Personal Injury Laws in Washington allow you to hold someone financially responsible for an accident that injures you. To hold a party liable they must have had a duty to protect you from harm and somehow neglected that duty. If you can prove this you have a good chance of earning compensation to help in recovery.
Personal injury law is applied to cases where a victim gets hurt by someone’s carelessness. These cases include interstate accidents in Spokane, accidents at any place of business you might visit, workplace accidents, and many other types of accidents caused by negligence.
Drivers owe a “duty of care” to motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists sharing the road. They must operate their vehicles in a safe manner that prevents accidents. The corporate owners of department stores like Walmart or Target are required to clean up or fix hazards that might hurt a customer. When they fail in this responsibility, a personal injury claim or lawsuit is filed to ask for financial support.
Proving Negligence in a Washington Personal Injury Case
You would think most personal injury cases would be clear cut and victims could expect compensation to pay their hospital bills in just a few weeks.
Unfortunately, this isn’t how most personal injury cases play out. When insurance companies get involved, they will question every fact of an accident case. They do this because they want to find any reason or loophole to reject a victim’s claim. Every dollar they withhold from you is a dollar they count as profit at the end of the year.
Victims are often forced to mount a case to prove the liability of another driver, a store owner, or an employer. There may be a collision report or a store incident report that clearly shows where the fault lies, but an insurance company can try to shift the blame to benefit themselves and their policyholder.
When victims take action to demonstrate their right to earn compensation after an accident, they’ll be hoping to show these three factors were present.
- The party owed the victim a duty of care.
- The party was negligent in that duty of care.
- The party’s negligence caused the victim’s injury.
These factors may be proven, but an insurance adjuster will still be working to discredit the victim’s account of what happened. It’s important to have a legal professional working on your side that has seen all of these “bad faith” practices before and has experience deflecting each one.
Take Advantage of a Free Consultation to Find Out If You Have a Case
A personal injury case can quickly turn into a frustrating experience, especially when you’re also trying to focus on your healing. You may find yourself in the middle of a month-long schedule of physical therapy while watching your medical expenses pile up.
Don’t take your mounting desperation lying down. Take advantage of a free case consultation from a skilled Washington Personal Injury Attorney like the Lawyers at CCD Law of Spokane. Our Lawyers are happy to present every option available to you and help you decide on your next move.
This consultation comes with no obligation to you or your family. If you decide that you require CCD Law’s help, you don’t need any money. We don’t get paid unless we win your case.
How Long Can I Wait to File a Washington Personal Injury Claim?
Time limits also play a major role in how successful your personal injury case will be. Wait until a statute of limitations has expired and you’ll likely have your case thrown out. The negligent party won’t have to contribute a single dollar to the costs of your recovery.
In Washington, the deadline to file your injury claim over most accidents is three years. You have three years from the date you were injured. Your personal injury lawyer won’t let you miss this deadline and ideally will encourage you to file your claim as soon as possible after an injury.
This deadline can fluctuate when you have been injured by a government employee or on city property. To sue government entities you’ll usually face a much shorter statute of limitations. The deadline can be as short as six months.
Medical malpractice cases can also be subject to more restrictive timetables. You might also be required to notify a hospital you intend to sue them before you can actually file a claim.
It’s important to talk over your case with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss out on securing recovery support.
Comparative Negligence in Washington Accidents
Personal injury cases hinge on showing that someone’s negligence caused an accident. However, in some cases, that negligence can be divided between several at-fault parties. The injured victim can even have to absorb some blame.
Washington is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that the fault in an accident can be divided between several people. The blame is broken up into percentages and any one person can be assigned between 1% and 99% of the fault.
For example, in a Spokane car accident, you may be going a little too fast when another motorist pulls out in front of you. You are then injured in a collision. You might receive 30% of the blame for the collision for your speeding. However, the other driver could be assigned 70% of the blame for making an unsafe move.
You could still be awarded money to pay your bills, but your final take-home amount would be reduced by 30% for your part of the blame.
Types of Damages Awarded in Washington Personal Injury Cases
When you are ready to file a personal injury claim with an at-fault party’s insurance company, your Spokane personal injury lawyer will be sending them a list of all of your damages. This list includes every physical, emotional, and financial hardship you’ve faced since the accident.
Everything you’ve suffered should go on this list and an experienced attorney will add other factors to this list you may not have considered.
These are just a few of the things that can earn compensation in a Washington personal injury case:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost earnings
- Any permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Property damage
- Costs of travel
Insurance Tactics In Washington Personal Injury Cases
In a perfect world, at-fault parties would accept blame for their mistakes and their insurance providers would compensate victims immediately so they could focus on rebuilding their lives.
Unfortunately, this may not be your experience when you file a claim for damages against an insurance company.
These insurance adjusters will represent an at-fault driver, their policyholder. They may be on the payroll for a corporation for a chain of stores where you took a fall. They may represent a dog owner’s home insurance policy after you are the victim of a dog bite.
They will all be working to get you to accept less than what’s fair for your claim or convince you to drop your claim altogether.
Here are a few of the tricks you may see when taking on an insurance company without a personal injury lawyer watching over your case:
- Making You Wait: Insurance companies can stall on responding to your accident claim. They want you to become desperate as your lost paychecks build up and your hospital bills go unpaid. Once you are experiencing financial difficulties they try their next tactic…
- Lowball Offer: An insurance adjuster can offer you far less than what your case is worth and what you’ll be spending on medical care. You may be desperate enough to accept it anyway, since you may not know how much more you could get.
