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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Role of an Attorney in a Personal Injury Claim?

    Attorneys explain your rights and obligations under various laws and regulations pertaining to operating a motor vehicle.

    Attorneys explain the various insurance clauses contained in your policy as well as those that may be found in the other driver’s policy. Examples include such clauses as personal injury protection coverage(explained below) or uninsured motorist coverage.

    Attorneys assist you in obtaining fair and equitable compensation for your damages; including: loss of your vehicle, loss of income, payment of medical expenses, and compensation for pain and suffering as a result of any injuries sustained.

    Attorneys reflect your attitude in obtaining an equitable and prompt settlement and to fairly compensate you for the negligence of another party. NOTE: Most cases are resolved outside of a lawsuit or courtroom. Recent statistics indicate that more than 90% of claims are negotiated without resorting to court. As a result claims can be resolved without costly delay and anxiety to the claimant.

  • Can You Afford to Hire an Attorney?

    The answer is YES. Most personal injury claims are accepted on a contingency fee basis. This means that if our attorneys do not recover a settlement for you, there is no fee for our services. The fee is paid entirely from the settlement at the conclusion of your claim.

  • Who is Eligible to Make a Legal Claim?

    Anyone who has been injured or suffered damage as a result of another person’s negligence is entitled to make a claim. This is true whether you have been injured as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist or bicyclist. Injuries or damage may consist of physical injuries to your body, damage to your vehicle, damages or loss to personal property, loss of income, and incurring medical expenses. Recovery in a personal injury claim is dependent on establishing fault with another party and the ability of the at-fault party to compensate you either from personal resources or from insurance coverage. Both of these elements (fault and ability to pay) must be present in order to achieve a recovery. Proving liability and documenting the extent of your loss and injuries can be very complicated and a task that the average individual has little if any experience in handling.

  • Will My Consultation with your Attorneys be Free?

    Yes, your consultation with our attorneys will be Free. Dann D. Sheffield & Associates does not charge a fee for consultation or case evaluation. Our Attorneys are available for free in-person or phone consultation/case evaluations 24 hours a day. Our attorneys will happily meet you at any time and location at your convenience.

  • What If I Can Not Come to the Attorneys Office?

    Our attorneys will happily meet you at a location and time of your choosing. At Dann D. Sheffield & Associates we understand that after an accident mobility can be difficult. We also understand that every one of our clients has a busy life apart from their accident. If your injuries or other reasons prevent you from visiting our office, or you simply do not feel comfortable meeting at our office; Our attorneys can meet you at:

    The Hospital

    Your Home

    Any Location of Your Choosing

  • What is My Case Worth?

    This is one of the most common questions we as attorneys are asked and one of the most difficult questions to answer. Because every claim is different and dependent upon so many different variables and facts, it is impossible to give a definitive answer. However, our attorneys are happy to answer this question in a free, no obligation, in person or phone consultation-24 hours a day.

  • Is Your Claim Too Small?

    The answer is NO? Even though you may have been involved in a relatively minor accident, it may produce painful and persistent injuries that could last for months or even years. The lasting consequences of many accidents may not be immediately known. If you have been involved in any accident even a minor accident, why not obtain a free legal consultation in our office or your home?

  • What to Do If You Have Been Involved in an Auto Accident?

    Call 911 and insist on a Police investigation. In many cases there are no witnesses to the accident, and without a police investigation, liability may be contested later even though liability was admitted at the scene. Physical evidence of how the accident occurred may be lost after the driver leaves the scene.

    Before you leave the scene of the accident, be certain you exchange information with all drivers involved. Record the vehicle license number and drivers licenses of the other driver(s). Obtain the names of all witnesses. Witnesses can determine the outcome of your claim!

    Be certain to obtain the insurance information of the other driver(s).

    File an accident report with the State of Washington within 24 hours of the time of the accident if someone is injured or property damage exceeds $700.00. (If a collision is not investigated and reported by an officer, the operators of any involved vehicles must submit their own independent traffic collision report as stated in RCW 46.52.030 and WAC 446-85-010)

    Immediately contact your insurance representative. Your insurance representative will be of assistance in describing the coverage contained in your policy.

    Obtain an estimate to repair your vehicle and photograph the damage to your vehicle and the accident scene.

    Do NOT discuss your claim with anyone but your family, you insurance agent, your doctor, or your Attorney. Be certain not to sign any release forms or make recorded or written statements to the other driver’s insurance representative.

