Russell & Hill, PLLC
Car Accident

According to WSDOT crash data in Washington state, a car accident occurs approximately every 5 minutes and a car accident with injuries happens roughly every 11 minutes. According to this same data, the city of Spokane itself averages more than 10 motor vehicle crashes per day with nearly 20 per day in Spokane County.

The fact that life can change drastically in the span of 5 minutes often leaves car accident victims unprepared and shocked. Suffering through a car crash can influence the rest of your life, with many not ready to face the enduring consequences that come with from an accident.


Being in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence adds an extra layer of distress. On top of physical, mental, or emotional toil, one can also suffer from added stress due to costly medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and possible loss of wages. Don’t go through these challenges without professional legal representation. The experienced Spokane car accident lawyers of Russell & Hill, PLLC, are ready to assist you.

Our car accident attorneys have extensive experience in auto accident law, having represented hundreds of people who have been victims of auto accidents. We are proven experts in making sure clients are equitably compensated, and that the at-fault party pays for medical bills – including any future medical costs. Our Spokane injury lawyers can also get compensation for property damage and loss of wages.


If you have been in a car crash in Spokane and have suffered injuries or incurred loss of property, it is your right to seek the maximum amount of compensation provided by law. To do so, you’re going to need a legal team with a proven record of success. Russell & Hill, PLLC, is just such a firm.

After a car accident certain criteria need to be met in order to pursue a car accident claim:

  • The accident in question occurred recently.
  • You were not charged as “at fault” for the accident.
  • Either you or a family member received injuries as a result of the accident.
  • You and all family members injured were treated by a doctor after the accident occurred.
  • No settlement has been reached or agreement finalized with any insurance company regarding the accident.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Spokane

Experiencing a car accident can be overwhelming, but taking the right steps immediately afterward will ensure your safety, protect your legal rights, and maximize any potential compensation. Here’s a checklist for Spokane residents to follow after an accident:

  1. Ensure Safety: First, move to a safe location if possible. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
  2. Call 911: Reporting the accident to the police is mandatory for accidents with significant damage, injuries, or fatalities. A police report is a valuable document for insurance and legal purposes.
  3. Document the Scene: If you are able, take photographs of the vehicles, road conditions, traffic signs, and any injuries. The more detailed you can be in your documentation, the better. If there are witnesses, get their contact information.
  4. Exchange Information: Swap insurance and contact details with the other driver. Include names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance policy numbers, and vehicle details.
  5. Seek Medical Treatment: Put your health first. Not all injuries are immediately apparent. Visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible for a thorough evaluation. This also strengthens your legal claim by documenting any injuries related to the accident.
  6. Notify Your Insurance: Inform your insurance company about the accident promptly. Be factual about the incident but avoid admitting fault or giving detailed statements until you’ve consulted with an attorney.
  7. Consult a Spokane Car Accident Attorney: Before settling with insurance companies, speak with a Spokane car accident attorney. They can offer invaluable advice on how to proceed, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation for damages and injuries.

Remember, the actions you take immediately following a car accident can significantly impact the outcome of your legal case.

Understanding Fault and Liability

When involved in a car accident, identifying who is at fault to prove liability is a critical step in the compensation process for damages and injuries. Your attorney will help to wade through the complex determinations of fault and liability. Here’s how fault and liability are typically established in car accident cases:

Determining Fault in Car Accidents

Evidence Collection: The process begins with collecting evidence from the accident scene. This includes photos, witness statements, police reports, and any available video footage, each of which will be important for constructing a comprehensive view of the incident.

Law and Precedent: The specifics of the case are analyzed against state laws and prior similar cases. This analysis will include examining traffic laws that may have been violated and how those violations contribute to establishing fault.

Expert Consultation: Accident reconstruction experts are often consulted to provide a detailed understanding of the crash dynamics. Their insights can clarify fault, especially in complex situations.

Understanding Negligence

Negligence is a failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or damage to another. In car accident claims, proving negligence is the foundation of your case. To prove negligence we will need to show that:

  • There was a duty to exercise reasonable care.
  • That duty was breached through action or inaction.
  • The breach directly caused the accident and subsequent injuries.

Contributory Negligence

In Washington, if both parties share some degree of fault, the compensation recoverable is reduced by one’s percentage of fault. For example, being 20% at fault in an accident with $100,000 in damages means eligibility to recover up to 80% of the damages, or $80,000.

The Importance of Legal Representation

The matters of fault, negligence, and contributory negligence can significantly affect the outcome of a claim. Experienced legal representation is key in accurately determining fault and obtaining rightful compensation. With a deep understanding of local laws and a commitment to meticulous case preparation, the attorneys at Russell & Hill, PLLC will provide invaluable support in securing a favorable outcome.

Types of Car Accidents and Legal Considerations

Car accidents vary widely, each with unique impacts, damages, and legal considerations. Car accident attorneys understand how the type of car accidents plays into identifying causes, determining fault, and determining compensation.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions, often due to a driver’s inattention or following too closely, usually see the trailing driver at fault. However, specific circumstances surrounding the accident, such as sudden stops or malfunctioning brake lights, or faulty brakes can complicate liability assessments.

