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  1. #1
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    Default Traffic Accident with Injuries

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Washington

    Was a passenger in a car, when the vehicle got t-boned by a drunk, speeding driver. Ended up in the hospital for 6 days with broken bones, TBI, pneumothorax, amnesia etc. Is it possible to deal with insurance claim on my own or do I need a lawyer?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Traffic Accident with Injuries

    Quote Quoting Lulla
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    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Washington

    Was a passenger in a car, when the vehicle got t-boned by a drunk, speeding driver. Ended up in the hospital for 6 days with broken bones, TBI, pneumothorax, amnesia etc. Is it possible to deal with insurance claim on my own or do I need a lawyer?
    You aren't required to have a lawyer. But the at fault driver's insurance will do everything it can to pay you as little as possible and to delay paying you for as long as possible. If you proceed without a lawyer, that will get even worse since the insurance company will not take any threat of litigation you make very seriously and will assume (probably correctly) that you are not very knowledgeable or skilled at litigating a case like this. So until you have a lawyer it will think it will come out of it pretty cheap. And most of the time where an inexperienced pro se party sues and the defendant is represented by an experienced defense attorney that is exactly what happens even with good evidence the pro se party walks away with a lot less (perhaps nothing) than he or she would have had with a lawyer. It's that knowledge and experience to even the playing field that you are paying the legal fees for the lawyer. If your total damages are not very large then your downside risk doing it yourself is more limited and you might come out perhaps as good as you would with a lawyer after the legal fees. But if your damages are significant, you stand to potentially lose a lot more without a lawyer.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Traffic Accident with Injuries

    Agree with TM with additional reason.

    If your damages are substantial and the drunk driver has minimum coverage you'll have to look toward your driver's underinsured motorists coverage and his/her insurance people will treat you as an adversary just like the drunk driver's insurance people.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Traffic Accident with Injuries

    Quote Quoting Lulla
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    Was a passenger in a car, when the vehicle got t-boned by a drunk, speeding driver. Ended up in the hospital for 6 days with broken bones, TBI, pneumothorax, amnesia etc.
    I'm going to assume that the word you omitted from both of these sentences was "I" -- as in "I was a passenger" and "I ended up in the hospital." Correct?


    Quote Quoting Lulla
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    Is it possible to deal with insurance claim on my own or do I need a lawyer?
    In the abstract world of all that is hypothetical, virtually anything is possible. As far as the "need" for a lawyer, define "need." Are you legally required to hire one? No. Are you capable of handling this without a lawyer? We have no way of knowing because we don't know you.

    Here are some questions for you:

    Do you have personal medical insurance? If so, how much will you spend out of pocket for your medical treatment (over and above what your insurance covers)?

    Did the driver of the car in which you were a passenger have medical payments coverage? If so, have you made a claim under that coverage?

    Was the driver of the car in which you were a passenger also injured? if so, were his/her injuries of the same relative severity as yours?

    Did the at-fault driver have liability coverage? If so, what are the limits of that coverage (both per person and per incident)?

    Do you have any information about the extent of the at-fault driver's income and assets beyond his/her insurance coverage?


    Keep in mind that personal injury lawyers work on contingency, which means they get a percentage of whatever amount you recover. The typical percentage is 33.33% (i.e., 1/3), which means that, unless an attorney can get you a recovery that is at least 1.5 times the amount you could get on your own, hiring an attorney will be a losing proposition.

    All that said, there is no downside in at least consulting with a couple local personal injury attorneys.

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    But the at fault driver's insurance will do everything it can to pay you as little as possible and to delay paying you for as long as possible. If you proceed without a lawyer, that will get even worse
    I disagree with this. It's the sort of generalization that proceeds from the same sort of ignorance that is the basis of virtually every generalization made about lawyers.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Traffic Accident with Injuries

    Yes, I was the passenger.

    Re questions (not sure how to "quote")

    I have a personal medical insurance, which I had to use as my PIP was exhausted before I even left the hospital. So far I spent at about 100k in medical costs.

