Friday, July 15, 2011

Seattle Injury Lawyer - Injured in One State, Live in Another

Personal injury attorney Jason Epstein continues his series on personal injury law FAQs. In this article, Jason talks about how you can settle a property damage claim separately from your injury claim.

Sometimes I’m asked: what happens if I am injured in Washington, but live in another state?

The general rule is, you want to hire an attorney that is in the state where your accident occurred. In order to file a lawsuit related to an accident, it has to be in one of two places; either where the defendant in the lawsuit resides, or where the accident occurred. Generally, though, you should file a lawsuit where the accident occurred. That means that if your accident occurred in Washington, a subsequent lawsuit would need to be filed in Washington, which means you would be best suited by having an attorney in Washington. Same if the situation is vice versa. If you live in Washington, but you have an auto accident in California, sure you can speak with an attorney in Washington, but more than likely, they will have to refer you to someone in California.

If you are injured in a state that is different than the one you live in, you may not know where to start when looking for an attorney. If you would like information on how to see past lawyer advertisements and hire a lawyer that is right for you, check out my book on lawyer advertising. You can find this book for free on the Premier Law Group website.

For more information from experienced Bellevue car accident lawyer, Jason Epstein, check out the Premier Law Group website, or give him a call at (206) 285-1743. 

Seattle Car Crash Lawyer - Should I Give a Recorded Statement?

Seattle car accident lawyer Jason Epstein continues his series on personal injury law FAQs. In this article, Jason talks about why you should never give the insurance company a recorded statement after an accident unless you have consulted with an experienced auto accident lawyer first.

So, you’ve been in an accident, and the insurance adjustor for the at-fault driver wants you to sign a recorded statement and send you some other paperwork to sign – should you do it?

The answer is no. Nothing good can come from giving a recorded statement or signing the forms that the other insurance company gives you. Basically, they want to get your recorded statement so they can lock you into a story early. Frequently what they will do is say ‘so, how are you doing, are you hurt?’ You might at the time of the accident, or shortly after the accident, say no, I’m not hurt, I’m doing fine. That recording will be forever on tape for you to deal with if later on, you develop some injuries and are forced to go to a doctor. Additionally, the paperwork they ask you to sign is typically a medical authorization or medical release. What that does is give the insurance company the right to get all of your medical records so they can try to prove this particular accident wasn’t the cause of your injuries. Both the recorded statement and the authorization they ask you to sign are tactics the insurance company uses to reduce or minimize what they ultimately pay you. It’s important that if you are in an accident and are injured, consult with an attorney as early as possible to avoid making some mistakes that could end up costing you further down the line, including giving a recorded statement and signing any papers they give you.

For more information from Jason, check out the Premier Law Group website, or give him a call at (206) 285-1743.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Seattle Injury Lawyer Talks to Students About Distracted Driving

Seattle personal injury attorney and Teens Against Distracted Driving (TADD) founder Jason Epstein visited Eastside Catholic High School last Wednesday to talk to the students about the dangers of distracted driving. Put on by the High School’s DECA program, the assembly also featured local celebrity John Curley, State Patrol Trooper Brandy Kessler, and a pre-taped speech by Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Epstein, an attorney at the Bellevue injury law firm of Premier Law Group, talked to the nearly 600 students in attendance about how texting while driving is akin to drunk driving. His TADD program, founded a little more than a year ago, has been focused on spreading this message to teenagers, who are the most at-risk group to be involved in a distracted driving accident.
“Believe it or not, as the most inexperienced drivers on the road, you are also the worst drivers on the road,” Epstein told the crowd. “When you add texting into the mix, it makes you even more dangerous.”
The assembly touched on every part of distracted driving. Curley entertained the crowd with interesting statistics, and play by play on a tricycle race meant to simulate what it is like to text and drive. Kessler talked about her role as a police officer and how she has had to tell too many families that their child is dead because of a distracted driving accident. Epstein focused on the legal aspect, and the real consequences of getting into a car accident due to negligent driving.
As a Bellevue car accident lawyer, Epstein has dealt with distracted driving accidents his entire career – representing the victims that were injured as a result. His message was loud and clear: if you text and drive, and injure someone in an auto accident as a result, the next time you see him will be in court.
“If you’re in an auto accident while texting, the accident is going to be your fault, and you are going see me in that courtroom,” Epstein said. “Where I’m trying to prove to 12 jurors why they should take from you – and since you are minors, you’re parents – as much money as I can get for my client.”
For more information about TADD, and Premier Law Group, you can contact Seattle car accident lawyer Jason Epstein at (206) 285-1743. Also, check out this article for more information about Wednesday’s assembly.


