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Fault disputed

Disputing Fault in a Personal Injury Case

Some car crashes have a clear cause and the fault rests with one driver. But some accidents involve multiple causes, and the fault can be disputed. When that happens, insurance companies have ways to prove fault, and sometimes fault and negligence are distributed between drivers and passengers.

When fault is disputed, insurance companies work very hard to find evidence to prove their insured is not at fault, to avoid having to pay out a claim, or to reduce the amount.

Proving liability in an insurance claim

When the key issue of liability is disputed, evidence is gathered to prove which driver was actually at fault. This evidence can include physical evidence from the crash site, police collision reports, witness testimony, and vehicle damage photos. So after an accident, it is helpful to take good photos of vehicle damage and the crash scene including debris and skid marks. Gathering witness names at the crash location is important. Calling the police who will complete a traffic collision report after a collision also helps preserve evidence and formally document how the crash actually happened.

How injury attorneys help prove liability to protect their clients

When the issue of disputed fault arises and one insurer denies a claim based on its belief that its driver was not at fault, the insurer often will offer a minimal settlement, or no settlement at all. Generally, if an insurer asserts that its driver is not at fault, then often personal injury attorneys get involved, to protect the rights of their clients and undertake the process to prove liability. An injury lawyer has the experience to gather evidence, prove fault, and negotiate with an insurance adjuster to get the highest settlement possible after a personal injury.

 
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What Do You Do When Sued for a Car Crash?

Even if you were not at fault for the accident, you may find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit. California’s insurance laws require all drivers to carry current insurance and there are some built-in protections for both parties involved. However, insurance only covers so much and there can be claims well in excess of the amounts paid for through a policy. Go here to learn more about what to be aware of, and steps to take, after a San Bernardino car crash.

Everett-Bellingham WA

What's even more distracting to drivers than cell phones? The answer may surprise you

Imagine driving down the road and suddenly getting popped in the back of the head with a flying Sponge Bob. Kids are 12 times more distracting to a driver than talking on a cell phone. While it's doubtful laws won't make driving with children illegal anytime soon, here are some statistics on the dangers of distracting driving, plus tips on helping kids learn to behave in cars.

Everett-Bellingham WA

Hit by an autonomous vehicle? How fault may be determined

How could you sue a driverless car! Once these vehicles hit the road en masse as projected - 10 million by 2050 - accidents may go down but they won't go away. Bill Coats Law of Bellingham, Washington writes on issues for car accident claims where fault is disputed by the machines. 

Everett-Bellingham WA

If fault is disputed, are medical bills still covered if someone is hurt?

Regardless of who is at fault, if there are injured people in a car accident, those people will deserve medical care. So who pays for those bills? Auto insurance policies have an option called Personal Injury Protection offered to many US drivers; in Washington, for example, the coverage is required by state law to be offered to all drivers licensed in the state. This is the coverage you'll count on to pay medical bills, and sometimes wage loss. Bill Coats Law in Bellingham, WA describes more about what Personal Injury Protection is for and how it works to cover people hurt in an accident, no matter who caused it.

Everett-Bellingham WA

4 Tips for car accident victims where fault is disputed

Car crashes are complicated events that happen in the blink of an eye. Many factors can contribute to the series of missteps that make vehicles collide, and many people will look at those factors and have a completely different take on who was at fault. In cases that aren't cut and dried, fault can be disputed. If you've been in an accident where fault is disputed, this article has four tips on what you can do to build a best case scenario for yourself. 

  Mr. Cantu was riding his motorcycle in July of 1990 in Seattle, Washington when he struck a truck, operated by Mr. Dick, broadsiding the vehicle. Cantu suffered serious injuries in the accident, including a fracture of the right radius, a fracture to the left arm, a concussion, lacerations to his chest and stomach, and bruises to his spleen and liver. Mr. Cantu decided to sue Mr. Dick for personal injury. He and his lawyers argued that Mr. Dick negligently pulled out in front of him at an intersection.
  Juan Salas Fonseca, a 28-year-old route salesman, was operating a Mitsubishi F-100 cab-over-engine commercial truck when he was involved in an accident. In the course of the collision, he was thrown from the detached cab through the windshield and was run over by his own truck. He suffered extensive injuries, including multiple fractures to his pelvis, spine, and leg. He faced future surgies to replace his hip and his spine and was therefore limited to semi-sedentary work.
  Mr. Quezada was riding his motorcycle in November of 1998 when he collided with a van operated by Mr. Paiva and owned by Angelica Lutheran Church making a U-turn. Mr. Quezada suffered a hemopneumothorax (air and blood in the chest cavity), nine fractured ribs, a restrictive lung disease, and road rash to his right hand as a result of the accident.  Quezada decided to sue Paiva and the church that owned the van for vehicle negligence. He and his lawyers argued that Paiva made an illegal U-turn and was inattentive to oncoming traffic. 
  On July 20, 2007, Kiven Dawson, a 46-year-old truck driver, was riding his motorcycle north on Meridian Avenue in San Bernardino, California when he struck a pickup truck driven by Norma Ortiz. Although he does not have memory of the accident due to a brain injury he sustained as a result, based on his police report, he claims that Ortiz was driving southbound when she made a left hand turn in his ath, resulting in the accident. Dawson decided to sue Ortiz, and the owner of her vehicle, Alfonso Torres for negligent driving.
  On January 24, 2006, 46-year-old ironworker James Jaworowski was riding his motorcycle on Bosworth Street in San Francisco, California when he was struck by a Mitchell Engineering truck driven by Finbar James Brody. As Jaworowski was riding his motorcycle in the right lane, Brody changed intersections, resulting in the collision between the vehicles. In the accident, Jawarowski suffered several ligament tears, requiring him to undergo physical therapy resulting in one year of missed work. He claimed to have ongoing pain following the accident.
  Perry Wise, A 48-year-old hospital laboratory technician, was driving his BMW motorcycle east on State Route 6 just east of Menlo, Washington when he stoped a backhoe travelling on shoulder of his lane ahead of him. As Wise attempted to pass the backhoe, its driver, Ron Epperson, suddenly drove into his lane. Wise hit his brakes and laid his motorcycle down on the highway and subsequently slammed into the back of the backhoe. 
  Mr. Baeza, a 25-year-old carpenter, was driving his motorcycle through an intersection where he had right-of-way when a pickup truck driven by Mr. Ortiz drove through his stop sign, striking Mr. Baeza's motorcycle. As a result of the accident, Mr. Baeza suffered multiple skull and facial fractures, resulting in brain damage and personality disorder, loss of the sense of smell, and loss of vision in the right eye; fractures of both forearms, resulting in limited motion to both wrists; and an injury to the testicles.
  Mr. Wadlow, 16 at the time of the accident, was returning on a dirt road from the "smoke bomb" area of a race track back to the pits wre he acted as a crewman for his father when he collided with a truck heading in the opposite direction. As a result of the accident, he suffered a compound fracture to his left femur and tibia, requiring two months of hospitalization, six skin graft surgeries and resulting in a permanent limp, scarring, and possible future surgery and arthritis.
  On July 19, 1990, Rudy Cantu, a 24-year-old auto-body painter, was driving on South Cloverdale Street in Seattle, Washington on his motorcycle. As he was crossing 5th Avenue South a pickup truck, driven by Ronald Dick, drove into the path of Cantu from 5th Avenue, then stopped in front of him, resulting in Cantu slamming into Dick's truck. Cantu sustained serious injuries in the accident. He sustained serious fractures on both arms, sustained lacerations and wounds to his abdomen, resulting in damage to his liver and spleen.