If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. Car accident injuries can be devastating and leave you unable to work and provide for your family. As you struggle with feelings of frustration, anger, and resentment, you should know you have options. If someone else caused your accident, an attorney can help you get the financial compensation you and your family need.

They can also help determine liability, gather evidence, and conduct negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. An attorney can help explain your rights and legal options under Washington law and guide you toward an outcome that puts you back on the right track. Read on to learn more about car accidents and how a Mount Vernon car accident attorney from Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner can help.

How Is Liability Determined in Car Accidents?

Car accidents in Washington fall under the umbrella of personal injury cases. In most of these cases, it’s vital to establish all the required elements of a negligence claim. To prove negligence, you must be able to demonstrate the following four elements.

  1. Duty. The defendant had a duty to operate their vehicle reasonably. This is relatively straightforward in a car accident, as all drivers must drive responsibly to avoid harm to themselves and others.
  2. Breach. The defendant’s actions breached this duty of care. They can breach this duty by behaving irresponsibly or by breaking a traffic law, like going over the speed limit or driving while intoxicated.
  3. Causation. The defendant’s breach must have caused the crash.
  4. Damages. You must have suffered harm such as physical injuries or property damage due to the defendant’s actions.

Failing to prove these elements can result in a denial of your claim or a reduction in its value. It’s crucial to retain an experienced Mount Vernon car accident attorney to ensure you receive the financial compensation to which you are entitled.

Washington operates under the theory of pure comparative negligence. This means that you can share fault in an accident and still recover a portion of your damages. However, your compensation will be decreased by your percentage of fault. With pure comparative negligence, you can even be 99% responsible for the crash, and still receive compensation for 1% of your losses.

Be aware that most insurance companies and defendants seek to minimize their financial liability by attempting to assign more blame to you than the facts warrant. Your lawyer can help fight back against this unethical practice and get the fair compensation you need and deserve.
Now that we’ve discussed the elements of negligence, let’s take a look at what commonly causes vehicle crashes.

How the Car Accident Claims Process Works

When you hire a Mount Vernon car accident lawyer from our firm, we start by conducting a thorough investigation of the accident. This process involves collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing police and medical reports. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, it might be necessary to consult with one or more industry experts, such as an accident reconstructionist. 

When ready, we present the strongest possible claim to the at-fault party’s insurance company. If negotiations prove unsuccessful, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Your case may proceed to litigation, where we will represent your interests in court. Throughout this process, we keep you informed and involved, ensuring you understand each step and its potential outcomes.

How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident?

Determining fault in a car accident involves meticulously examining the incident’s circumstances. As your Mount Vernon car accident attorney, we scrutinize every detail, including potential violations of traffic laws, eyewitness accounts, and physical evidence at the scene. In Washington state, a concept known as pure comparative fault will apply, where each party’s degree of responsibility impacts the potential settlement value. 

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents can occur for many reasons, however, Mount Vernon car accident lawyers see the most common causes repeatedly.

  • Distracted driving. Activities such as texting, talking on the phone, adjusting GPS or radio, and even speaking to other passengers can pull a driver’s attention away from the road. Looking away from the road for even a few seconds can have disastrous consequences.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and creates a serious risk of injuring others. Alcohol and drugs inhibit a driver’s awareness, behavior, and reaction time to sudden changing road conditions.
  • Speeding. Excessive speed is a common factor in many car accidents, as it reduces the time a driver has to react to changing road conditions or to stop without hitting other vehicles.
  • Reckless driving. Reckless driving encompasses a wide variety of behaviors, including tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes of traffic, failing to obey stop signs or signals, and aggressive driving. All of these behaviors increase the risk of causing an accident and devastating harm to other drivers on the road.
  • Fatigued driving. Driving while fatigued impairs a driver’s ability to think clearly and react to changing road conditions, thereby increasing the risk of accidents.

Your Mount Vernon car accident attorney works to determine how your crash occurred. These facts help strengthen your case by clearly establishing the liability of the driver that caused your injuries. But an attorney can provide essential help in many other ways.

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How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Mount Vernon accident lawyers help in numerous ways to build a strong case on your behalf and hold the right party responsible for your injuries and other losses. Let’s look at some specific things your attorney can do for you.

