The Pickett Law Firm strives to help people in the Yakima Valley community one case at a time, which is why we handle a wide array of legal issues. We work with a large amount of car accident victims, many of whom are unable to work or enjoy life because their injuries are so severe.
In our efforts to advocate for people who have been affected by these devastating crashes, we have created this car accident guide.
In this guide, we will discuss the importance of safe driving, the prevalence of car accidents, and why you need an experienced attorney to represent you in these matters. Car accident cases are extremely complex, and you need a compassionate attorney on your side who understands the specifics of Washington law to get the best results possible.
While some people think that car accidents “won’t happen to them,” this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Regardless of how experienced you are behind the wheel, accidents happen. You can’t control the other drivers on the road. Coincidentally, a large percentage of car accidents happen within just a few miles of your home. Often times, drivers and passengers will forgo buckling their seatbelt on residential streets. This is a grave mistake, mainly because you truly never know how other cars will react to your vehicle—no matter what type of road you may be on.
Additionally, it would be false to assume that car accidents only happen to other people because of how often they occur right here in the state of Washington. First, let’s look at some car accident statistics from around the country.
Nationally, there were 30,057 fatal car crashes in 2013, taking the lives of 32,719 people.
An average of 6,337 people were injured in car accidents per day that year, with 2,313,000 total injuries being reported.
In Washington alone, a car crash occurred every five minutes in 2013. As a result of these crashes, a person was injured every 12 minutes, with another person dying every 20 hours. When you break these statistics down by the cause of each crash, the results are even more surprising. Crashes caused by distracted drivers occurred every 15 minutes in 2013 in Washington, which encompasses everything from texting and driving to applying makeup behind the wheel. Speeding caused a crash every 30 minutes, which begs the question: is your life worth arriving to your destination two minutes earlier?
Yakima’s statistics are certainly reflected in the numbers above, but it’s beyond upsetting to hear the names of people in your own town lose their life to a car accident. For example, consider the two young men who experienced a harrowing rollover crash on Interstate 82 in May 2015. Think about the nine adults and one child who were also injured on I-82 in 2013. Altogether, there were 23 car accidents resulting in injury or death in Yakima from March 2013 to May 2015. We think this is far too many, and we want to make a difference in this community by providing this information.
We hope that this guide gives you a new perspective into car accidents. Our goal is to provide you with an informational resource to learn more about how you can avoid car accidents, as well as the steps you need to take when you or a loved one is involved in a crash. If you have been involved in this type of accident, do not hesitate to contact The Pickett Law Firm today to get started.
Steps To Take After A Car Accident
While there are several things that you can do to avoid being in a car accident—such as remaining focused on the road and obeying the speed limit—you are not in control of the drivers around you. Therefore, every driver needs to be aware of what to do in the event of an accident.
Seek Physical Safety
Immediately after being struck by another vehicle, the first thing you need to do is find a safe area to pull your vehicle over. As a general rule, you should always keep your wheel completely straight unless you are completing a turn. This will prevent you from swerving into oncoming traffic if another car strikes from behind. Following the accident, you need to clear the road to avoid further damage.
Often times, simple two-car fender-benders snowball into massive pileups simply because other cars do not have enough time to avoid the wreck. This puts you and everyone involved in harm’s way, including the vehicles passing you by.
Before you even approach the other driver or take any further action, you need to call 911 or alert the proper authority. When you call emergency services, they will dispatch an officer to the scene of the accident to officially document the situation. Regardless of how minimal or severe your car’s damage may
When you call emergency services, they will dispatch an officer to the scene of the accident to officially document the situation. Regardless of how minimal or severe your car’s damage may might be, you cannot rely on the other driver to present a fair portrayal of the crash. The responding officer will provide you with a police report of the incident, which will detail the collision and help you present your case when it is time to go to court.