    My driver had medical payments coverage, not sure if I made a claim. Do you refer to PIP?

    Driver of the car had a broken rib and a clavicle. My injuries were more severe as my elbow got stuck under the movable arm rest.

    I have no info re assets of at fault driver who hit us. I only know that she was 26 yo in a 17 year old car.

    [/QUOTE]

    Here are some questions for you:

    Do you have personal medical insurance? If so, how much will you spend out of pocket for your medical treatment (over and above what your insurance covers)?

    Did the driver of the car in which you were a passenger have medical payments coverage? If so, have you made a claim under that coverage?

    Was the driver of the car in which you were a passenger also injured? if so, were his/her injuries of the same relative severity as yours?

    Did the at-fault driver have liability coverage? If so, what are the limits of that coverage (both per person and per incident)?

    Do you have any information about the extent of the at-fault driver's income and assets beyond his/her insurance coverage?

    [/QUOTE]

    Replied before learning how to use quotes. Sorry.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Traffic Accident with Injuries

    Quote Quoting Lulla
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    I have a personal medical insurance, which I had to use as my PIP was exhausted before I even left the hospital. So far I spent at about 100k in medical costs.
    Definitely talk to a personal injury attorney.

    Quote Quoting Lulla
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    My driver had medical payments coverage, not sure if I made a claim. Do you refer to PIP?
    Either or both. Call directly to his insurance company's claims department and talk to a claim rep about PIP, Med Pay, and Underinsured Motorists. Get his/her name, extension, and a claim number.

    Quote Quoting Lulla
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    I have no info re assets of at fault driver who hit us. I only know that she was 26 yo in a 17 year old car.
    Unfortunately, that tells me likely minimum limits and little or no assets. However, if she was using somebody else's car, like a parent there may be an issue of negligent entrustment (google it). A stretch, to be sure, but all the more reason to talk to an attorney who has the expertise to ferret out this information.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Traffic Accident with Injuries

    I'm not sure why you didn't answer my questions about the existence and extent of the at-fault driver's insurance coverage.

    However, I would expect that most 26-year olds who are driving 17 year old cars (a) are carrying minimum liability coverage and (b) have little or no ability to pay anything in excess of insurance coverage. You therefore probably cannot reasonably expect to receive anything beyond $25k from the at-fault driver (via her insurance), and you likely have no need for an attorney to get that, but there's still no harm in getting a consultation.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Traffic Accident with Injuries

    Thanks. I did not answer as I did not know.

    Thanks for this info.

    Thank you everyone for your help!

    As I am almost at the end of three years statue of limitations, can I get an extension for the statue of limitations or do I need a lawyer for this? If I can get the extension, is it hard to get?
    I was supposed to deal with it in March, but got sidetracked with the pandemic

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Traffic Accident with Injuries

    Quote Quoting Lulla
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    As I am almost at the end of three years statue of limitations, can I get an extension for the statue of limitations or do I need a lawyer for this?
    If the statute of limitations (SOL) is near expiring then you need to make sure you get the complaint filed with the court before that occurs. I don't see any extension in Washington state for the SOL due to covid, so don't count on there being an extension of the SOL. In most states extension of the SOL is very limited; generally you'd need to be under a disability that actually prevents you from filing, like being mentally incompetent and lacking a guardian to do it for you. If you don't know how to file a proper complaint then you should see a lawyer and at least discuss the case and see what you need to do and decide from there whether you want to hire an attorney. Most will give a free initial consultation. But don't dely getting appointments. If you get too close to the SOL a lot of lawyers are not going to want to take the case because they won't have the time they need to get your complaint filed in time with the other work they already have scheduled. The more lead time you have, the better.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Traffic Accident with Injuries

    Quote Quoting Lulla
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    As I am almost at the end of three years statue of limitations,
    You should have said that in your first post.

    Has the other driver's insurance company offered you its per person policy limit?

    Have you talked to your driver's insurance about underinsured motorists coverage? With what result if any.

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