What if I’m injured as a passenger in a Washington Car Accident?

August 4, 2016

If you have been injured as a passenger in a car accident in Spokane or another area of Washington state you likely have many questions. Insurance companies who have their own best interests in mind may be reaching out to you as well. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. Established in 1948, we are local attorneys in Spokane who help the injured receive compensation for their injuries.

When injured as a passenger it is highly unlikely that you were at fault for the accident which took place. In many cases the driver of your car may have been at fault, or possibly another driver, or both drivers. While drivers might be pointing their fingers at each other on liability, they may all be taking issue with your damages.

Settling when there are multiple defendants

The general rule of law in multiple defendant cases is that if you release one defendant from liability, you release all of the other defendants too. Claimants must be very careful about what they sign. Executing the wrong document can operate to foreclose on the possibility of settling with any other defendants. After retaining an experienced car accident lawyer, he or she will advise you on what proposed settlement documents you should sign and shouldn’t sign.

Medical payments coverage

Just about everybody has medical payments coverage through their auto insurance policy, but very few people actually know that they have it. The beauty of medical payments coverage is that it’s payable regardless of liability. It’s inexpensive too. Insurers have been known to pay out on medical payments claims rather quickly. Medical payments coverage isn’t going to cover damages like pain and suffering or permanent disability or disfigurement, but it’s intended to cover medical bills.

Underinsured motorist coverage

Underinsured motorist coverage isn’t required by Washington law; you have to purchase it. It almost always comes as part of uninsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist insurance is triggered when you’re in an accident that’s the fault of somebody else, and his or her liability insurance isn’t sufficient to cover all of your damages. You’ll want to be careful about settling with that underinsured driver though. Like in a case involving multiple defendants, you don’t want to give up any rights that you have with your insurer on an underinsured motorist claim.

Liability may not be complicated, but…

As a passenger, the liability aspects of a case may not be complicated. If it’s a single car accident, it’s highly likely that your driver was at fault. If it involves two or more vehicles, one or more drivers will likely be at fault. However, insurance companies will be scrutinizing your damages though, and they might even allege that you were somehow comparatively negligent, especially if you weren’t wearing a seat belt.

If you settle with one of those defendants, you might be shooting yourself in the foot by foreclosing on the possibility of getting additional compensation from other drivers involved in the crash. You might even be preventing yourself from recovering on your own underinsured motorist coverage.

Contact us today

Contact us right away after any accident. You might feel overwhelmed and apprehensive about involving lawyers, but you’re nearly certain to give up certain rights that you probably don’t know that you have. An insurance company will use those rights that you relinquished against you. Your rights go far beyond those discussed in this brief article.

We have a proven record of extensive success in a broad personal injury practice. We hold negligent drivers accountable. Just call us to arrange for a free auto accident consultation and case evaluation after any accident.

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