Car Accidents with Electric Vehicles

If you’ve experienced an accident or injury involving an electric vehicle (EV), it might feel like there are more questions than answers.

Like all new technology, electric vehicles are at the frontiers of the law. From batteries to autonomous features, entirely new kinds of cases are emerging all the time.

Of course, that’s on top of all the usual questions and stress around fault, liability, insurance coverage, and so forth.

So, if you’re dealing with the aftermath of an EV collision, our legal team will help you fight for rightful compensation while navigating the complexities of this cutting-edge tech.

Electric vehicle incidents & concerns

In a few short years, electric vehicles evolved from far-fetched concept cars to in-demand production vehicles.

But wide adoption doesn’t mean they’re free of issues. In fact, their batteries and numerous “smart” features create new kinds of problems—sometimes with devastating consequences.

Remember: EV-related claims may have little precedent and therefore lots of ambiguity. Insurers and manufacturers may try to use this ambiguity in their favor. If you or your loved ones suffered harm related to an electric vehicle, then it’s as important as ever to consult an experienced accident and injury attorney.

Batteries can ignite or explode

We’ve all seen EV battery fires on the news. Smoke or sparks may give way to flames, which seem to come from nowhere and quickly consume the vehicle. Not only are these cases deeply alarming, but sadly, some have been fatal.

Most of today’s EVs use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Unfortunately, lithium is highly heat-sensitive and combustible. A severe temperature increase—whether from poor design, manufacturing errors, or extreme operating conditions—can ignite the battery and produce a frightening fire.

There are a couple of additional hazards beyond the obvious combustion risk.

For one thing, Li-ion batteries contain several substances that become volatile under heat. When exposed to fire, they may produce extremely harmful gases like carbon monoxide and hydrogen fluoride. These gases are potentially fatal on their own, let alone in combination with heat and smoke.

Consequently, rescuers may need to be especially cautious. The unique risks of EV batteries may mean slower aid and, potentially, worse outcomes for everyone involved.

Doors have trapped people inside

In rare but particularly tragic cases, the vehicle’s own doors have trapped drivers or passengers inside a burning vehicle. This isn’t inherent to EVs, but is a risk of the novel, automated features that some EV makers have adopted.

Most notably, some popular models have self-retracting door handles. These are intended to extend when someone approaches and retract when not needed. However, if damage renders the software or mechanisms inoperable, rescuers may not be able to open the doors quickly (or at all) to extract the occupants.

To be clear, this is an extremely rare event. But in combination with battery-related fire hazards, it’s a dramatic and dangerous occurrence that current laws may not clearly address.

Self-driving EVs raise new liability questions

Collisions with autonomous EVs (or ones temporarily in auto-pilot mode) raise a slew of legal questions.

Engineering quality standards, the role of artificial intelligence in self-driving software, and the operator’s decision to relinquish control are mostly uncharted territory. These factors, plus the human element of most collisions, make it uniquely hard to disentangle liability.

If you were in an accident involving a self-driving EV, then we urge you to contact a legal professional as soon as possible.

Getting legal help after your EV accident

In the US, electric vehicle sales seem to hit new highs with every passing month. And as EVs form a growing share of all cars, they also form a growing share of all car collisions.

As a result, we’ve already seen new and complex legal situations. Some, like batteries combusting or autonomous features misbehaving, involve tricky matters of product liability that may involve manufacturers directly.

Electric vehicle or not, you still need an advocate. Even accidents that seem straightforward can have serious implications for your finances and well-being. No matter the cause of your EV-related incident, it’s critical to talk to an attorney before dealing with any insurers.

At Bridge Law, our team has spent years helping others just like you get fair treatment and just compensation. To confidentially discuss your situation with an expert, please reach out today.

Delayed Injuries After Car Accidents: Why They Happen & What To Do

The physical and mental trauma of a car accident happens in a flash. Just a fraction of a second can turn your health, finances, and entire life upside down.

But that fleeting moment isn’t always the end of it.

Unfortunately, some collision injuries don’t fully show up for days or even weeks after impact.

This article will help you understand why these occur, what signs to watch for, and what to do if injuries emerge in the aftermath of your accident.

What Kinds of Collision Injuries Might Be Delayed?

Car accident injuries are often delayed when they involve soft tissue, including the brain. Factors like psychological stress and hormonal responses may play a role, although they’re harder to observe.

Some of the most common types of delayed car accident injuries are:

  • Neck strain (e.g., whiplash)
  • Concussion and brain trauma
  • Back pain, spasms, or stiffness
  • Internal bleeding

From skin to ligaments to brain matter, our bodies are filled with soft tissue. It’s all vulnerable to impact, and even to drastic changes in momentum.

