I am sorry this happened to you. I recommend you continue actively looking for an attorney who can assist you with this, usually with a free consultation. Bankruptcy can affect your claim, but not always, so keep looking until you find an attorney who can give you straight answers. If the driver was on the job, it is likely that Postal Express has liability for the collision, and it would surprise me if Postal Express is uninsured. I do not know why you are worried to speak with your insurance company. They may be able to help you locate the Postal Express insurance information. I do not know when the accident happened, but Washington state has a 3-year statute of limitations in personal injury cases of this sort. That means injured people must settle their claims against all at-fault parties or file suit within 3 years from the date of the accident, or else be barred from bringing their claims in the future. For that reason, I recommend you see an attorney as soon as possible. Best of luck.
DISCLAIMER: This information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.
You should get answers to your specific questions from a local atty. immediately. I would recommend you speak to Glenn Kadish in Everett. 425-374-0051 He is on Avvo as well.
Generally, when a person is in the scope and course of their employment when they cause an accident, the employer is also responsible.
Your insurance may have benefits since the other driver apparently is uninsured.
You need to talk to your BK atty about the claim. If you settle it before you file, the money you get will be assets that you could lose unless you have exemptions under the BK law. If you dont settle first, you need to disclose the claim to the BK court. The trustee would ahve to approve your atty pursuing the claim, as it is an asset of the estate. Failure to disclose it could result in your claim being dismissed in state court. There are exemptions available that could "protect" your ultimate recovery, depending upon how much you get and what exemptions are available.
Be very careful rushing into a settlement, as once you sign a release of claim, any future problems you have will be your own headaches to deal with. You cant scome back later to ask for more.
I agree with what's been said and see no reason not to speak with your insurance company. This is especially the case if you have PIP insurance on your policy. This will enable you to get the medical treatment you need until you get the liability issues figured out with the other parties.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. DISCLAIMER: This information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Scott W. Edwards Attorney at Law Schauermann Thayer Jacobs & Staples 1700 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. Vancouver, WA 98661 PHONE: (360) 695-4244 FAX: (360) 696-0583 E-MAIL: ScottE@stjs.com
If the driver who hit you was in the "course and scope" of employment (i.e. working) at the time of the accident, then his or her employer may be held vicariously liable for the driver's actions, allowing you to effectively hold Postal Express responsible for any damages that you and your friend incur (monetary or otherwise). Most companies carry what is referred to as a commercial policy, and these policies generally provide far greater liability coverage than most drivers carry in the State of Washington, so there may still be adequate insurance to cover you and your friend---even if the driver who hit you was not personally insured.
Additionally, if you are a Washington resident and carry auto insurance in this state, you likely have coverage on your policy referred to as "PIP" (Personal Injury Protection), which can be used to help pay for things like medical bills, lost wages, and other essential services. There is no deductible for using this coverage and your insurance company cannot raise your premiums or cancel your insurance for doing so (provided the accident wasn't your fault). PIP coverage also covers any passengers who are in the vehicle at the time of the accident, so these funds are available to your friend as well.
If you have additional questions, I would encourage you to speak with an attorney who is experienced in these matters. Most offer free consultations and will be happy to speak with you. Good luck!
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If the driver was working at the time, then he was within the scope of employment and I cannot imagine that Postal Express would have their vehicles uninsured. That said, my experience with dealing with delivery companies is that they can be very aggressive in the three "Ds" Delay, deny, defend. I strongly recommend that you hire a personal injury attorney to assist you.
Do you have PIP on your own policy? Then contact your insurance company. Your health insurance will refuse to pay for treatment until the PIP is exhausted. A personal injury attorney can assist you with that as well.
My own experience with clients in bankruptcy is the personal injury claim becomes part of the bankruptcy estate, but my clients have been able to keep some of the proceeds. If you do not include the claim in the list of assets, then you will be barred from getting anything at all. You must include the claim. Usually, the bankruptcy trustee will agree to appoint your attorney to continue on prosecuting your claim. However, the bankruptcy can affect your claim, and you will need to give all the details to your attorney so that he or she can assess the impact on your claim.
I always counsel against settling too soon. Your condition needs to be fixed and stable according to your physician. If you settle too soon, you can be short-changing yourself significantly which of course makes insurance companies very happy which is why they are always pushing early settlements. You have three years from the date of the collision to settle or file a suit. Nonetheless, I wish you a rapid and complete recovery.
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