- Avoiding Blame: They’ll work to take the blame off their policyholder and transfer it to you. Insurance investigators can look into your medical history to see if you’ve had similar accidents in the past. They’d like to show that your current injury is from a previous accident. They can also pull up your driving records in a shameless attempt to show you’re a reckless driver.
- Using Your Statements Against You: Insurance adjusters will be calling you in the weeks after an accident. They’ll be seeking a recorded statement. Don’t give them this statement. They hope you’ll say something they can twist to use against you later. This also applies to the things you say on the scene of an accident. Avoid talking about who was at fault in the accident. Also don’t downplay your potential injuries by saying you’re “okay” and not hurt.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Washington Victims
If an accident has injured you or a loved one and someone’s negligence was to blame, talk over your case with a skilled Washington personal injury attorney. You should be allowed to focus on recovery while an insurance company worries about how to pay your bills. A Spokane personal injury lawyer will fight for the maximum compensation available and block all tactics by an insurance provider meant to rob you of support.
Contact CCD Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are proud of our long history of making sure victims have what they need to get back on their feet again. Allow our legal professionals to go over your rights and the benefits available to you before you talk to any insurance company.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of evidence do I need to win my Washington personal injury case?
Gather evidence on the scene of your accident. Take photos of the damage and the hazard that caused your injury. Get contact information from witnesses and save all medical invoices. The reports police officers and store managers fill out can also serve as strong evidence.
Is a wrongful death a personal injury case?
Yes. When a loved one has been taken in a tragic accident, the family left behind can file a wrongful death claim. This claim will earn money to pay for burial and any ambulance fees. It can also help replace the income a deceased victim can no longer provide the family.
Will my Washington personal injury case be resolved in court?
Most likely, no. The vast majority of cases are settled out of court through insurance settlements. It’s only when an insurance company refuses to offer what’s fair to a victim that a lawsuit and trial may be necessary.
Spokane Valley Accident Attorneys Helping You Obtain Justice
Based in Spokane, our law firm represents personal injury victims throughout the surrounding Washington and Idaho communities. Together, our lawyers offer more than 60 years of proven legal experience as well as comprehensive knowledge and application of the changing state and federal laws surrounding auto accidents, medical malpractice and product liability cases.
Having achieved millions of dollars in recoveries for our clients since 1981, our skilled attorneys are fully equipped to aggressively pursue full and fair compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, property damages and other losses you have suffered.
Spokane personal injury attorneys Robert Crary and James Domanico have dedicated their legal careers to helping men and women suffering from minor and catastrophic injuries resulting from:
- ATV accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Injuries
- Car accidents
- Construction accidents
- Day Care Injuries
- Dog Bites
- Medical malpractice
- On-the-Job Injuries
- Pedestrian accidents
- Product liability
- Premises liability
- Slip and Fall
- Traumatic Injury
- Wrongful Death
Injured in Idaho? Please refer to our Idaho personal injury page.
How Long Does It Take To Settle A Spokane Accident Personal Injury Case?
The time you wait to receive compensation for your injury largely depends on the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. When fault isn’t disputed in the car accident and your injuries have healed, insurance companies can make a settlement offer in just a few months after you file your claim.
The timeline is often extended by several factors:
Insurance adjusters may choose to point the finger at you, hoping you’ll accept all or some of the blame in a collision. They do this even when the fault is clearly on their policyholder in an attempt to save their company money. Your personal injury attorney will fight them on every detail to make sure you aren’t unfairly blamed, but this will take extra time.
Accidents may involve more than two drivers and more than one insurance company. An accident could involve a rideshare or trucking company and leave you dealing with insurance agents and lawyers for corporations and other businesses and that can slow down settlement negotiations.
High Dollar Value Settlements
If your injury is severe or leads to a permanent disability your compensation may have to support you for years to come or even over a lifetime. Research will have to be done to estimate the costs you’ll face and your life expectancy before any settlement figures can be agreed upon. Insurance companies will also fight harder and longer to avoid having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in a compensation package.
Refusal to Settle
An insurance company may refuse to accept blame for what happened and reject your claim or just offer you a “lowball” settlement that doesn’t cover all of your needs. Your personal injury attorney will have prepared a strong case for you and will have you ready to take the insurance company to court if necessary. The threat of a trial is usually enough to get insurance adjusters to take your injuries seriously. When a trial is necessary or extended negotiations are in order, a case could take over a year to reach a resolution.
Personal Injury FAQ
How Does My Personal Injury Lawyer Get Paid?
The good news is you can afford legal representation on your accident case no matter what your finances look like. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means they don’t get paid unless they win your case. What’s more, they get paid out of your award of compensation and the money doesn’t come out of your own pocket.
Personal injury attorneys can risk a lot when they take on your case because they handle all court fees, investigative costs, and they don’t get paid for the many hours they spend preparing your claim. If your claim isn’t successful, they don’t usually get reimbursed for these costs. It can be a big loss for the attorney and his or her law firm.
For this reason, attorneys usually earn around a third of any award they secure on your behalf. This percentage can be higher for cases that are more complex or cases that take an extremely long time to resolve.
The attorney’s fee and the expenses you’ll be responsible for after a case has come to a close should all be laid out for you before you sign on to have your attorney represent your case. If you don’t understand a section of the agreement always ask to have it explained to you before you sign.