Takes Pictures and Swap Information
In a court of law, there is no “hearsay” or assumptions. By documenting your accident with pictures in real-time, it will give the court a better understanding of exactly what happened and how it affected your vehicle. After you call 911 and while you wait for an officer, start taking pictures of your damaged vehicle and the surrounding environment. Take multiple pictures from several different angles to ensure that you properly document the scope of your damages. Then, once a police officer arrives, swap information with the other driver. Make sure that you get their insurance company’s name and policy number, as well as the driver’s name, license plate number, address, phone number, and any other personal information that may be relevant, like who owns the vehicle.
Seek Medical Attention
If you have even the slightest of pains, aches, or soreness as a result of your crash, you need to seek medical attention. When the responding officer arrives, he or she will ask you if you’ve been injured and can arrange medical treatment for you if needed. Taking note of your injuries and seeking needed medical attention is crucial because it will provide concrete evidence of misdoing on the part of the other driver.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Once you have the other driver’s information, have sought medical attention, and have the necessary documentation of your injuries, the next step you need to take is contacting a trusted attorney. Every car accident is unique, and the details of your case need to be documented by an attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced Yakima, Washington, car accident attorneys at The Pickett Law Firm understand how frightening a car crash can be. We will take you through the process step-by-step to ensure we get a clear understanding of what led to your unfortunate accident. Contact us today to get started.
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Causes of Car Accidents in Yakima, Washington
In this portion of the guide, we’re going to discuss some of the most common causes of car accidents. Additionally, we’ll explain what type of property damage you can expect from these circumstances, as well as the potential injuries you can sustain from each of them.
Rear-End Collisions and Standard Accidents
Despite your best efforts, it is difficult to guarantee that you will not be involved in a car accident. It is impossible to predict how other drivers will react to your vehicle, whether they be inexperienced, dealing with road rage, or even intoxicated. Therefore, you need to be prepared for car accidents such as rear-end collisions, sideswipes, and other related incidents.
Rear-end collisions frequently occur at intersections, particularly on busy roads. There are also many read-end collisions and similar accidents on the expressway, and “rush hour” is the busiest time for emergency crews on the roads. When you approach a stoplight at an intersection, you should always be able to see a few feet of pavement in front of your car. Often times, drivers will “tailgate” the vehicle in front of them, meaning that the driver is following too closely. When this occurs, even the slightest tap of the gas pedal can force a car to strike the vehicle that is in front of it. While this may seem like a minor incident, you may be surprised at how damaging these types of accidents can be.
Firstly, the property damage that stems from fender-benders is typically more extensive than many are led to believe. Cars are complex machines, and even the slightest of impacts can completely distort your engine, tailpipe, and other important vehicle parts. Plus, there is no “express lane” for car accidents. If you so much as tap another vehicle with your car, you need to exit the car, take pictures of the damages, exchange information, and go through the same basic process as you would with a more serious accident.
Many people underestimate the potential for property damage stemming from a fender-bender, but even more drivers fail to understand just how serious read-end collision injuries can be. The most common injury that stems from rear-end collisions is whiplash, which occurs when the force of a crash causes your head to whip violently back and forth. Whiplash affects your entire head and neck area, including your spinal cord. Injuries sustained from whiplash can linger for years, leading you to experience random bouts of light sensitivity, nausea, and cramping. Because of how long these injuries can last, you need to contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately following a rear-end collision.
Poor Weather and Bad Driving Conditions
Longtime Washington residents are well-aware of how heavy rain can affect the roads, and it’s something that all local drivers need to prepare for. Often times, rain will collect in large puddles on the road, which makes it almost impossible to maintain control of your vehicle. Rainy conditions can lead to hydroplaning, which is when a layer of water builds between your tires and the road. This causes you to lose all traction, which is why hydroplaning results in so many car accidents every single year.
While rain is extremely common in the state of Washington, we also get our fair share of snow and ice. Icy conditions are perhaps more dangerous than any other weather-related obstacle. There should be a distinct change in your driving habits during the winter months. When ice collects on the road, you can no longer trust posted speed limits to stay safe. As a general rule, you should always start driving at half of the posted speed limit to get a feel for the conditions. At this point, you can begin to adjust your speed if conditions improve.
