal injury attorney can help you determine which option would be the best for you.
How to Get a Rental Car after a Car Accident
If you are unable to use your vehicle due to an auto accident, the negligent driver is required to either pay for a rental car or pay you for the loss of use of your vehicle. Unfortunately, they are not required to rent you a car that is equivalent to your vehicle; however, that is usually something that you or your attorney can negotiate. An experienced car accident attorney in Auburn, Washington can help direct you in not only getting a temporary rental car, but also getting your car fixed or replaced.
How Do I Open a Claim with an Insurance Company After an Auto Accident?
The initial step in getting the insurance companies to take action is to open a claim. This can be as simple as calling them and letting them know what happened. However, opening a claim often requires a lot more information that includes multiple phone calls, emails, faxes, etc. You will most likely have to open a claim with both your insurance company as well as with the other insurance companies involved.
Initially all insurance companies will want to ask you questions about details of the accident in order to open the claim and determine liability. During these initial conversations the insurance companies will ask you many questions – both about the car accident and about your injuries. It is very beneficial to do these recorded statements in the presence of your attorney. Most personal injury attorneys in Auburn, Washington will actually open the claim for you and do the work through the entire process – giving you the opportunity to focus on healing.
Should I Accept the Settlement Offer from the Insurance After My Car Accident?
Insurance companies may try to communicate with you after your car accident in order to get you to settle your claim. Oftentimes this occurs very early in the claim, and well before you have been able to assess the full extent of your injuries. We strongly advise you not accept any offers until you know for certain that the offer is fair. An experienced car accident attorney deals with settlements daily and is likely your best source in figuring out precisely what a fair settlement would be. There are many personal injury attorneys in the Auburn, Washington area who are experienced in assessing injuries and other damages, as well as negotiating for fair offers. These attorneys will almost always sit down with you for a free consultation to answer your questions.
How Do I Get Medical Treatment After I Am Injured in a Car Accident?
After a car accident, especially if you are injured, your physical recovery needs to be your top priority. Although it is nice to get a little bit of money from a settlement after a car accident, no amount of money is worth it if you do not have your health. It is important to take care of yourself to do everything you can to get your life back to where you were before the accident.
If you are hurting – even if you think the injury will go away with time – seek medical care. Do NOT wait to receive medical treatment. It is crucial to seek medical treatment because the only way to prove that your injury is a result of the car accident is by providing medical records documenting this.
Get the Right Team of Doctors. Having the right doctors on your team will make a huge difference in your case. Although most doctors are more than competent to treat you for your injuries, there is a huge difference in how different doctors document their notes – and those notes are what prove the severity of your injuries. This is another reason why getting an attorney can be very beneficial. Attorneys are not doctors, but they work with them every day. Experienced personal injury attorneys know which doctors in the Auburn area are not only going to help you get better, but also which ones work better with car insurance.
How Do I Pay for Medical Treatment After a Car Accident?
There are many ways to pay for medical treatment after an auto accident. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is generally $10,000, $35,000, or $50,000 in medical coverage and PIP pays the medical bills up front. Secondly, health insurance can also help pay for your medical bills, even if they are related to an accident. Thirdly, if you do not have PIP or health insurance, there are some medical providers who will provide medical treatment on condition that the client, and most likely the client’s attorney, sign a lien. If you have questions about how to pay for medical bills after your car accident, consult with a local personal injury attorney in Auburn, Washington as they can explain all of your options and ensure that your medical bills get paid.
How Do I Get Paid If I Can’t Work After A Car Accident?
A huge complication with getting in a car accident and being injured is that even menial tasks become hard. This means that working your regular job can quickly become an impossibility. To ensure you will be reimbursed for lost wages after a car accident, there are a few things you should do. First, get a doctor’s note excusing you from work due to the injury. Second, it is your responsibility to prove actual wage loss. The only way to prove that you have missed work is to prove that you actually did work in the first place – typically with recent paycheck stubs. Finally, read your insurance policy details – some policies have coverage that can pay you a portion of wage loss prior to settlement. If you do not have wage loss coverage, however, you likely will not be compensated until the case resolves.