Monday, December 6, 2010

What to do After a Motorcycle Accident

Seattle car accident attorney Jason Epstein continues his FAQ series about personal injury cases. In this video, Jason discusses what to do after a motorcycle accident.
Being a Washington motorcycle accident lawyer, I have seen a lot of accident victims damage their cases by not doing everything they should have following the crash. Most people don't genuinely take into consideration the fact that they might be hit by a negligent or distracted driver, but it happens, so it is best to be prepared with the know-how of how to proceed afterwards. Having been in a motorcycle accident myself, I realize all too well how disorienting a crash can be, but in order to be sure you make your case as formidable as possible, there are a few things that you must do. Here they are:
Report Complaints thoroughly: Assuming that you want to recover money to pay for your medical bills after a motorcycle accident, then you will have to report all of the pain and injuries that resulted from it. A lot of people who get into motorcycle accidents try to tough out their injuries, but there is absolutely no reason do this if the accident was the other person’s fault. Not telling your doctor about all of your pain can only hurt your health and your case. It is important that the doctor knows everything so they can diagnose what the issue is and how to treat it.
Another way to report your injuries that can help you later in the process is to take down a daily journal. This way you can document how you felt each day after the accident, which can be used to refresh your memory later on in the process. Motorcycle accidents can lead to serious head trauma, in which case it may be best for a loved one to be in charge of the journal. Either way, this can be very useful when the insurance company tries to lower or deny your claim.
Preserve the evidence: Beyond documenting how you felt after the accident, it is important to document the accident itself. By taking photographs of the scene, you can show evidence of fault. By taking pictures of your injuries on the scene, you can show a jury just how bad your injuries were immediately after the accident. As a Bothell injury lawyer, I know just how bad some of the physical effects of a motorcycle crash can be, but people not as familiar will be able to understand with the pictures you take. Also try to preserve any other evidence from the crash, including the clothes you wore, and even broken parts of your motorcycle.
Get Witnesses: It can be a huge boost to your motorcycle injury case if you have neutral witnesses that can attest to your story of the accident. Witness testimony holds great sway in proving fault, and proving that someone else was responsible for the accident is essential in winning claims. Be sure to look all around for witnesses if you are not injured too badly. Common witness locations include cars around the scene of the accident, people on the street, and people in buildings nearby.
Over 2,000 Washington motorcycle accidents occur every year, and for the most part, it is not the motorcyclist that causes them. Making the right decisions and collecting the necessary evidence after an accident is critical for anyone who is unfortunate enough to be involved in one. If you have been in a motorcycle accident and would like advice free of charge from an experienced Renton motorcycle accident lawyer, give Premier Law Group a call at (206) 285-1743.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Paying for Medical Help After an Auto Accident


If you have sustained an injury in a King County automobile accident, the first thing you ought to do is go to the emergency room to get the medical attention you need. As a Renton injury lawyer, I have personally witnessed the detrimental effects that not immediately seeing a doctor can have, both on a person's wellness and on their accident case as well. Most of the time, people don't have a good understanding of the insurance claims process, and how the car insurance they have purchased can help them immediately pay for their medical bills. To make sure you are prepared in case you happen to be in an accident, it is important to have a good understanding of what you should do when dealing with your insurance company.
Once you have received any treatment you may have needed from the emergency room after an accident, you should notify your car insurance company immediately and open up a PIP claim. PIP is short for “personal injury protection,” and if you do not have it already, you should immediately purchase as much coverage as you can afford. PIP coverage is no-fault coverage, and therefore even if you caused the accident, it will still pay for your recovery. I can’t tell you how many times throughout my career as a Bellevue auto accident lawyer that I have witnessed PIP coverage essentially save my clients. A lot of people fear that by opening up a PIP claim, they're going to see their rates drastically increase, but there is actually a law in the state of Washington that prevents this from happening. Because of this, you don't need to fear that opening up a claim will cost you in the long run.
Your insurance company doesn’t just let people make claims without a fight, though. They will likely send you to see a doctor of their choice at some point with the goal of cutting off your PIP coverage. The doctor makes a lot of money every year taking in patients from insurance companies. Because of this relationship, they are inclined to say that you are no longer injured – which allows the insurance company to cut off your claim. This procedure is called an “independent medical examination,” or IME, but there is nothing independent about it. Despite this, it is important that you show up for the appointment and are 100% honest with the doctor at all times.