  • Contributory Negligence: Actions of the leading vehicle, like abrupt deceleration without reason, can also impact compensation determinations.
  • Whiplash Claims: These injuries are common and may have delayed symptoms, posing challenges for medical claims and liability assessments.

Head-On Collisions

These dangerous collisions occur when the fronts of two vehicles collide, typically resulting from wrongful actions like driving the wrong way, distracted driving, or impairment.

  • Serious Injury and Fatality Rates: The grave nature of head-on collisions raises the stakes significantly concerning compensation and punitive damages.
  • Wrongful Death Claims: A fatal accident may necessitate opening a wrongful death case, which will require an expert in Washington wrongful death claims.

Side-Impact Crashes

Also known as T-bone or broadside collisions, these incidents usually occur at intersections due to failing to yield, running red lights, or other negligent behaviors. Determining fault requires a thorough investigation.

  • Disputed Liability: Complex disputes over who had the right of way may necessitate detailed accident reconstruction to establish fault.
  • Intersection and Signal Laws: Understanding local traffic laws governing intersections and signal behaviors will be important information for establishing negligence.

Multi-Vehicle Pile-Ups

Involving three or more vehicles, pile-ups result from a chain reaction of collisions, often on busy roads or highways. The complexity of determining the sequence of events and initial causes poses unique legal challenges.

  • Determining the Chain of Fault: Liability assignment in pile-ups requires an expert approach to figure out each party’s fault percentage.
  • Insurance Claim Issues: The involvement of multiple insurers can lead to complicated claim processing and settlement negotiations.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

These accidents may involve only one vehicle and can stem from driver error, poor road conditions, or evasive maneuvers. They introduce liability questions that extend beyond simple driver error.

  • Road Conditions and Government Liability: Claims might be directed against governmental entities responsible for road maintenance and signage, facing sovereign immunity hurdles.
  • Product Liability: When vehicle defects contribute to an accident, pursuing product liability claims requires specific expertise.

General Legal Challenges Across Accident Types

No matter what type of car accident occurred, the outcome of cases involves overcoming several common legal hurdles. These include gathering comprehensive evidence, understanding the nuances of negligence and liability laws, adhering to statutes of limitations, analyzing insurance coverages intricately, and, where applicable, dealing with comparative negligence rules and being up to date on any changes in the law. An experienced attorney can guide you through these challenges toward the best possible resolution of your case

Common Injuries from Car Accidents

Car accidents in Spokane can lead to a wide range of potentially life changing injuries, affecting victims differently based on the severity of the collision. Understanding these injuries and their potential long-term impacts is an integral part of how our attorneys will pursue appropriate financial compensation.

Minor to Severe Injuries

  • Whiplash and Soft Tissue Injuries: Often resulting from rear-end collisions, these injuries involve damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and symptoms may not appear immediately.
  • Cuts and Lacerations: Broken glass or metal fragments can cause these injuries, which might require stitches and lead to scarring.
  • Bone Fractures: The force of a collision can break bones, with recovery times varying based on the fracture’s severity and location.
  • Head Injuries: Including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis: These serious injuries can lead to temporary or permanent mobility issues, significantly impacting a victim’s quality of life.

Long-Term Impacts and Compensation Considerations

The long-term effects of car accident injuries can extend far beyond physical harm, affecting emotional well-being and financial stability. Chronic pain, mobility restrictions, and the necessity for ongoing medical treatments or rehabilitation are common. Additionally, serious injuries may result in lost wages or an inability to return to work, further exacerbating the financial strain on the victim and their family.

When seeking compensation, it’s important to consider not only immediate medical costs but also long-term care, lost earning capacity, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Our Spokane attorneys will help you understand the full scope of your injuries and advocate for comprehensive compensation that covers both current and future needs.

Dealing with Insurance Companies After a Car Accident in Spokane

Interactions with insurance companies after a car accident in Spokane can be frustrating and overwhelming. While you may consider handling these communications yourself, understanding the role of an experienced attorney in this process can significantly impact the outcome of your insurance claim.

Tips for Negotiating with Insurance Companies

  • Communicate Through Your Attorney: Engaging with insurance companies through your attorney can prevent common pitfalls. Attorneys are adept at handling the nuances of insurance negotiations and can protect your interests.
  • Understand Your Policy: Be familiar with the specifics of your insurance coverage. Your attorney can help clarify the terms and ensure that your rights under the policy are fully exercised.
  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all medical treatments, repairs, and related expenses. Your attorney can ensure that all necessary documentation is organized and presented to support your claim.

Common Tactics Used by Insurance Adjusters

Insurance adjusters have their company’s best interests in mind, which often means minimizing payouts. Being aware of their tactics can prepare you to respond effectively, ideally through your legal representation.

