Vancouver, WA Injury Lawyers Fighting Insurance Companies
Helping personal injury victims hold insurers accountable after an accident in Washington
Defendants who cause an accident are liable for your financial losses – including your medical bills, your lost income, and any property damage. Liable defendants must also pay for your physical pain, your emotional suffering, the loss of consortium, and other intangible losses such as any loss of function. Insurance is how you get reimbursed after an accident.
At Philbrook Law Office, PS, we understand the different types of insurance car drivers, property owners, construction site owners, manufacturers, and other defendants must have – and how much they do have. During our 20 years of practice, we’ve often settled cases for the insurance policy limits – the amount of coverage the defendants have to pay for damage claims. We are experienced at the art of negotiation and know how to achieve the best results. Contact us in Vancouver, WA to get started.
What is liability insurance in WA and why is it necessary?
Anyone who drives a car is generally required to have liability insurance (the insurance that pays for damages) in the following minimum amounts:
- $25,000 for injuries or death to another person
- $50,000 for injuries or death to all other people
- $10,000 for damage to another person's property
Auto owners should buy as much more than the minimum coverage as they can afford. Many car accident cases are worth much more than the bare minimums. Just one night in a hospital can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Any type of injury that requires long-term physical therapy or rehabilitation can cost a fortune.
What is UM/UIM insurance?
UM/UIM insurance is uninsured insurance/underinsured insurance. This is insurance that car owners buy for themselves and for passengers in their cars. When another person or company causes a car owner, car driver, or passengers to be injured, the responsible person/company may not have insurance, or may not have enough insurance, to pay for all the damages. In this scenario, the injured person can demand that the UM/UIM insurance company for any outstanding damage amounts. The claim for damages against the UM/UIM carrier can be made up to the UM/UIM insurance policy limits.
Which insurance company pays for which damages?
There are some situations where it can be hard to determine to determine which insurance company pays for which damages. These include:
- Health care. Generally, injury victims use their own health insurance to pay for any ER care, surgeries, doctor visits, rehabilitation, medications, and medical devices.
- Property damage. If you have collision or property damage insurance, you can file a claim with those carriers. For example, if your car is wrecked in a Washington car accident, you need money to repair or replace the car. If you have collision insurance, that carrier pays for the car repairs or replacement.
- Lost income. Some people have disability insurance coverage that pays wages if the person can’t work due to his or her injuries.
The companies, such as your health insurance company may be entitled to be reimbursed for any payments if you settle or obtain a favorable verdict against those responsible for your injuries.
What steps do you need to take with your own insurance company after an accident?
There are a few dos and don’ts you should review with our experienced Vancouver, WA injury lawyers.
Do: You do need to notify your own insurance carrier that you had an accident so they can document the claim. They have the right to inspect the vehicle. If you are asked to give a statement, consult with your lawyer about what you are required to disclose before doing or signing anything.
Do not: You should not speak with or negotiate your claim with the insurance company for any responsible parties – such as the driver who hit your or the insurance carrier for the property where you suffered an injury. You should only tell them you have a lawyer representing you. Liability insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. They will try to make a low-ball settlement which you can’t renegotiate. They will also try to get you to say things against your best interest – such as that you were partially responsible for the accident.
What is insurance company bad faith?
Insurance companies are regulated by the state of Washington. They have a duty to negotiate in good faith. If they fail to negotiate in good faith, they can be held accountable for additional damages. For example, they may be required to pay for the full value of the case even if it’s more than the policy limits.
Examples of insurance company bad faith negotiation include:
- Taking positions they know aren’t true
- Making unreasonable demands for information
- Refusing to make reasonable offers based on the facts of the case and your injuries
Our Vancouver, WA insurance accident lawyers file bad faith insurance claims if an insurance adjuster refuses to bargain in good faith.
What is the right of contribution?
In many accidents, more than one person is responsible for your injuries or the death of a loved one. If you slip and fall while in a hotel, both the owner of the hotel and a repair company may be liable. In a products liability claim, both the manufacturer and the retailer of the product may be liable. In a car accident, both the other driver and a tavern that sold the driver liquor while he was visibly drunk may be liable.
Washington’s right of contribution laws help determine which defendant’s insurance companies pay your damages. Generally, if one responsible defendant doesn’t have enough insurance, then the insurance company for the other defendant must pay your damages.
The right of contribution laws are complicated. What you need to know is that our Washington personal injury lawyers use these laws to help settle your case and help you get paid if there is verdict in your favor.
Contact our seasoned Vancouver, WA personal injury lawyers today
At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver, WA accident insurance lawyers handle most types of accident claims – including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, premises liability cases, construction accidents, nursing home abuse and neglect cases, and product liability cases. We’ve settled many cases for the insurance policy limits. We have a record of strong recoveries from UM/UIM carriers. We fight aggressively to obtain all the insurance proceeds you deserve.
To schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, please call 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form. We also serve the greater Portland area and Oregon State.
We represent personal injury victims on a contingency fee basis.