You may still feel like you need medical help after the insurance company cuts off your PIP, in which case you will need to go through your normal healthcare provider. If the accident was someone else’s fault, then you can still get this paid for eventually if you have filed a claim against their insurance company. At this point, it is a good idea to seek a free consultation from a seasoned Bellevue car accident lawyer to see if you need representation.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two Types of Wrongful Death Cases


In Washington State, there are two different types of wrongful death claims, and a major loophole in the process that needs to be fixed. As a Kirkland injury lawyer, I have worked on wrongful death cases all through my career, and believe that there needs to be a change in the system to achieve the justice our legal system strives to attain. The two types of claims are known as a “general” claim and a “survivor” claim. Unfortunately, these two types of claims are not all encompassing, and under specific conditions, makes it possible for someone who caused a wrongful death to get away without any repercussions. Here is a broad overview of the two claims:
General wrongful death claims: This sort of claim can be brought by the beneficiaries of the individual who passed away. Typically, this may include the decedent’s children, spouse, and under some conditions, the parents. These claims are meant to compensate damages for people that were financially dependent on the person who was killed. Parents with children under 18-years-old can file a general claim, however, once that child turns 18 years old, they can no longer do so unless they are financial dependent on that child. Emotional dependence is not enough to warrant this type of claim. This is meant to protect the people that were related to the decedent and relied on them financially. The details of each and every wrongful death case are very important to whether or not you can bring about a general claim. Talking to a highly skilled Redmond wrongful death lawyer in person is the best method to figure out what course of action you should take.
Survivor wrongful death claims: If the decedent does not have a spouse, children, or financially dependent parents, then they can have their day in court through a survivor claim. The court can appoint a personal representative to their estate, and damages can be collected for the pain and suffering experienced by the victim as a result of the accident prior to death. The focus of a survivor claim is on the victim, and does not take into account any loss suffered by family members.
The tragedy of this system is that parents of a wrongful death victim that is 18 or older cannot pursue a general wrongful death claim. Just because a child turns 18 and is no longer a minor does not mean that the strong bond between them and their parents goes away. With the law the way it is, however, the only type of claim that could be filed is a survivor claim. The person responsible for the death thus gets away with fewer repercussions for their actions, and the family of the victim feels as though justice was not truly served.
If you believe that a loved one’s death was the result of the negligence of someone else, then you should contact an experienced Washington wrongful death attorney once you are emotionally prepared to consider taking legal action. Every case will have circumstances that make it unique, so it is important to go consult a lawyer who has handled wrongful death claims before and can advise you in making the best possible decision.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bellevue Injury Lawyer - Wrongful Death Explained

Seattle car accident attorney Jason Epstein continues his FAQ series about personal injury cases. In this video, Jason discusses what makes up a wrongful death claim.
For those who have discovered this article because you think someone you love has been the victim of a wrongful death, allow me to first say how sorry I am for your loss. I hope that you are getting the support you need throughout this tragic ordeal. I have dealt with wrongful death cases my entire career as a Seattle wrongful death attorney, but they are always very emotionally straining. They have similar boundaries and rules as ordinary personal injury cases, but because there was a death, the case holds extra weight in my mind. There are very rigorous limitations on what constitutes wrongful death, so if you believe that you may have a claim due to the death of a loved one, you should speak with an experienced Washington wrongful death lawyer. Each case is different, but here are the basic principles:
First of all, the fatality needs to have been caused due to someone else’s carelessness. Much like in any vehicle accident or injury case, someone else has to be to blame by either doing something they should not have, or not doing something they should have. There has to be a causal connection between this negligence and the death as well. When fighting an insurance company on a claim with as much at stake as wrongful death, proving that the negligence caused the death is the most critical aspect of the case.
There are many circumstances in which a wrongful death may occur. Some of the most typical that I have seen as a Bellevue wrongful death lawyer are from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian collisions, defective products, workplace accidents and medical errors. Time is unfortunately of the essence when dealing with these cases when there is a death involved. This is always very difficult for the family, as they need a proper amount of time to mourn their loss and probably do not want to even consider hiring an attorney. When the family feels emotionally ready to look at pursuing legal action, however, they should speak with an attorney. To take as much worry off of the decedent’s family, it is critical to find a skilled wrongful death lawyer that also has the compassion to deal with people in such a difficult situation.
If a loved one has died because of someone else’s negligence and you live in the greater Seattle region, feel free to reach out to us whenever you are ready. At Premier Law Group, we offer free initial consultations to families of a wrongful death victim and are always honest and straightforward in telling potential clients if they need to hire an attorney. For more information on Washington wrongful death, check out my free book titled “In Case of Death,” which I co-wrote with another Premier Law Group partner, Patrick Kang.