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What are personal injuries?

Personal injuries are all types of injuries caused to an individual including physical, emotional, and cognitive injuries. The severity of the injury can range from minor soft-tissue injuries such as bumps and bruises to long-lasting whiplash, catastrophic spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or possible death.  

Motor vehicle collisions, including motorcycle and trucking accidents, are the most common and well-known cause of personal injuries. However, there are many other ways a person may sustain personal injuries, including: 

  • Slipping and falling on wet or icy surfaces; 
  • Tripping over hidden obstacles on a walkway;  
  • Being hit by a falling object; 
  • Being hit while riding a bicycle or walking on a street or crosswalk; 
  • Being attacked or bitten by another's dog or other animal; or
  • Being injured while a passenger on a plane, bus, train, or in a Uber/Lyft rideshare. 

In Washington, you are entitled to compensation for injuries you received as a result of another's negligence. However, what constitutes negligence can be complicated and is fact-specific.  It is important that the incident and your injuries are well documented to help prevent disputes over liability down the road. Accident locations change and witness memories will fade over time. If you have been injured, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately to document and preserve  evidence that may make the difference between obtaining full, partial or even no compensation for your injuries and other damages. 

What is negligence?

An injured party must prove that another person or entity was negligent and that their injuries were caused by that negligence to obtain compensation for personal injuries. To prove negligence, it must be established that: 

  1. The defendant owed a duty to the victim; 
  2. The defendant breached the duty owed to the victim; 
  3. The defendant's actions caused the victim's injuries; and 
  4. The victim suffered damages as a result of the defendant's actions. 

For example, all motorists have a duty requiring them to safely operate their vehicle at all times. If a motorist fails to use reasonable care in the operation of their vehicle, then they have breached this duty. When a person is injured as a result of that breach of duty, then it can be established that they caused the victim's injuries. When the victim has damages, either economic damages such as medical bills, or non-economic, such as pain & suffering, then the wrongdoer can be found negligent and required to compensate the victim for the damages he or she sustained. 

Although injury claims based on negligence are the most common type of personal injury claims, other types of personal injury claims include claims based on intentional acts (such as assault and/or battery) and strict liability (such as some product defect claims). 

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4.8 Million Car Crash Injuries Annually

Car crash injuries requiring medical treatment totaled 4.8 million in 2020 according to a study conducted by the National Safety Council. 

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$473.2 Billion in Costs from Car Crash Injuries

Costs included wage and productivity losses, medical treatment expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle property damage, and employer costs. 

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42,338 Deaths in United States From Car Crashes

After three consecutive years of decreases, deaths increased by 8.3% with 42,338 people dying in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 compared to 39,107 deaths in 2019.

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Client Duties in a Personal Injury Case

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." -Henry Ford

Once you hire our personal injury lawyer, we will work quickly to move your claim toward resolution. In order to accomplish this, it is important that you MAINTAIN OPEN COMMUNICATION with your personal injury lawyer. Occasionally your assistance will be required to obtain necessary documentation to maximize your recovery. There are a few things you can do to help facilitate this process: 

  • Follow all treatment recommendations by your doctors and notify us anytime you are referred to or treat with a new medical provider; 
  • Keep a journal (at the request of your lawyer) of all time missed from work due to your injuries and any affects your injuries have on your daily life; 
  • Provide or assist our office in obtaining documentation that will support your case, such as photos/videos of your injuries or damages, copies of medical bills/records, receipts for out of pocket expenses, etc; and
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY. While resolving your case is a priority, nothing takes priority over your health, comfort, and recovery.
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What is The Statute of Limitations?

There is a time limit to bring legal action for personal injury claims in Washington State. In most cases, the personal injury statute of limitations in Washington is three years from the date of the injury. However, the statute of limitations may differ depending on the specific facts and type of the case.

If an injured victim fails to either settle their case or file a lawsuit against the correct defendant before the statute of limitations lapses, they will be barred from receiving compensation for their injuries. This is why it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss any important deadlines that will affect your case or prevent you from recovering.

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What Damages Are Available?

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Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate the injured victim for actual monetary loss. Examples include:

  • Medical Expenses (including cost of medical treatment and/or equipment)
  • Prescriptions
  • Lost Wages/Lost Opportunity
  • Domestic Service Expenses
  • Funeral & Burial Expenses
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Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are subjective, non-monetary losses. Examples include:

  • Pain & Suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional Distress
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  • Loss of Society & Companionship
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Pre-Death Terror & Fright
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Other Damages

Other types of damages injured victims may be entitled to include:

  • Vehicle Damage Repairs/Total Loss Value
  • Diminished Value
  • Loss of Use of Property
  • Towing
  • Rental Car
  • Other Damaged Property