Personal Injury Claims In Washington State
If you have suffered injuries in Washington and someone else had some responsibility for causing the circumstances that resulted in your damage, you may have a personal injury claim.
People in Washington have the right to expect that others will not cause or contribute to circumstances that will result in harm to them. When people are injured because others act without reasonable care for their safety, the law allows those who are injured to recover from the responsible parties.
At the Law Offices of Joseph Rome, we understand how disruptive and life-changing personal injuries are. Someone’s inattentive moment or careless choice can, unfortunately, result in completely altering the life of another. Kirkland personal injury attorney Joseph Rome serves clients with compassion and integrity while aggressively pursuing the maximum available recovery for their injuries.
What Injuries Give Rise to Personal Injury Claims?
Injuries that may give rise to personal injury claims can be either physical or mental. Many times personal injuries will be both physical and mental. Most personal injury claims are the result of accidents that occur because someone did not act with the appropriate care to prevent the risk of injury.
Personal injury claims frequently result from the following types of accidents.
The severity of the injuries and their impact on the injured person will determine the scope of the claim and what can be recovered.
Common Kinds of Personal Injuries
Personal injury claims can be made by the injured person who survives or the representative of a person who does not survive the injury. The kinds of injuries that are most often the basis for personal injury claims include:
- traumatic brain injuries
- severe bone fractures
- neck and back injuries
- spinal cord injuries
- loss of a limb
- scarring or disfigurement
- injuries resulting in wrongful death
Who is Responsible for Your Personal Injury?
With some types of personal injuries, it is clear who is responsible. When a dog bites a person in a public place or someone who is lawfully on the property of the dog owner, Washington law says the owner of the dog is always responsible.
With other types of injuries determining who is responsible will depend on how the circumstances resulting in the injury are interpreted. A doctor who prescribes a particular treatment based on a patient’s symptoms may not be responsible when the patient’s condition worsens if the doctor’s actions have the general acceptance of the medical community.
Sometimes the person injured has contributed in some way to their own injuries. Washington is what is known as a ‘pure’ contributory fault state. A claimant is only barred from recovery if they are 100% at fault. A person who is 75% responsible for causing their own injuries can still recover for 25% of the damage they sustained.
The opinions of industry experts are often necessary to prove who is responsible for personal injuries and to what extent. These determinations are critical to the success of a personal injury claim.
What You Can Recover for a Personal Injury
There are two types of compensation that can be recovered in a personal injury claim. You can recover the expenses you have incurred including amounts you will lose in the future and you can recover an amount for how your quality of life has been diminished from your injuries.
- medical expenses
- lost wages/earnings
- lost use of property
- lost business opportunities
- costs to repair or replace property or services
- pain & suffering
- mental anguish
- disability or disfigurement
- interference with family relations
- injury to reputation
Washington puts a limit on the amount of non-economic damages available to a claimant. The maximum amount of non-economic damages is determined by a formula based on the state’s average annual wage, the life expectancy of the claimant and a multiplier.
How to Make a Claim for Personal Injury
Depending on what kind of accident caused your injuries, you may initially be dealing with an insurance company for a personal injury claim. Insurance companies typically try to settle claims quickly while paying out as little as possible. The more serious your injuries are, the more you will benefit from the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Having an attorney on your side early in your negotiations with an insurance company will ensure that you are ready to take your claim to the next level and file a lawsuit if you are not able to reach an acceptable settlement out of court.
Personal injury lawsuits in Washington must generally be filed within 3 years of the date the injuries occurred. Once a court is involved the lawsuit proceeds at a scheduled pace – though the matter can still be settled before going to trial if an agreement can be reached.
There is no downside to getting help with your claim early in the process. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations where you can learn valuable information that you can use for your benefit if you choose to handle your claim. During the consultation, you also have the opportunity to evaluate the attorney to make sure they are a good fit and you are comfortable working with them.
When you hire a personal injury attorney you won’t have to pay anything upfront. They work on a contingency fee basis which means you don’t have to pay them until you get paid.
The professionally recognized personal injury lawyer at Law Offices of Joseph Rome has represented clients who have been seriously injured by others in Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond for more than 15 years. We offer a free consultation so we can get to know you, find out about your injuries and recommend your best course of action. When you hire us, you don’t pay until we win for you.