Based in Tacoma, Washington, the Law Office of Thomas A. Balerud represents clients in personal injury claims arising from auto accidents. We take these cases seriously, as Mr. Balerud had the eye-opening experience dealing with his insurance company after being in an accident caused by another driver. He discovered firsthand how insurance companies take advantage of policyholders, and attempt to deny or minimize legitimate claims. Today, he channels the resulting anger and frustration into obtaining top-dollar results for his clients.
Causes of Auto Accidents
Generally, every driver on the road has a duty to operate his or her car with ordinary and responsible care. When a driver breaches this duty and causes injury or death to another, the injured party or the deceased victim’s family may recover compensation for the other driver’s negligence or wrongful conduct behind the wheel. Negligent and/or reckless driving includes, but is not limited to:
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Cell phone use and texting
- Failing to be mindful of motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
When an accident results in injury, compensation usually includes economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost income, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Dealing with Insurance Providers after an Accident
After an automobile accident, individuals generally contact their own insurance provider or the other driver’s insurance provider in order to recover for resulting medical expenses and property damage. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters will almost always undervalue your claim, offering a settlement far below what you are entitled to receive, or even denying your claim altogether. Our office understands how to deal with insurance companies, and works to maximize recovery for our clients. We can assess your accident and the circumstances involved, and provide you with a reasonable estimate of the value of your claim. With professional representation, you can confidently deal with insurance companies when filing claims, and during settlement and trial, if necessary.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is an extension of auto insurance available in Washington that covers medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages and other damages. PIP is sometimes referred to as no-fault coverage because PIP should be paid without regard to legal liability, and a policyholder’s insurance premium should not increase after filing a PIP claim. Because many drivers only carry liability insurance, or illegally drive with no insurance, spending the small additional amount to carry PIP insurance beyond the required minimum is often worthwhile.
Getting Your Auto Fixed After an Accident
After an accident, it is important to make a claim for damage to your car as quickly as possible. An insurance company may attempt to stall paying for your property damage by asserting that it is investigating the accident. This not only results in a delay in getting your car fixed, but also, an “investigation” is often a tactic used by insurance companies to try to force a lower settlement offer than you deserve. We help clients avoid the obstacles and hassles presented by insurance companies.
Once the insurance company accepts liability, it will send an adjuster to evaluate your damages, write an estimate, and issue a check for the damages. Often the insurance company will recommend a repair shop to fix your car; you are not required to follow its recommendation. Many insurance companies have preferred shops that accommodate the insurer’s interests and not yours. Furthermore, if your vehicle is still under warranty or if it is leased, you may need to take it to the dealership to be repaired, otherwise your warranty may be voided.
Seek Aggressive, Experienced Representation
We are genuinely committed to helping our clients receive full and fair compensation for their injuries and damages after an accident. If you or a family member has been involved in a car accident, please contact the Law Office of Thomas A. Balerud and schedule a free initial consultation.