What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?

 
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What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 1/27/2020

Washington law requires that each driver carry liability insurance while benefiting from the roads throughout the state. Obviously, the purpose of this statute is to protect you and your loved ones from the negligent driving of those around. What happens, though, if you’re involved in a car accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance? This leaves victim drivers in a bad position without too many great options.

BLOGPOST_WhatIfTheAtFaultDriverDoesntHaveInsurance_01272020.pngThe first action you should always take is to contact your own insurance company. While not mandatory in Washington, many drivers purchase uninsured motorist protection benefits. This UM policy acts as a floating layer of coverage that protects you in the event of an uninsured auto collision or if the at-fault driver has insufficient liability limits compared to your damages. Contacting your auto insurance company will allow the insurance adjusters working for you to begin an investigation into the potential remedies. Perhaps there is some layer of hidden coverage you might be able to access. It’s in your insurance company’s best interest to help find that because it saves the insurer money, as well. Moreover, it allows your insurance company to begin their own investigation so they are not prejudiced by delays, which could have disastrous, coverage ending ramifications down the line.

You can also consider personal liability against the at-fault driver even if they do not have insurance coverage. Unfortunately, you can’t get blood from a stone. So, if the at-fault driver has few assets or savings of their own, this remedy won’t work effectively. On occasion, though, at-fault drivers may have made a mistake by unintentionally dropping insurance coverage despite having substantial assets. While certainly less appealing, it is possible to go after the individual driver without involving any liability insurance.

Washington has also enacted additional penalties for driving without insurance. While these penalties won’t help you, taking these steps will ensure that the uninsured driver is sanctioned for their poor behavior. By reporting these incidents, the other driver may have their license suspended and they can be fined until payment is made for certain damages. While not a perfect solution, it does provide leverage to collect money from at-fault driver’s directly.

Finally, whenever you’re in a motor vehicle collision, you should contact a qualified personal injury attorney. The experienced litigators at Magnuson Lowell PS have the necessary skill to help you investigate your claims and collect from all available sources. Call Magnuson Lowell PS at (425)885-7500 today for a free case evaluation.


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Should You Get Medical Treatment After a Car Accident?
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 1/20/2020

The short answer is easy. If you were injured, you should always seek medical treatment after a car accident! The long answer is that seeking medical treatment is likely the best path to success both from an injury and insurance claims perspective.

BLOGPOST_MedicalTreatment01202020.JPGIf you’ve ever been an auto collision – even a minor fender bender – you might know what is lurking around the corner. Neck and back pain at a minimum throughout the soft tissues surrounding your spine can be a huge set back for those trying to work and live their lives. Many involved in car accidents try to tough it out, and both doctors and attorneys will tell you that this strategy may lead to higher levels of pain, longer term pain, and a more difficult insurance claim process.

Starting treatment early is an effective strategy to help speed up your medical outcomes, and it also helps boost your chances of a successful personal injury claim. Insurance adjusters are evaluators and employees of the insurance company. Their job is to review your claim and assess the likelihood of damages based upon statistical models they have built over decades. Forgoing treatment is one of the quickest ways you can force an insurance adjuster to ignore your case, but just because you’re getting treatment doesn’t mean that you are in the clear.

There are at least four guidelines to help create successful scenarios for your car accident injury claim. While not following these guidelines may still lead to a successful result, the insurance fight may be much easier if you take the proper steps with your medical care.

  • Start treatment early – Waiting long periods of time to receive your first medical appointment might seem likely the manly thing to do, but it may backfire on your case. If you wait 3-weeks before going into the doctor, the insurance company is left to argue what took you so long. Were you not in pain? Was there an alternate cause of your symptoms? Getting treatment early will help avoid some of these questions.
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendation – Your doctor went to years of medical school for a reason. Ignoring their recommendations (or delaying their recommendations) is likely not in your body’s best interest. It is not in your claim’s best interest as the insurance company will likely argue that you failed to mitigate your damages properly by ignoring medical advice.
  • Be consistent with treatment – Being in a car accident is not easy work. There are many appointments throughout the week that are necessary to help you feel better. It can be overwhelming a times. Being consistent with your care – i.e. not skipping or stopping your care protocols – is important to ensure the treatment works. Similarly, if you take weeks off at a time, the insurance company will be chomping at the bit!
  • Be honest with your providers – Doctors (and insurance companies!) can smell through exaggeration, and juries will find it equally as unlikely that your back strain has been at 10 out of 10 pain levels for 9 months. Oppositely, minimizing your symptoms will hurt your claim, as well. If after a few months of care you had the bravery to try your hand at golfing, it’s okay to tell your doctor. Just make sure you don’t leave out the part where you were barely able to move the next day due to the pain!

Medical appointments are just one part of a complicated insurance claim process. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side will help make the process move along more smoothly. If you have questions about your recent car accident, contact the qualified litigators at Magnuson Lowell, PS for a free case evaluation.


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The Importance of Rideshare Insurance
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 1/13/2020

To those without vehicles, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have been a blessing. The abilty to seek immediate transportation – whether just to the airport or across the city on a simple datenight – has only added to the “on-demand” economy that is spreading throughout the country. However, with great power comes great responsibility and there have been various apprehensions about rideshare drivers and the potential liabilities that are created with this new industry.

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Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft do not employee their drivers. Rather, each driver is an independent contractor who operates within their companies infrastructre. This means that – for the most part – special requirements must be met when a car accident occurs if the rideshare insurance is going to properly handle the claim.

Generally, the rideshare companies $1 million liability policies are touted as all encompassing to help cover drivers, passengers, and anyone else who might be involved in a collision. The truth, however, is not as simple. Unless and until the ride request has been accepted by the driver, the rideshare policy is not in effect. This means that if an Uber driver is driving around waiting for a new gig, their personal auto policy will be in effect. And, if Lyft driver causes a collision while their app is turned on, but before accepting a request, only their personal coverage applies if they have one.

While rideshare companies have a substantial liability policy in place to protect all involved from negligence of their independent contractors, Washington’s minimum limit policies are only $25,000 for bodily injury stemming from a single collision. Meaning that if a rideshare driver impacts your vehicle while waiting for a job, that generous rideshare insurance likely won’t apply and your significant injuries might not be properly covered.

This information is important for rideshare drivers.All independent contractors should ensure they have sufficient insurance in place to not only protect other drivers, but to also protect their own assets from the threat of an excess verdict over their insurance coverage. Just as important, this revelation brings forth the importance of underinsured motorist coverage.

Before you are injured in a collision, speak to an insurance agent about your own coverage. Purchasing underinsured motorist coverage is one small step you can take to protect your family from other drivers who might not have the sense to properly cover their vehicle with insurance. If you have been injured by an uninsured rideshare driver, the experienced litigators at Magnuson Lowell PS will help you understand your options and fight for your rights. Call (425)885-7500 for a free case evaluation.


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