  1. Gather and Review Evidence. Your attorney gathers necessary evidence from the scene of the accident and other sources to assist in establishing liability. Relevant evidence may include photographs, witness statements, and video surveillance from nearby businesses or traffic cameras.
  2. Obtain Police Reports. A police accident report is a useful tool. Created by the officer reporting to the scene of the accident, these reports contain useful, unbiased information about the accident and sometimes even make a preliminary determination of fault.
  3. Evaluate Causes. With physical evidence and police report data, your attorney establishes the cause of your accident and the liability of the driver.
  4. Calculate. Settlement negotiations can only proceed successfully when you know the value of your case. An experienced attorney uses all available evidence to accurately calculate the extent of your damages.
  5. Negotiate. Insurance adjusters often seek to entice unknowing victims into accepting a lowball initial settlement offer that does not cover the value of your losses. Attorneys know your claim’s true value and will take the case to trial before settling for less than you need—so it’s best to let your lawyer handle negotiations.
  6. Litigate. If negotiations fail, your attorney prepares to litigate your case at trial. A knowledgeable attorney understands what’s required to help your case proceed without unnecessary delays.

What Should You Do Following a Car Accident?

Knowing what to do after a car accident is important and can impact your future claim. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Call the authorities. Dial 911 to report the accident. The police will document the scene, make an official report, and assist with immediate needs.
  2. Seek medical treatment. Even if your injuries seem minor, see a healthcare provider immediately. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately. A delay in treatment could impact your case. 
  3. Document the accident. Take pictures of the scene, including all vehicles involved, their positions, the damage, and any relevant road conditions. These photos may serve as crucial evidence later.
  4. Exchange information. Collect the other driver’s contact and insurance information. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information as well.
  5. Notify your insurance company. Report the accident to your insurance company. Be truthful but avoid speculating about fault or details.
  6. Consult a lawyer. Contact a car accident lawyer in Mt. Vernon right away. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the claims process, protecting your rights and advocating for your interests.

Remember, your actions following an accident can significantly impact your claim’s outcome. At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, we’re here to provide the legal support you need during this challenging time.

Many of these tasks would be difficult to undertake as you recover from your injuries. An attorney offers invaluable assistance in your case to help you get the best outcome in your case.

What Sets Us Apart from Other Mount Vernon Car Accident Law Firms

At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, we are committed to every one of our clients. Unlike many firms that prioritize quantity over quality, every Mt. Vernon car accident attorney on our team is dedicated to giving you the personalized attention you deserve. We don’t just see you as a case number; we acknowledge the significant impact of a car accident on your life. Our focus is not just on winning cases but on supporting you through this difficult time and ensuring you have all resources necessary for the best possible recovery.

Meet Our Mount Vernon Car Accident Lawyers

Paula McCandlis

For over 20 years, Attorney Paula McCandlis has fought hard for her clients. Paula believes in a personalized approach to helping victims of crashes and other personal injuries. She understands that certain intangible things, like pain and suffering, can be difficult to adequately express. But one must express these losses well to receive fair compensation. Her years of experience provide her with the necessary insight and tools to find the words to express what you have endured—and she won’t stop until she has done all she can to get the compensation you need.

David Brown

Attorney David Brown values the importance of sitting down and talking with each client about the law and how the law applies to their case. David strongly believes that once a client understands how the law applies to the facts of their case, they can make informed decisions that are best for them. He is a down-to-earth man who dislikes when large insurers seek to shortchange hardworking people, and he will do all he can to fight for the compensation that can help pay the bills while you heal.

Matt Conner

Attorney Matt Connor has a proven track record of success. He fights aggressively on behalf of his clients and portrays compassion during the most difficult period in a person’s life. He genuinely cares about helping injured people get their lives back, and a big part of that is having the money to go forward in life at a time when you might not be able to work.

About Us

From the moment you hire Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, you can stop worrying about medical bills, lost wages, insurance adjusters, property damage, and future expenses. Instead, you can concentrate on your recovery. Our legal team is compassionate, knowledgeable, and aggressive when it comes to fighting for your rights. We have assisted clients in recovering over $100 million dollars in settlements and judgments when they need it most. Contact us today by phone or email to get a free consultation and learn how Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner can help you!

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