32 years courtroom experience

Hundreds of cases settled

Understands how the system works

Common Questions

Q: How long do I have to settle my case?

A: In a typical personal injury case, in Washington State, you have three years to settle your case before you need to file a lawsuit. However some types of cases have shorter statutes of limitation, some as short as 180 days. It is extremely unwise to wait until shortly before the statute runs to get an attorney. If you need to take legal action, get some legal advice sooner rather than later.


Q: What is my case worth?

A: The value of a personal injury case depends upon many things, including the type of injuries, the amount of your medical bills, lost wages, and whether the injuries are permanent. Contrary to what many people think, there is no formula  to decide what a case is worth. Putting a value on "pain and suffering" is very difficult, and many variables must be considered.


Q: When should I talk to a lawyer?

A: Sooner rather than later. Even if you don’t hire an attorney, you should talk to an attorney before signing any insurance company documents. This can save you grief and money in the long run. Most attorneys will give you some free common sense advice. If you try to settle the case yourself, and eventually hire a lawyer, you will probably have done some damage to your case by making mistakes in negotiation, or legal mistakes because you don't know the rules. Its best to get some advice.


Q: Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company?

A: No. There is almost no reason to ever provide a recorded statement to the at-fault driver's insurance company. The statement will be used against you at a later time. They are not on your side.


Q: The insurance company adjuster says attorneys  will just take part of my settlement, so why should I hire one?

A:  Most people do not know what their claim is worth, they don’t know how to prove its worth, and they don’t know the legal implications of letting the negligent person off the hook by signing a release.  There may be money available through your underinsured motorist coverage.  There are issues concerning repayment of PIP benefits. Your own medical insurance company may expect to be reimbursed. These are all issues which should be handled by attorneys, who understand the rules.  Remember that insurance companies are not the “good hands people” or “the good neighbors” they claim to be in their advertisements.


Q: What is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage?

A: This coverage is provided by your insurance company to compensate you if the person who hurt you has no insurance, or not enough insurance.


Q: What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage?

A: This coverage pays your medical bills from a car accident, regardless of fault.  It covers you and anyone in your family, or anyone riding in your insured vehicle. It also applies to pedestrians who are hit by your vehicle.


Q: What is subrogation?

A: Subrogation is a legal doctrine which requires that you reimburse your insurance company if you settle your case with the “at-fault” party. In other words, if your insurance company pays your medical bills through your PIP coverage, and you settle the case yourself,  your insurance company will expect to be reimbursed the entire amount of their payments. If you have an attorney, you do not need to reimburse your insurance company the entire amount, because your insurance company pays the attorney’s fees for collecting the medical expenses. This is a very complicated area of the law and definitely should be handled by an attorney.