Yakima personal injury lawyers Brumback and Ottem


You probably do not expect an auto accident to happen. If you are involved in one, you may get hurt. At this point, you may be able to pursue damages if the crash was caused by the other driver. A car accident lawyer in Sunnyside can discuss your legal options with you. 


The car accident lawyers at Brumback & Ottem understand the importance of loyalty. We work hard to protect our clients. Our team can review your auto collision case and help you decide if now is the right time to file a claim. Contact our personal injury lawyers today to get started. 


Types of Car Accidents

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are approximately 282 million registered motor vehicles in the United States. Many drivers take precautions. Others choose to ignore the rules of the road. Regardless of whether a motorist follows the rules, a collision can happen at any time. 


There are several categories of auto accidents. These include:


  • Sideswipe crashes
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on accidents
  • Single- and multi-vehicle accidents
  • Rollovers
  • T-Bone accidents 
    • (When the front of one car strikes another on the side, this is often called a T-bone accident since the vehicles form the shape of the letter “T.” Also called broadside accidents, T-bone collisions can be very serious)


You may get into an auto collision due to someone else’s negligence. In this situation, you may want to hire a car accident lawyer. This may allow you to pursue compensation from an at-fault party. 


Why Auto Accidents Happen

Common reasons why car collisions happen include:


  • Distracted driving
  • Intoxicated driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Speeding
  • Poor road or weather conditions
  • Drowsy Driving


It is a motorist’s responsibility to follow the rules of the road. If a driver chooses not to do so and causes an accident, they can be held accountable. 


What to Do After a Car Accident

You may feel livid if you are involved in an auto crash caused by someone else. Try to remain calm, cool, and collected so you can get through the incident safely. Here are things you can do to respond to the collision without putting yourself or others in danger:

  • Call 911. This will bring medical personnel and police officers to the accident scene. 
  • Get evidence. Use your smartphone to snap photos and videos of the crash scene, your injury, and any vehicle damage. 
  • Connect with witnesses. If anyone saw your crash happen, get their contact information. 
  • Get information from the other driver. Ask the driver for their contact, driver’s license, and auto insurance information. 
  • Contact an auto accident lawyer. Get in touch with an auto accident attorney who can evaluate your case. 


As you search for auto accident lawyers, consider attorneys who have plenty of relevant experience. Choose a personal injury lawyer who has handled many auto-collision cases. This lawyer may be able to help you get a fair settlement. 


Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident

The things you do days or weeks following your auto accident may have far-flung effects. There are several things you may do without realizing that they may hurt your chances of getting compensation from anyone responsible for your auto collision. These include:

  • Accepting Responsibility for Your Crash: Anything you say or do in the moments after your collision may be used against you. 
  • Posting About Your Collision on Social Media: The at-fault party or their insurer may look for photos and videos on social networks to show your injury is not as bad as you claim it is. 
  • Discussing Your Accident with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company: An at-fault motorist’s insurer is focused on its own best interests — not yours. 


Hiring a Sunnyside auto collision lawyer may help you protect against legal mistakes. Your attorney can walk you through the steps for filing a claim. They can help you address any legal challenges that come up as you pursue compensation. 


Auto Insurance Requirements

There are mandatory auto insurance requirements in Washington State. To drive a car in the state, you must have liability insurance or some other way to assume financial responsibility for any damages that may occur in an accident. 


If a driver has an auto insurance policy, this coverage must meet the following minimum requirements:


  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident 
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two people in an accident 
  • $10,000 for an injury to or destruction of property of others in an accident


Just because an at-fault motorist has auto insurance does not guarantee you will get compensation following a collision. An insurance provider may do everything it can to dispute your claim. It may also pressure you to accept some or full responsibility for your crash or approve a lowball settlement offer. 


Along with this, there may be times when a driver does not have sufficient coverage or chooses not to buy insurance. If you get hurt in a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to secure compensation. 


Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims

Based on the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 4.16.080, you may have up to three years from the date of your auto crash to seek damages from anyone responsible. The statute of limitations for submitting your claim may not be extended. If you do not request damages within this window, you may lose the right to pursue compensation at a later time. You may also be solely responsible for any costs relating to your accident. 


Who Is at Fault for a Car Crash

In many instances, a negligent driver is responsible for an auto crash. For instance, a motorist may be speeding and slamming their vehicle into a pedestrian. If this happens, the motorist may be at fault for the pedestrian accident. They may be financially responsible for any losses the pedestrian or anyone else involved in the crash incurs. 


There are instances when parties other than the driver may be responsible for an auto collision.  As an example, an automaker may offer a car that ultimately proves to be defective. If a driver gets in an accident as a result of a vehicle defect, the auto company may be accountable. 


