When someone is injured as a result of another person’s or a company’s carelessness or negligence, Washington law affords her the right to pursue compensation for damages from the at-fault party.
There is a lot that goes into filing and proving an injury claim, from drafting documents and collecting evidence, to presenting legal theories and arguing dollar amounts for damages. If you recently sustained an injury in Washington, you can receive free, no-obligation legal consultation with a personal injury attorney at Willis & Toews, PLLC by contacting us today. Our attorney’s have been helping victims in Walla Walla, WA recover damages for more than 20 years, and would be happy to discuss your case with you.
Does my injury fall under personal injury law?
Any type of injury you sustain to your person caused or primarily contributed to by another party may be justifiable grounds to file an injury claim or lawsuit.
Some of the most common types of cases are:
- Auto accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog and animal attacks
- Injuries that occurred on someone else’s property
What elements do I need to prove to pursue a claim?
To pursue a personal injury claim, you need to prove negligence on the part of the liable party. There are four elements you must prove to establish negligence.
- Duty of care: You must prove that the defendant had a duty to act in a reasonable manner toward you, e.g., the defendant had a duty to all other motorists to drive safely.
- Breach of duty of care: The defendant breached this duty, e.g., he ran a red light.
- Cause: His negligence caused your injury, e.g., he hit your car as you were driving through an intersection and you sustained injuries.
- Damages: Your injury caused damages like medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
What damages can I collect in a personal injury claim in Washington?
Damages are not always economic in a personal injury claim. Potential damages you can receive are divided into three types.
- Special damages: Also called economic damages, these are tangible damages you suffered, such as medical expenses, loss of income, and household expenses (e.g., hiring a housekeeper if your injury kept you from maintaining your household)
- General damages: Also called non-economic damages, these are more subjective. Pain and suffering and mental anguish are examples.
The Washington Supreme Court found damage caps on personal injury compensation claims unconstitutional, so you will not face limits on your compensation. But you must present evidence that establishes the value of your case. Washington is also a pure comparative fault state. This means your claim is not cut off even if you are more at fault for your injuries than the other party. For example, if the other party is 49% at fault for your injuries and you are 51% at fault, you would still be entitled to 49% of your damages from the other party.
It is not uncommon for adjusters to argue the value of your damages and attempt to settle a claim for far less than its actual value. Do not sign any settlements or waivers until you run your case by an attorney or you could wind up missing out on substantial recovery.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Washington?
Be sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Washington’s general statute of limitations on personal injury claims is three years [Wash. Rev. Code § 4.16.080]; if you attempt to file outside of the time limit, your case will almost always be dismissed.
Where can I find a reputable personal injury lawyer to help me?
The key to proving a claim and winning a settlement award is to have ample evidence to support your case, and the fortitude and wherewithal to argue your case until resolution. Given the complexities of personal injury laws and navigating the claims process, an attorney familiar with personal injury law in negotiation and ligation is an invaluable asset. A lawyer at Willis & Toews, PLLC will help you gather evidence, speak to field experts to substantiate your case, negotiate for a higher settlement, and fight in court if necessary on your behalf.
We serve residents in all areas of Washington State including Walla Walla, Tri-Cities (Richland, Kennewick, Pasco), Waitsburg, Dayton, and Burbank. Feel free to contact us for a consultation. Call us today at 509-529-0908 to get started.