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July 2022

How Do You Know if You Have a Spinal Injury?

How Do You Know if You Have a Spinal Injury?

By | Personal Injury | No Comments

Spinal cord injuries can have many different causes, and they can occur in a wide range of accidents, including motor vehicle collisions, pedestrian accidents, and slips and falls. The severity of spinal injuries can also vary significantly depending upon the circumstances of the injury and where, precisely, in the spine or spinal cord it occurred. How can you know if you have a spinal injury in order to file a claim against the liable party? Our Seattle personal injury lawyers can explain in more detail.

Head or Neck Injury Should Lead to Immediate Assessment

After a car crash or another serious type of accident, you may realize that you have some injuries but may not know if you have suffered a potentially catastrophic injury such as a spinal injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of a severe spinal injury are not always obvious or immediate. In fact, the numbness or even paralysis that results from many spinal injuries can “come on gradually,” as the Mayo Clinic clarifies.

Given that many head and neck injuries also result in injuries to the spinal cord or the spine, it is critical to have a full medical assessment any time you suspect you may have suffered a head or neck injury. The Mayo Clinic even suggests that a person with signs of a head or neck injury should assume they have a spinal injury until a doctor has said that they do not since “the time between injury and treatment can be critical in determining the extent and severity of complications and the possible extent of expected recovery.”

Common Emergency Signs of a Spinal Injury

While some spinal injuries after accidents do not result in immediate signs or symptoms—but could later lead to paralysis if not properly identified and treated—some spinal injuries produce immediate signs and symptoms that should involve emergency treatment. The Mayo Clinic cites the following as indicators of a spinal cord injury that should be handled as an emergency situation:

  • Extreme pain in the back, neck, or head following an accident;
  • Weakness or paralysis that occurs in any part of the body, even if it is not near the spinal cord or spinal column;
  • Lack of coordination or any difficulty walking or maintaining balance;
  • Any loss of bladder control or bowel control;
  • Difficulty breathing after an accident and injury;
  • Numbness or tingling that occurs in the hands, fingers, feet, or toes;
  • Neck or back that has become “oddly positioned” following an accident.

Contact a Washington State Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

Spinal cord injuries are extremely serious, and they need to be identified by a health care provider as early as possible so that you can receive treatment. When spinal injuries are not identified in a timely manner, they can result in permanent paralysis that can include paraplegia or tetraplegia. If you have any signs of a spinal injury, or if you even have any signs of a head or neck injury after an accident, you need to be assessed for a possible spinal injury. An experienced Washington State spinal cord injury lawyer at our firm can help you with your case and assist you in seeking compensation after a spinal injury in an accident. Contact Khan Injury Law today.


Are Wrongful Death Settlements Public Record in Washington State?

Are Wrongful Death Settlements Public Record in Washington State?

By | Wrongful Death | No Comments

When you are filing a wrongful death claim, you may be wondering if the information about your case and any potential wrongful death settlement will become public record in Washington State. In general, wrongful death settlements are not public record. As such, you should not anticipate that a wrongful death settlement reached prior to a trial or during a trial will be accessible to the public. However, there are exceptions, and it is important to understand how information about wrongful death settlements can become part of the public record, and what steps you may be able to take to avoid having the details of your settlement agreement accessible by the public. Our Washington State wrongful death lawyers can provide you with more information, and we can assist you with your wrongful death claim.

Wrongful Death Settlements Can Include Confidentiality Clauses

Most people who file wrongful death lawsuits do not want information about settlements to be accessible by the public, and most defendants also do not want the details of the settlement to become part of the public record. For these reasons, wrongful death settlement agreements often contain confidentiality clauses that limit access to or discussion of the details of the settlement. A confidentiality agreement is a contract between the parties, which means that either party’s disclosure of the settlement details can result in a breach of contract claim.

Without a confidentiality clause, settlement agreements themselves—as long as an exception does not apply, which we will discuss below—are not required to be part of any public record. Washington State courts have not held that the public has a right to general settlement records, and there is no requirement that general settlement records be made accessible to the public. There is also no central location in which settlement agreements are housed or stored, unlike court cases in Washington.

Settlements Involving a Public Agency May Be Accessed by the Public

Regardless of whether you include an express confidentiality agreement in your wrongful death settlement, information about settlements in wrongful death claims and other civil lawsuits is not generally part of the public record. Even with a request made through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or by other means of access, settlement agreements are generally private. This is also true of documents pertaining to settlement negotiations. However, there is an exception when the settlement involves a public agency. When a public agency is involved, the settlement may be accessible under the Washington State Public Records Act.

Settlements Filed with the Court or Litigated May Be Part of the Public Record

In addition to settlements involving a public agency, any settlement that was filed with a court in Washington State or that ended up in a court case may also be part of the public record and may be accessible through ordinary means of accessing court records, according to Washington case law

Contact a Washington State Wrongful Death Attorney

If you have questions about wrongful death settlements in Washington, or if you need assistance negotiating a wrongful death settlement in your case, one of our Washington State wrongful death attorneys can help. Contact Khan Injury Law PLLC for assistance.