Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
Based in Tacoma, Washington, the Law Office of Thomas A. Balerud represents clients in personal injury claims. During the emotional and potentially stressful time following an accident or other unfortunate event, it is empowering to be aware of the legal possibilities available to you. Therefore, we have compiled this page of frequently asked questions to provide some basic, but important, information. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident or hurt by another’s conduct, please contact our office for a free consultation.
What should I do after I have been in a motor vehicle accident?
First, try to write down everything that you can remember about the accident, including your exact location, where you were going, people who were with you in the vehicle, weather conditions, and the time of day. Record as many details as possible even if they do not seem important right away. Also, describe any people who may have seen the accident. They may be witnesses in your case.
In the days following the accident, keep a diary of your physical and emotional state, such as instances of pain, anxiety, and sleep loss. In addition, record any doctor visits or time missed from work as a result of the accident.
I was hurt in an accident, but I do not have PIP coverage. What can I do?
With PIP (personal injury protection) coverage, your insurance company will pay for your economic losses that result from a car accident, including medical expenses and lost wages, no matter who is at fault. Washington law does not require you to have PIP coverage, but your insurance company must offer it to you. Unfortunately, if you do not have PIP coverage, and the driver who hit you is uninsured or underinsured, it may be extremely difficult to cover all of your medical expenses, especially if you were seriously injured. We have experience handling these cases, and will proceed against an at-fault driver and their insurance company so that you may recover any and all compensation available to you.
What if the insurance company says that I was to blame for the accident?
In some cases, an insurance company will reject a claim, stating that the driver was at-fault in an accident. If your claim was rejected on this basis, but you feel that the insurance company has wrongly blamed you for the accident, you may take action to overcome the denial and receive fair coverage under your policy. We can help you assess your denial letter and determine whether the insurance company made an error or was misinformed. If evidence shows that you were not at-fault, and the insurance company does not revise its decision, we will fight the insurance company on your behalf so that you may obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.
What if my injury aggravated a preexisting condition?
You may be able to recover for the aggravation of a preexisting condition if the condition has been worsened as a direct result of the accident. For example, if you have minor arthritis, and it is made more severe as the result of being in a car accident, your insurance company or the person causing the accident should cover your damages, notwithstanding your preexisting condition. Insurance companies often try to deny coverage for preexisting conditions, claiming that the accident was not the direct cause of the injury. We understand how to successfully explain and present preexisting injury claims, ensuring that our clients have the best chance of receiving maximum compensation.
Do I need a lawyer if I was hurt in an accident?
If you were injured in a car crash or another type of motor vehicle accident, seek advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer. It is very important to obtain legal advice as early as possible in order to protect your rights and preserve evidence in your case. Although the other driver’s insurance company may offer you a settlement, these offers are often much less than you need and deserve to cover your damages. A personal injury attorney can help you receive fair compensation for your injuries.