    If you were injured, be certain to go to the doctor as soon as possible. Explain to the doctor that your injuries were the result of an automobile accident, and take photographs of any visible injuries (i.e. cuts or bruises)

    Prior to any contact with the other driver’s insurance company, notify your attorney. The outcome of many cases is affected by obtaining competent legal advice prior to opening a claim.

  • How Long Will My Claim Take to Settle?

    Every claim is different and dependent upon numerous variables, including: which insurance company is involved, the extent of the injuries, ongoing medical treatment, whether liability is being disputed, etc. Due to all of the variables that may affect when a claim can be settled, it is impossible to provide a definitive answer. However, our attorneys are happy to answer this question in a free, no obligation, in person or phone consultation 24 hours a day.

  • How Long After My Accident can I File a Personal Injury Claim?

    In Washington State there is a three(3) year Statute of Limitations to file a personal injury claim. This means that you have 3 years from the date of your accident or in some cases 3 years from the discovery of your injuries to file a claim. After that 3 year statute of limitations has run you will generally be barred from bringing a personal injury claim and prevented from recovering anything for the losses you may have suffered. Due to the time sensitive nature of all personal injury claims, if you have been involved in an accident, it is highly recommended that you consult an attorney as soon as possible.

  • General Insurance Coverage Questions?

    Washington State law requires drivers of motor vehicles subject to registration to purchase minimum liability coverage of $25,000.00 for an individual for bodily injury, and $50,000.00 for bodily injury to two or more persons. State law also requires $10,000.00 in property coverage. Unfortunately, even though Washington State has a mandatory insurance law, many individuals do not obtain coverage. Consequently, it is highly recommended that you increase your own liability coverage and purchase uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection coverage. If you have significant assets, be certain to inquire of your insurance agent with regard to purchasing an umbrella policy. Remember: You will only be compensated for your loss or damages to the extent of the resources available to you. Consult your insurance agent regularly to review your coverage.

  • What is PIP Insurance?

    PIP insurance or “Personal Injury Protection” is a form of insurance that may be purchased in addition to liability insurance. PIP insurance is not required in Washington but must be offered and waived in writing. If PIP insurance was not offered by the insurance company the insurance policy will be deemed to include PIP. PIP insurance may be used to pay for such things as medical expenses, wage loss, loss of services, and funeral expenses. It is insurance that is paid regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This means PIP insurance may be paid to the injured party before liability is determined. For the victim this can help pay medical bills or wage loss prior to a settlement being reached. However, even when a party’s insurance policy includes PIP coverage, PIP coverage will only cover certain persons involved in the accident.

  • Who is Covered Under a PIP Policy?

    PIP insurance generally only covers the insured driver (i.e. the person named on the policy and/or family members) as well as his/her passengers – up to a certain amount. This means that if there is an accident between two(2) vehicles and only one of the drivers has a PIP policy, that policy will only cover the PIP policy holder and the passengers in his/her vehicle. The PIP policy will not be paid to the other driver or their passengers. However, in some cases there may be exceptions to the driver/passenger limitations on a PIP policy.

  • What is an Uninsured Motorist?

    An “Uninsured Motorist” refers to the driver of a motor vehicle who is not carrying liability insurance coverage; had insurance that did not meet state-mandated minimum liability requirements, or is an unidentified driver in a hit-and-run accident.

  • What is an Underinsured Motorist?

    An underinsured driver is someone who met the minimum legal financial responsibility requirements, but did not have liability limits high enough to cover the damage their accident caused.

  • How Do You Recover Your Losses if There is Uninsured or Underinsured Driver Involved?

    When an uninsured or underinsured driver injures a motorist, in some cases the injured party can file a claim with his or her own insurer, depending on the insurance coverage purchased. In these cases, if your insurance policy includes UM(uninsured) or UIM(underinsured) motorist coverage, such coverage may help pay you for your damages when the at-fault party can not. In Washington, insurance providers are required to offer policyholders UM and UIM coverage. The policyholder may waive UM/UIM coverage but the insurance provider must be able to produce the signed waiver or the policy will be deemed to include UM/UIM coverage.

    However, even when a policyholder has UM/UIM coverage insurance companies frequently make it difficult for the policyholder to recover damages under their policy. Your insurer may claim you were partially at fault, deny that you had proper coverage, take an unreasonable amount of time to settle your claim, or deny your claim altogether. The attorneys at Dann D. Sheffield & Associates have over 30 years of experience handling uninsured and underinsured motorist claims and can help you deal with difficult insurance adjusters.