We strongly encourage anyone who has a wage loss claim due to injuries caused by a car accident to consult with a personal injury attorney in Auburn, Washington in order to ensure that all of your wage loss will in fact be reimbursed. Recovering from injuries and handling medical bills and the expenses from the damaged vehicle is stressful enough – it is important to be able to receive your lost wages so you can find hope in your financial future.
When Should I Settle My Case After My Car Accident?
It is very important to know that this is your claim, and you have the right to close it at any time. However, there are certainly a few important things to consider before closing your case. These factors include the status of your injuries, statute of limitations, settlement offers, and ultimately your overall well-being.
Still Injured? Do not Close too Early: One of the biggest mistakes people make is accepting a settlement offer before their injury is resolved. Once the claim is closed, the insurance company is no longer responsible for any additional medical bills – even if the injuries are a direct result of the accident and the settlement doesn’t cover all the medical expenses. Therefore, before closing your claim it is imperative to make sure you have completed your medical treatment fully.
Statute of Limitations: Car accident cases have a limited amount of time that the claim remains open. If the settlement is not accepted, or a lawsuit hasn’t been filed, on or before that date, the claim becomes null and you lose out on any settlement the insurance may owe you. Each state has its own statute period, so it is important to understand and close your claim or file a lawsuit prior to that date. In Washington state, most car accidents have a three year time period, while Oregon and many other states only have a two year window for settling your claim. It is wise to consult a personal injury attorney in your local Auburn, Washington area who is experienced handling car accident claims to ensure you do not miss out on the opportunity to file your claim and receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustained.
Process of Closing Your Claim: Once you have decided that you want to close your claim, there are a couple of things that will happen. The car insurance for the at-fault driver will need to acquire a copy of the medical bills and records in order to evaluate your claim and come up with a settlement figure. If you have a car accident attorney, however, the attorney will usually acquire these records and put together what is called a demand packet outlining all medical bills, out of pocket expenses, and wage loss this accident has caused.
During the next step, the insurance company will give you an offer as to how much they are willing to pay to settle your claim. Unfortunately, it is the insurance company’s job as a for-profit business to pay as little as they can when settling a claim. This is one of the primary reasons why having a personal injury attorney who is experienced settling car accidents in your local Auburn, Washington area is vital. An experienced auto accident attorney has the tools and knowledge necessary to help evaluate all the ways the car accident has impacted your life, and is able to put a reasonable monetary value to those.
If you are unable to get an acceptable offer from the insurance company, your options become very limited – litigation is often your best option. This includes arbitrations, mediations and also the traditional “take them to the court house.” It is important to note that just because a lawsuit is filed doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to have to sit in front of a judge – the insurance company can make new offers at any point.
How Do I Choose an Attorney After a Car Accident?
Choosing the right attorney after your car accident is crucial. As with any profession, there are a lot of really good personal injury attorneys in Auburn, Washington – and, unfortunately, there are some that are not quite as experienced. Much like seeing a medical specialist who is trained in the specific procedure you need, you will be in better hands with an attorney who specializes in auto accident cases to resolve your car accident, instead of relying on someone who spends ninety percent of their time helping people get divorced.
Your attorney and her office staff are all on your team. You are going to be dealing with the attorney’s paralegals a lot – probably even more than you do with the attorney. It is important that you not only trust your attorney, but also their staff. One of the best things to do is ask for a referral. Ask your doctor, coworkers, family, and your friends. Read online reviews and study attorney’s websites. In the end, though, there really is no better way to determine how well you will work together than to talk to an attorney either by phone or in person.
Experience matters – but do not be fooled into thinking that the number of years a person has been an attorney means they have a lot of experience. Find out how many auto accidents they have represented, and dig into their successes. Look at your attorney’s biography and be sure that he is as passionate about your case as you are. Find an attorney who loves the job they do every day, and someone who finds joy in helping others. With the combination of passion, honesty, and advocacy, you will have an attorney who will fight hard to protect your rights and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
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