But unlike skeletal injuries, which are relatively immediate and simple to diagnose, soft tissue injuries can manifest slowly and may require special medical imaging.

Why Are Some Car Accident Injuries Delayed?

For the most part, bones either break or don’t break, which is generally clear from an X-ray.

But soft tissue injuries can be a product of bruising, excess stretching, inflammatory responses, and even postural compensation. These things may not leave immediate signs, and can be hard to detect clinically—especially before a little time has passed.

Additionally, our bodies respond to the indescribable stress of a collision by releasing a flood of hormones. This classic fight-or-flight response may numb pain and inhibit inflammation, but only for a matter of minutes or hours. Symptoms may evolve rapidly during that time as hormones return to normal levels.

What’s more, the psychological trauma of a serious collision can affect when and how we perceive pain. This phenomenon remains a bit mysterious, but it’s safe to say that it’s highly individual and no less real than broken bones or lacerated skin.

What Are the Signs of Delayed Car Accident Injuries?

Many injuries that show up later actually begin with minor discomfort. Normally, you might not pay much attention to a little tightness, stiffness, or soreness. But after a car collision, these may be the earliest manifestations of significant damage to soft tissue.

Be especially vigilant regarding your neck and back, since brain and spinal injuries are among the most common and most life-altering. There’s no need to panic at every little twinge, but it’s critical to get a physician’s opinion if you notice changes in neurological functions like movement, vision, or even memory or focus. The same goes for dizziness or fainting, which could reflect any of several underlying problems.

Along those lines, take note of any odd sensations or numbness, especially in your limbs. This often suggests injury to or inflammation of tissue around major nerves.

New abdominal pain may also emerge after a car accident. Our internal organs are surprisingly robust, but with sufficient force, they can still suffer damage. They’re also surrounded by delicate blood vessels, which may develop slow but worrisome internal bleeding.

Less often discussed, but equally important, are changes in mental health. Our brains simply aren’t designed for the trauma and fright of a collision, so it’s not uncommon to experience anxiety, mood disorders, and even sleep dysfunction. If you or people close to you notice behavioral changes, then take them seriously and get a professional evaluation.

What to Do if You Suspect Delayed Injuries

Above all, never sign or agree to anything until you’ve been thoroughly checked over by a medical professional. Once you’ve attended to your care, consider speaking with an attorney who specializes in car accidents.

Remember, insurers and other parties are fully aware that not all injuries appear right away. It’s in their best interest for you to waive or release potential claims as soon as possible. It’s in your best interest to ensure your injuries are fully and patiently documented.

Secondly, get a doctor’s evaluation even if you haven’t noticed any serious injuries. A healthcare provider may still find damage that’s poised to cause problems later. This affects not just your well-being, but also the compensation that you can pursue.

Finally, consider working with a legal team that specializes in collision injuries. We’re here to help accident victims like you to win fair compensation for the full extent of harm suffered.

Courts remain as backlogged as ever, so contact us promptly to schedule a consultation.

What If You Discover Car Damage After An Accident?

Even if you’re fortunate enough to escape personal harm, dealing with vehicle damage can be complicated.

In fact, some serious and costly problems might be discovered after the collision. That’s a tough situation, with almost no legal recourse.

Below, we’ll cover why your options are limited and how to ensure all damage is discovered upfront.

Can’t I Just Claim More Vehicle Damage Later?

Generally speaking, you get one shot at a vehicle damage claim.

When the insurer offers a settlement check, it usually includes (or is contingent upon) a waiver of any future damage claims.

From an insurer’s perspective, this makes perfect sense. The matter is resolved, and no longer a pending liability on their books.

But as a vehicle owner, it means categorically no compensation for damage you notice after settlement. Even if the damage existed all along, its absence from your claim means it’s effectively off the table.

How to Avoid Missed Damage

In the overwhelming majority of cases, there’s no way to claim damage that you discover later. Settlements are effectively final.

Your best (and only) option is to avoid that situation altogether.

1. Get a professional inspection immediately

It’s tempting to try to end the matter quickly and move on with life as soon as possible. The insurer may also pressure you to settle promptly.

But proceed with caution.

Some damage (to electronics or engine components, for instance) is difficult or impossible for most of us to detect. What’s more, the stress of a collision—let alone any injuries—makes it even harder to notice hidden but critical damage.

After photographing the scene and filing police and insurance reports, get your car to a reputable mechanic immediately. They will calmly and thoroughly inspect your vehicle from bumper to bumper. They will also provide a comprehensive damage summary, repair estimates, and other critical details that your insurer will take into account.