  • Quick Settlement Offers: Adjusters may offer a fast settlement that is often less than the claim’s worth. An attorney can evaluate any offers to ensure they cover all your current and future needs.
  • Request for Recorded Statements: Adjusters may ask for a recorded statement hoping you inadvertently say something that could undermine your claim. Get legal advice from an experienced car accident lawyer before providing any statements, recorded or otherwise.
  • Disputing Medical Treatments: Insurance companies might question the necessity of certain treatments to reduce their liability. Your attorney can help justify the medical necessity and ensure you receive compensation for all medical expenses.

The Role of Your Attorney

An experienced car accident attorney in Spokane plays a critical role in dealing with insurance companies. They can:

  • Negotiate Effectively: Leveraging their knowledge and experience, attorneys can negotiate with insurers to seek a fair settlement.
  • Shield You from Common Pitfalls: By managing communication with the insurance company, your attorney can prevent common strategies used by adjusters to devalue your claim.
  • Maximize Your Compensation: Attorneys understand the full extent of compensable damages, including non-economic losses like pain and suffering, ensuring you pursue the maximum compensation available.

Dealing with insurance companies is a complex aspect of the post-accident process. Having a skilled attorney manage these negotiations can not only alleviate the stress associated with insurance claims but also significantly enhance the prospects of a favorable outcome.


As you may know, it could take months or even years to get compensated for your economic and non-economic damages incurred after a car crash, which is why you may be wondering, “Who will pay for my medical expenses after a car accident but before I receive my compensation?”

In Washington state, if you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP), then a certain percentage of your medical expenses will be covered by your PIP benefits without having to wait for the settlement. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage may be applicable in your case if you were injured in a hit-and-run accident or the other motorist does not have adequate liability insurance to cover your damages and losses.


“How much is my personal injury claim worth?” is one of the first questions asked by car accident victims. It is important to find out how much your car accident settlement is worth, but there isn’t a “calculator” that would give you an exact estimate of your case’s value.

When determining how much your personal injury claim is worth, a Spokane car accident attorney will consider multiple factors, including but not limited to:

  • The severity of the injury
  • The types of economic and non-economic damages available
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Whether pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress is involved
  • How the accident and injury affect your personal life and work life
  • The other party’s insurance coverage
  • Your insurance coverage
  • The strength of the evidence presented (whether the other party’s fault is clear and obvious)
  • Potential litigation

Some have used a 3X calculation, but this is merely a general estimate. To determine how much your case is worth this method multiplies your medical bills by three times to get a vague and approximate estimation of your case’s value. For example, if medical bills total $30,000, your settlement could be somewhere around $90,000. However, working with an experienced auto accident lawyer, that amount may be much greater.


Because each auto accident is different from another, so are the types of injuries sustained. Russell & Hill, PLLC, will prepare an extensive list of the damages that resulted from the accident.

Some allowable damages you may seek compensation for include:

  • Wrongful death
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical Expenses
  • Property losses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of affection and companionship


How long after a car crash in Washington state can you file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for damages? In our state, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the accident. Although it might seem that you have plenty of time before you lose your eligibility to file a lawsuit, you have no time to waste.

Get legal help from an experienced car accident attorney in Spokane or elsewhere in Washington state as soon as possible to maximize the value of your car accident claim and improve your odds of receiving the money you deserve promptly.


The last thing you want to do is attempt to litigate an auto accident claim by yourself. The level of education and legal training required to pursue a car accident claim is immense – this is the number one reason for contacting a legal firm that specializes in auto accident claims is the best course of action. By virtue of their training and experience, auto accident attorneys can best act on your behalf.

There are numerous ways your attorney can assist you:

  • Assemble applicable evidence and medical information related to the accident
  • Maintain communications with insurance companies involved in your case
  • Compile necessary research for the case including a comprehensive list of damages sought
  • Maintain accurate billing records reflecting time and expenses
  • Develop your personal injury claim and file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations


An inexperienced attorney might not obtain the compensation you deserve; there are many factors that determine an excellent auto accident attorney.

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Seek out firms with a limited practice exclusive to personal injury
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for testimonials and to research reviews of the personal injury law firm in question
  • During your initial consultation, don’t hesitate to ask all the questions you need to ensure attorneys take your interests seriously – a great attorney will listen to your every concern

Russell & Hill, PLLC, is committed to uncovering all sources of compensation available to you. Our car accident attorneys will work one-on-one with you during all phases of your claim. Due to our extensive trial experience, attorneys representing insurance companies have a high regard for our lawyers. We are always prepared to take your case to trial if a satisfactory settlement is not possible. From our free initial consultation to our proven record in obtaining compensation for clients, the Spokane auto accident lawyers at Russell & Hill, PLLC are your best choice for personal injury law. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling at 800-529-0842 or 509-361-2065.

Date published: 2023-11-17
5 out of 5

Very pleased with Russell & Hill for my auto accident claim that left me getting a back fusion surgery. I would highly recommend them if your in an auto accident.

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