Personal Injury Claims – FAQ

Being injured due to the actions of someone else is an unexpected event that few people have much experience with. In the days and weeks that follow it’s natural to have questions about what to do and what to expect. Below are answers to some of the more frequent questions people have after being in a personal injury accident.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else, it is important to see a doctor and have your injuries evaluated as soon as possible. Contact your insurance company if appropriate. You also want to write out a detailed account of what happened and how your injuries occurred. Get pictures if you can and the names of any witnesses. Don’t volunteer more information than you are required to give.

No. A personal injury is a civil matter and is separate from criminal proceedings. The penalties for committing a personal injury are usually only financial. However, it is possible that the actions resulting in a personal injury can also result in criminal charges.

Not so fast. Shortly after your accident you may be contacted by the insurance company of the person who caused your injuries. They may agree to provide some benefits to you while they investigate your claim. They may also begin to pressure you to settle your claim before you understand the full extent of your injuries and how they are going to impact your life. Don’t rush into anything. It is always best to get advice from someone on your side before you make any final decisions.

Maybe. Depending on how the accident occurred, your personal insurance may provide some immediate benefits. If you were doing something work-related you may be entitled to some benefits fairly quickly through your employer. The insurance company covering the party responsible for your injuries may also be willing to provide some money for certain expenses.

It depends. If you are able to reach an agreement with an insurance company without court intervention then you do not need legal counsel. However, if you cannot reach a settlement with the insurance company then you need a lawyer to bring a lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries. The more severe your injuries, the more you will benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney.

No upfront fees. Most attorneys who handle personal injury cases do not collect any legal fees until they have received compensation for their clients. Free initial consultations are also relatively standard.

Yes. The general rule in Washington is that claims for personal injuries – including wrongful death – must be made within 3 years of the date of injury or death. There are exceptions for instances where an injury is not discovered until many years after the injury occurs. If an injury is discovered more than 3 years after it occurs, a person has 1 year from the date of discovery to make a claim.

Typical compensation for a personal injury claim includes amounts for property damage, medical expenses, lost income and costs to replace services you usually perform. You may also be able to recover additional amounts for your pain & suffering, mental distress and how your quality of life has been affected. In extreme cases, you may receive an extra amount to punish the wrongdoer.

It depends. Some claims may settle in months and others may take years before a final resolution is reached. The more severe the injuries, the more likely it will take longer to determine the full extent of damage and the impact on the life of the person injured.

Yes. In Washington, as long as the injured party is not 100% at fault they may recover from any other party who had some fault for causing the accident. An injured person who is 50% responsible for causing their own injuries can still be compensated for 50% of their damages.

If you were working and suffered an injury that was not caused by your employer or a co-worker, you may have a third-party personal injury claim in addition to any workers’ compensation benefits that you may receive from your employer. You need to talk with a personal injury attorney about bringing your claim because the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has a secondary right to bring a claim if you are receiving workers’ compensation.

Start with searching for personal injury attorneys in the geographic area where you live. Pick several names and go to their websites. See if they have information about your type of accident or injury. How much experience do they have? Are there any client testimonials or reviews? Do they let you know how they get paid? Take advantage of a free consultation and attend the meeting with someone whose opinion you trust. The more information you have, the better the decision you will be able to make.

At Law Offices of Joseph Rome we appreciate that you want to work with an experienced attorney who understands your situation and will do the best job for you. If you have been injured and have questions about your personal injury claim contact attorney Joseph Rome in Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.