We can’t overstate the importance of documenting all damage at once!

While it’s important to avoid haste, keep in mind that your time is limited. At minimum, your insurer will require prompt notice of a collision. They may even require a full claim within just days of the accident, so prompt inspection is essential.

Note that the exact time frame depends on the terms of your policy. Unlike with personal injury claims, these are not subject to Washington’s statute of limitations.

2. Seek counsel from a collision specialist

Even if you were fortunate enough to avoid injury, some damage claims are still complicated to resolve.

For instance, disputes over fault and negligence can seriously derail negotiations, and all the more so when a third party’s insurance is involved. An experienced attorney can help streamline this stressful process and win you the fullest possible compensation.

Additionally, our team of car accident legal specialists can help you decipher the legalese and potentially negotiate a fairer settlement.

This is of the utmost importance if you are pursuing vehicle and injury claims at the same time. Those different processes with different remedies and statutes of limitations. Before you sign anything, it’s critical to understand which claim(s) any settlement or release documents apply to.

The Problem With Damage Discovered After an Accident

The aftermath of a car accident can feel as stressful as the collision itself.

And it only compounds that stress (and financial hardship) if you find vehicle damage after filing your initial claim. It’s worth reiterating that there’s virtually no way to add newfound damage to a settled claim.

What you can do is get a prompt, professional vehicle inspection that leaves no stone unturned.

And if it proves difficult to reach a fair settlement, or to pursue an injury claim at the same time, you can also choose a legal team with a track record of winning on behalf of accident victims.

If you’d feel more confident with counsel on your side, then contact us today for a no-obligations discussion.

Hit by a commercial vehicle – Here’s what to do

It’s frightening and stressful to get hit by any vehicle, but all the more so with commercial ones.

Perhaps you’re certain the other vehicle or driver played a role, yet you feel like you’re up against a corporate Goliath, with a room full of lawyers itching to pin all the fault on you.

Even so, we’ve helped dozens of commercial collision victims like you collect their rightful compensation.

If you’ve been hit by a commercial vehicle, then here’s what you need to know:

  • Even if the other driver denies any fault, that still does not mean it’s on you. Collisions often involve factors behind the scenes, like vehicle maintenance or loading, which don’t always come to light without expert counsel.
  • Don’t automatically assume that a settlement offer is in your best interest. Rather, review it with your legal team to make sure it reflects every penny you deserve.
  • Washington law generally allows three years to file a claim, but it’s still important to act quickly. Investigation and insurance negotiations can be slower than we’d like, plus courts are backlogged as they catch up on criminal matters that were delayed during the pandemic. We have the resources to ensure your case gets heard as soon as possible and expedite the compensation you deserve.

What Exactly Is a Commercial Vehicle?

By Washington law, a commercial vehicle is “any vehicle the principal use of which is the transportation of commodities, merchandise, produce, freight, animals, or passengers for hire.” This includes obvious examples like tractor-trailers, but also taxis, buses, and even test vehicles in some cases.

That covers more than you might think, and does leave a little room for legal interpretation. It isn’t always obvious whether the vehicle that hit you was “commercial” under state law, so it’s important to talk to an attorney who specializes in accident and injury law.

Establishing Fault

As always, your claim hinges on who’s at fault and how much they contributed to the collision. That’s because Washington observes something called pure comparative negligence, meaning any contribution to the accident will affect compensation.

In commercial vehicle collisions, both the driver and their employer may be at fault. That isn’t always cut and dried, since details like the time of the collision or the nature of any cargo also affect liability. That’s another example of why it’s essential to seek counsel from a team of accident and injury specialists.

Common Factors in Commercial Vehicle Collisions

Our team realizes this event has disrupted or even altered your life, so we will leave no stone unturned in getting to the root of it.

Of course, bad behaviors—like speeding, recklessness, or intoxication—do occur. But some additional collision risks are unique to commercial vehicles. These may have contributed to your collision even if they weren’t obvious at the time.

Below are just a few of the factors we may pursue.

Commercial drivers are often subject to background checks followed by additional licensing and training requirements. Any gaps—whether accidental or deliberate—may have endangered you by putting an unprepared or untrustworthy driver behind the wheel.

Along the same lines, driver rest rules affect how many hours some commercial drivers may spend behind the wheel. Fatigue makes it exponentially harder to drive safely, so these rules are in place for everyone’s protection. Unfortunately, they’re sometimes disregarded, perhaps with disastrous results.

