Personal injury is the area of civil law that attempts to hold offenders accountable in monetary terms for harm that results from their careless, reckless or even deliberate acts. Whereas criminal law attempts to punish the wrongdoer, the goal of personal injury law is to compensate the victim. Everything—from an increasing population to the current economic environment—contributes to a rise in personal injury cases in Washington and throughout the country:
As traffic on the road increases, congestion and other factors contribute to an increase in motor vehicle accidents. At the same time, the reduced workforce in the nation contributes to increased cases of many types of injury, caused by everything from medical malpractice to the manufacture of unsafe consumer products.
Washington personal injury law is complex and confusing. Even a minimal understanding of the law illustrates the importance of retaining an experienced personal injury attorney if you are injured in an accident caused by someone else's negligence.
In Washington, each individual whose legal negligence contributed to an injury is held accountable for paying damages to injury victims. When multiple parties are responsible—for example, when a more alert truck driver could have avoided an accident that was actually caused by faulty truck maintenance—each negligent party is proportionally responsible for damages to victims. However, state comparative negligence law can proportionally reduce recovery when negligence of the victimcontributed to the accident.
To further complicate these and other issues, insurance companies have powerful legal representation to reduce or deny valid claims, leaving victims to pay out-of-pocket for their injuries. It takes an experienced attorney to fully prove liability under the complex law in Washington.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is similar to filing an insurance claim, except the defendant is not contractually obligated to indemnify you. Instead, you must prove that the circumstances of your injury create an obligation under the law. And instead of having an insurance adjuster decide what is fair under your policy, a neutral Judge, Arbitrator or jury decides on a fair amount under the law.
The types of damages an injured party may claim include:
Loss of future income
Future medical expenses
Cost of a home remodel to accommodate a disability
Physical pain and emotional suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life due to disability, disfigurement or scarring
While some damages are easily calculated, other losses are speculative or intangible. An experienced attorney, in consultation with qualified experts, can project future medical expenses and income loss or assess how much the court might think is reasonable for a victim’s pain and suffering.
After you file your personal injury claim, the parties enter a phase called discovery that allows them to seek information from the opposing side to help prove their cases. For instance, you might demand cell phone records to prove that the cause of your traffic accident was distracted driving. Following a commercial truck accident, you might subpoena company records to find out if the company violated any state or federal trucking regulations. Also at this time, your attorney deposes witnesses to see what they know and to get their testimony on record before their memory of the incident fades. Throughout the discovery process, there is no substitute for an attorney’s experience in getting to the heart of your case and assembling the evidence you need to prevail.
Most personal injury cases settle out of court, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to retain an attorney with minimal trial experience. An experienced trial attorney with a reputation for success can often leverage a settlement by threatening to litigate. An attorney who doesn’t go to court much may not even have the resources to finance a trial and may not be able to get you what your case is truly worth. We are determined to seek the maximum value of your claim, and we back up that commitment by advancing all costs of litigation.