The damages that stem from weather-related crashes can be truly devastating, ranging from lightly striking another vehicle to completely rolling your vehicle over. It is impossible for you to know the true extent of how poor the roads have gotten. This is why you need to exercise extreme caution in these conditions. Often times, icy conditions can lead vehicles to slide into railings, ditches, or even oncoming traffic. Needless to say, a head-on collision can completely alter the course of your life, and most have fatal consequences.
America has made a strong effort to curb drunk driving in the past several decades, but unfortunately, it is still one of the most pressing issues that our country faces. While everyone should know the dangers of driving drunk, people continue to make this grave error, endangering the lives of themselves and others.
Additionally, alcohol is not the only substance that impairs judgment while driving. On the label of many prescription medications (as well as over-the-counter drugs) there is a clear warning that users should not operate a vehicle while under the drug’s influence. Regardless of how “strong” your medication is or what it is used for, you need to consider how it has impacted your judgment before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. Drunk driving may grab most of the headlines, but a large percentage of substance-related crashes stem from the abuse of prescription drugs, marijuana, ecstasy, and other inhibitors.
Drunk driving can lead to a number of harrowing situations, including rollovers and high-speed, head-on collisions. Many substance-related crashes end in fractured limbs, broken skulls, paralysis, and even death. Drunk driving is not something to be taken lightly. If you or a loved one is ever impaired, do not get behind the wheel—period. Instead, designate a driver before going out or arrange for a taxi or car-sharing service to pick you up. By making these mature decisions, you will not only save your own life, but the lives of innocent people around you.
Every single one of these situations can impact your health and finances for the rest of your life. The injuries you incur from a car accident are almost guaranteed to linger, which is why it is so crucial to contact a trusted Yakima, Washington, attorney immediately following a crash. In any event, you need to be aware of reckless drivers and poor weather conditions to ensure that you never have to experience the horror of a serious car accident. If you have been in an accident due to the negligence of another individual, do not hesitate to contact The Pickett Law Firm today.
Why Work With an Attorney?
If you have had the misfortune of experiencing a car accident, you know how much of a whirlwind life can become at just a moment’s notice. Between seeking medical attention, dealing with insurance companies, and informing your employer, the aftermath of a car crash can be truly overwhelming.
The most important thing that you need to do after a car accident is to focus on yourself. Therefore, you should seek the aid of an experienced, trustworthy, and compassionate car accident attorney to handle all of these essential tasks. Bill Pickett, founder and attorney at The Pickett Law Firm, gained his expertise in personal injury after traveling on an unusual career path from Alaskan deep sea diver to one of the most reputable lawyers in Washington.
Bill Pickett and his team understand the true crux of legal work, which is to help people just like you. He knows that a car accident is never something to take lightly, regardless of how serious your property damage or injuries may be. The fear of colliding with another vehicle or road barrier is something that most people could never comprehend unless they experience it firsthand. This traumatic feeling often stays with victims for the rest of their life. You deserve justice to continue living a happy and healthy life.
While obtaining compensation for your damages and injuries is crucial, there is a wide array of other services that Bill Pickett offers to help you through this trying time. Pickett’s experience has allowed him to develop relationships with several key figures in the Yakima community, including the best doctors in the region. Bill Pickett sincerely cares about his clients’ well-being and he looks forward to helping you find the medical assistance you need to start picking up the pieces from this terrible incident.
Many people have a poor grasp on what the law truly says, which is one of the reasons Bill Pickett took up an interest in becoming an attorney. There are an endless number of factors that can affect a personal injury case, particularly when a car accident involving two or more parties is involved. Bill Pickett has dealt with a wide array of unique personal injury cases and he has the knowledge and practice that you need to get the best result possible. Bill has also been known to spend countless hours pouring over documents, speaking with witnesses, and doing whatever it takes to help his clients. A quality attorney is someone who will take a personal interest in your future. That is exactly what Bill Pickett and The Pickett Law Firm can strive for to help you and your family.
As soon as you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, call The Pickett Law Firm and allow an experienced attorney to handle your case. You deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering. Bill Pickett and his team will stop at nothing until they help you live a better life.