Commercial vehicle inspection and maintenance is another common factor. They often rack up high mileage with heavy cargo, so even small oversights come with high stakes. What’s more, maintenance problems can show up unexpectedly, at which point the driver’s best efforts still may not prevent a collision.

If you’ve ever loaded a moving van, for instance, you might recall how load and weight distribution can turn a steady vehicle into an unwieldy one. The same goes for commercial vehicles. Most companies have loading protocols in place, but the unfortunate reality is they’re not always observed. Heavy and unbalanced loads may directly endanger other road users like you.

Many other circumstances are rarer but no less impactful. For instance, a vehicle may hold hazardous materials that its operator was not warned about. In that case, the consignor (sender) may be responsible for the extent of damages, if not the collision itself.

Your Next Steps

If you were hit by a commercial vehicle, then you may be entitled to significant compensation for what you’ve suffered.

However, it can be complicated to figure out who’s legally at fault for commercial vehicle collisions. And without dashcam footage, you’re all the more susceptible to others’ allegations.

We’re here to stand in your corner, navigate legal complexities, straighten out conflicting accounts, and win a meaningful claim on your behalf.

In fact, our team has won compensation for dozens of victims of commercial vehicle accidents.

To learn more about your legal rights and possible steps forward, please contact us today.

Remember, building a robust claim takes time, and courts are more delayed than we’ve ever seen, so we urge you to act promptly.

Multi-car Fatality Collisions – What you need to know

The aftermath of multi-car collisions is stressful at best, and often devastating for everyone involved.

Sadly, such collisions are often fatal. That may lead to actions as serious as wrongful death, with damages running well into six or even seven figures.

Moreover, there’s often a web of liability that several drivers, insurers, and attorneys are all attempting to navigate.

If you’ve had the misfortune of playing any role in a large collision, then your first and most important step is to secure expert legal representation.

Multi-Car Accident Causes

Many factors can and do contribute to collisions between several vehicles. Some are as commonplace as speeding or tailgating on a busy highway. Others are as unusual as freak sandstorms or sudden fog.

The most serious and dramatic multi-car accidents tend to be on freeways. High speeds amplify driving errors, adverse weather, and flaws in the road. Too often, this results in dozens of injuries at once—some of them potentially fatal.

Even though freeway pile-ups are the most newsworthy, many multi-car crashes also happen at lower speeds on highways or even city streets. Legally, these can be difficult to disentangle. The complexity of urban driving creates distractions and split-second decisions that may affect liability.

In any case, the more vehicles involved, the more difficult it is to assign legal fault. Just reconstructing the events of large pile-ups can take months—if it’s even possible to reach a conclusion. Weather or driving behavior is usually involved, but most large and fatal crashes follow several interconnected events.

This ambiguity may create grounds for stiff and unanticipated claims against you.

Wrongful Death in Multi-Car Collisions

In Washington, a wrongful death is one “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person.” Car accidents are far from the only cause, of course, although they’re one of the most common.

The statute of limitations is generally three years. Even if no suit has been filed yet, that doesn’t mean you won’t face one in the future. In case worse comes to worst, you’ll be glad to have an experienced and effective legal team fighting on your behalf.

Understanding Fault & Liability

Washington observes pure comparative negligence. That means your liability is proportionate to the role the court believes you played in the collision, be it 1% or 100%.

Consequently, any contribution to a collision can expose you to liability. For instance, if the deceased were awarded $1,000,000 for wrongful death, and you were found just 5% at fault, then your own liability would be $5,000. Even if others played a much larger role, your own liability would remain on the table.

That’s also partly because Washington has discarded the doctrine of last clear chance.

Under that doctrine, you might have been liable for less (or no) money if the claimant had the last opportunity—the “last clear chance”—to avoid the collision, but neglected to do so. That no longer applies. If another motorist failed to avoid the collision, and tragically died as a result, their representatives may still claim wrongful death.

Remember: if dashcam footage isn’t available, then it’s even more difficult—and critical—to determine the roles of other parties and defend yourself against questionable claims.

Protecting Yourself While Moving On

Multi-car collisions are often too complicated for insurers to settle. Even without any fatalities, your situation is likely to end up in court, with attorneys on all sides.

We’re here to help you get the compensation you rightly deserve, without bearing unjust blame for a complex, ambiguous event.

While there’s no turning back the clock, it is within your power to work with an experienced attorney. After representing hundreds of people involved in car accidents like yours, we’ve built a track record of uncovering the real role of all parties.

If you were involved in any complex collision—especially a fatal one—then you owe it to yourself to consult a team with a history of successfully fighting for fairness.