It can be tough to figure out the at-fault party in an auto collision, but Sunnyside car accident attorneys can help. A lawyer can learn about your crash and review the facts surrounding it. Once you find the at-fault party, your attorney may help you request damages from them. 


Car Accident Damages

Economic and non-economic damages may be awarded. These may include compensation provided for many reasons, such as:


  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Car repairs
  • Pain and suffering


Sunnyside auto accident attorneys can help you calculate your losses. They may encourage you to pursue both economic and non-economic compensation. 


You may receive punitive damages in an auto crash case. These are awarded by a court to deter an at-fault party from future negligent acts. They may be provided in conjunction with economic and non-economic damages. 


How Much a Car Accident Case Is Worth

There is no “set” amount awarded to auto crash victims. An attorney can examine your collision and the losses you have suffered. They can answer frequently asked questions and many others about damages and help you submit a request for a reasonable amount of compensation. 


Even if you ask for compensation to cover your losses, you may not get this amount. The defendant in your case may try to convince a judge or jury you are partly or completely responsible for your collision. If they succeed, the damages you are awarded may be reduced by your percentage of fault. Or, you may not receive any compensation. 


Contributory Fault in Auto Accident Cases

Per RCW 4.22.005, contributory fault applies to auto crashes and other personal injury claims in Washington. This means you may be found partially responsible for an injury you suffer. If this occurs, the court may award you less compensation than what you originally requested. 


For example, you may be involved in an auto accident case where you ran a red light and the other driver was speeding. A judge or jury may find you 30% responsible for your collision. In this scenario, you may receive 70% of the damages you initially wanted. 


How to Prove Fault in a Car Accident Case

In a car or truck accident, you are responsible for showing another party caused your crash. You must prove the following elements of negligence were present when your collision happened:


  • The at-fault party had a duty of care to act in a reasonable and cautious manner toward you and others. 
  • This party violated their duty. 
  • Because the party breached their duty, your accident happened. 
  • You incurred quantifiable or subjective losses because of what the party did. 


Evidence may play an important role in proving fault. You can use accident scene photos and videos, medical records, police reports, and other proof to show an at-fault party was liable. Also, witness statements may be used to provide a judge or jury with additional insights into your case. 


Car Accident Settlement

You may have the option to approve a settlement proposal just days after your auto accident. If you receive a settlement offer from an at-fault party or their insurance company, it may be in your best interests to consider the proposal carefully. By immediately approving a settlement, you may inadvertently leave money on the table. Even worse, you may wind up having to pay some or most of your accident-related costs out of your own pocket in spite of the fact that you are not responsible for your collision. 


If you have a lawyer at your side, you can stay up to date about any settlement offers. When a settlement proposal is submitted, your attorney can tell you about it. They can explain the proposal and what may happen if you approve, reject, or counter it. Your attorney focuses on helping you make a decision about an offer that lines up with your best interests. 


No matter what you decide to do with a settlement offer, your attorney can help you out. They will not push you to accept a settlement. Much in the same vein, they will not urge you to decline every proposal. Your attorney can help you weigh an offer’s pros and cons. As soon as you decide on a proposal, your lawyer can share your decision with the at-fault party and their legal representation. 


How a Car Accident Case Gets Settled in Court

Unfortunately, there is no timeline for auto collision cases. Some claims get settled outside the courtroom. Others require plaintiffs and defendants to go to trial to present their respective arguments. 


An attorney can help you prepare for a trial. They can explain what will happen when your argument is delivered in court. Your lawyer can make sure you know what to expect as your legal proceedings move forward. 


During a trial, a judge or jury considers all of the information provided by both parties. Your attorney can help you compel a judge or jury to rule in your favor, and the defendant’s lawyer will do the same for their client. The judge or jury will render a decision, and at this time, you will find out if you will receive damages. 


When to Hire a Sunnyside Car Accident Lawyer

Medical bills and other auto crash-related expenses may add up quickly. If you wait too long after your car collision, you may lose the opportunity to get compensation for these costs from anyone who caused your accident. 


It may be in your best interests to meet with an auto accident lawyer shortly after your collision. You cannot change the fact that your accident happened, and you are dealing with the losses from it. Consulting with an attorney may help you see what legal options are available. If you want to file a claim, your lawyer can provide assistance. They can also serve as your legal representation as you try to get compensation. 


Partner with an Auto Accident Lawyer

Not all car crash lawyers are created equal. At Brumback & Ottem, we are bulldog tough. When we sink our teeth into an auto collision case, we do not let go easily. Our team can take a look at your car collision case. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.