BUCKLEY, WASHINGTON INJURY LAWYER
When you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the implications for your life can be devastating. You’ll incur astronomical medical bills, which can be particularly troubling if you’re unable to work. Plus, your pain and suffering can be so severe that it’s difficult to put into words. Even though you may know you have rights under Washington State law, you may not know where to begin with enforcing them. If you do take action, you could become frustrated with the hurdles and legal pitfalls.
At Khan Injury Law, PLLC, we’re prepared to take on the challenges that stand in the way of you recovering full compensation for your losses. We have decades of combined experience representing victims of personal injury accidents in Pierce County, so you can rest assured your claim is in good hands. Please contact our firm to set up a free appointment with a Buckley, Washington injury lawyer, and read on for some important information about your claim.
Legal Basis for Personal Injury Claims
While there are many factors that contribute to accidents, they usually occur because someone was careless. In legal terms, the concept is negligence and there are certain facts you need to prove to recover compensation. The essential elements in a negligence case are:
- Duty: You need to show that a person or entity had an obligation to exercise reasonable care when acting, so as to not create a risk of harm to others;
- Breach: You must present evidence that the responsible party breached this legal duty;
- Causation: There must be some link between the breach of duty and the accident that caused your injuries; and,
- Damages: You need to establish the losses you suffered as a result of being hurt by the responsible party’s acts or omission.
In many cases, you’ll first seek compensation by filing an injury claim with an insurance company. You may encounter difficulties with getting a fair amount of monetary damages, since insurers are businesses first and foremost. If the company refuses to settle, you may need to file a lawsuit.
Examples of Negligence in Washington Personal Injury Cases
To put the essential elements of a personal injury case into perspective, it may help to check out some examples of negligence. Our firm can help with your claim if you suffered injuries due to:
- Car accidents, when another motorist is drunk driving, speeding, or fails to yield;
- Truck collisions, especially when the size of the vehicle can lead to serious injuries;
- Motorcycle crashes, which often lead to catastrophic harm;
- Pedestrian or bicycle accidents, many of which are the result of a motorist’s carelessness;
- Slip and falls, and other incidents that occur because a property owner failed to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition;
- Dog bites and animal attacks that occur due to owner misconduct; and,
- Many other injury-causing accidents.
One form of negligence that’s gotten attention recently is distracted driving and the role inattentiveness plays in auto accidents. Texting, talking on the phone, surfing the internet, taking photos, and other forms of cell phone use are extremely dangerous. Washington law prohibits use of electronic devices, but many motorists disregard the laws. Plus, there are other types of distracted driving that pose a threat, including eating, drinking, grooming, interacting with a GPS, and similar activities.
Compensation for Your Losses as an Accident Victim
Your losses may be severe if you were hurt under any of the above scenarios, but you can recover monetary damages to help make you whole after an accident. Compensation may be available for your:
- Economic Damages: When you sustain losses are attached to a dollar value, they’re considered economic in nature. You may be able to obtain damages for your medical costs, lost wages, pain prescriptions, and out-of-pocket expenses related to your treatment.
- Non-Economic Damages: Some losses are harder to quantify because you don’t have a receipt or invoice. Still, you suffer because of your injuries. Pain, suffering, emotional anguish, scarring, and related losses fall into this category.
In addition, punitive damages may be available in some cases where the responsible party’s conduct was so outrageous that it justifies punishment. It’s rare when this form of damages applies, since you need to show extremely reckless or intentional conduct. However, when available, you can recover additional amounts beyond compensatory damages.
Limitations on Your Personal Injury Claim
Even if you’re successful in proving all essential elements of a negligence claim, Washington State law may impose restrictions. Two of the key legal issues to keep in mind are:
- There is a statute of limitations in Washington State, which allows you three years to file a lawsuit in civil court to enforce your rights. The time period starts on the date of your injury-causing accident. If you don’t initiate litigation before the statute of limitations expires, you can never recover monetary damages for your losses.
- Under Washington State’s statute on contributory negligence, your compensation amount may be reduced if your own conduct was a factor in the accident which caused your injuries. The law works on a percentage basis, so your monetary damages decrease according to the proportion of fault attributable to you. For instance:
- You’ll recover less in a pedestrian accident if you were jaywalking;
- Your monetary damages may be reduced where you ignored a warning sign in a shop, and fell because of your own negligence; and,
- You may not recover full compensation if you were speeding, even if a drunk driver ran a red light to cause a motor vehicle crash.
Set Up a Free Consultation with a Buckley, Washington Injury Attorney
If you were hurt in any type of accident and want to know more about your rights, please contact Khan Injury Law, PLLC. You can call our office at 206.472.1255 to schedule your no-cost consultation with a member of our team. Once we review your circumstances, we can explain your legal remedies and develop a strategy to recover the highest monetary damages allowed by Washington State law.
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