The immediate aftermath of a personal injury accident can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. During a time when you should focus on healing, you may be faced with mounting medical bills, lost income, and emotional distress.
Fortunately, when another’s negligent or careless actions cause you harm, you have a legal right to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim. But proving negligence caused your injuries isn’t always easy. That is when the right Central Washington personal injury lawyer can make all the difference.
Your attorney can review your case to determine fault, calculate damages, and negotiate for the maximum settlement possible. If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, your attorney should be willing and able to fight for your rights — and maximum compensation — in court.
At the Law Office of Calbom & Schwab, we have helped countless injury victims recover damages and get the justice they deserve following a personal injury accident. We work on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid a dime unless you do. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle
Our Washington State legal team handles all types of personal injury cases, including:
- Slip and fall accidents.
- Motor vehicle collisions.
- Motorcycle crashes.
- Commercial truck accidents.
- Boating accidents.
- Medical malpractice.
- Spinal injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Work injuries.
- Construction injuries.
- Defective or dangerous products.
- Premises liability.
- Nursing home negligence.
- Farm-related injuries.
- Dog bites.
- Wrongful death.
The amount of compensation you can obtain will depend largely on the type and severity of your accident. If you’ve been injured by the negligence of another, read on for more information about your rights under Washington State law and how a personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
What Constitutes a Personal Injury Case in Washington State?
While the types of accidents mentioned above are common in personal injury cases, not every accident qualifies for compensation. Certain elements must be present to recover damages. Whether you were injured in a car crash, slip and fall accident, or due to medical negligence, a personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid claim.
All successful personal injury claims have three things in common:
- An injury related to that negligence.
- Actual damages resulting from that negligence.
Even when another’s negligence is responsible for your injuries, proving negligence played a role can be challenging. That is one of the many reasons it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to substantiate your claim and position you for the best possible outcome.
In Washington State, you can even recover compensation for an injury if you were partially at fault. This is known as contributory fault. Let’s say that Jane was seriously injured in a car crash because Mary was speeding and ran a red light. In the police report, the officer states that Jane was texting at the time of the accident, making her partially at fault. Despite her contribution to the accident, Jane can still bring a lawsuit against Mary. But any compensation awarded to Jane will be reduced based on her contribution to the accident.
According to Washington law, “any contributory fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as compensatory damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.”
If the court decides that Jane’s texting contributed to the accident at a rate of 20 percent, any compensation awarded to her will be reduced by that amount. Therefore, if Jane is awarded $100,000 in compensation, she will receive $80,000 (her total award reduced by 20 percent).
When contributory fault is at play, consulting a highly skilled and experienced motor vehicle accident attorney is critical. Contact a Central Washington contributory fault attorney today.
What Is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Washington State?
Each state imposes a statute of limitations on personal injury claims and other legal disputes. This is a specified time period within which the plaintiff must file a claim against the at-fault party. Washington State’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims is three years. The clock normally starts ticking on the date of the event, but it may be postponed under certain circumstances.
For example, if Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident on May 1, 2020, but his injury is not discovered until May 23, the three-year statute of limitations will begin on May 23. The date may also be postponed if the victim is incapacitated for some time after the injury event.
It is critically important, however, to begin building a personal injury case as soon as possible. Waiting until a year or two has passed can severely harm your claim. Memories fade with time, and you may forget important details the longer you wait.
Gathering crucial evidence also becomes increasingly difficult over time. The court is also likely to question the severity of your injuries and any associated damages if you wait years, or even months, to initiate a claim. The sooner you consult with a personal injury lawyer, the better positioned you will be to obtain the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.
Types of Damages in a Washington State Personal Injury Case
The type and amount of damages you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit will vary widely based on the unique circumstances of your case. Personal injury damages typically fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Some states also allow punitive damages to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior. Generally, however, Washington is not one of those states.
Although the damages you can recover are largely tied to the type and severity of your injuries, certain damages are common in personal injury cases.
Common economic damages include:
- Medical expenses, current and future.
- Lost wages, current and future.
- Property damage bills.
- Alternative transportation costs.
- Travel expenses.
- Burial costs.
- Medical expenses of the deceased (in wrongful death cases).
Common non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of consortium.
- Disability or disfigurement.
Although non-economic damages — such as pain and suffering — are harder to calculate, they often account for the most substantial portion of the damage award. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you calculate and obtain damages for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
What to Do After a Personal Injury Accident
You can take certain steps following a personal injury accident to protect your health and safety and improve your chances of obtaining compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Many of these steps will depend on the type and severity of your accident, but some are common to most injury accidents.
If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident:
- Call 911. In addition to ensuring everyone’s safety, calling 911 will result in an official police report, which can be very helpful in a lawsuit.
- Do not speak with anyone at the scene of the accident other than to exchange contact and insurance information. Even saying something as innocent as “I’m sorry” or “the sun was in my eyes” can be used against you in a lawsuit.
If you’ve been injured in any accident:
- Take pictures of visible injuries and contributing factors. For example, if you slipped and fell in a grocery store aisle, take a picture of the spilled liquid on the floor.
- Ask for the name and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
- Seek immediate medical attention, even if injuries are not immediately apparent. Some serious injuries, such as internal bleeding, may take days or weeks to produce symptoms.
- Call a Central Washington personal injury lawyer immediately.
How a Central Washington Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you’ve been injured, the last thing you should do is sift through paperwork and deal with insurance companies. By working with an experienced attorney, you can focus on healing while your attorney positions you for the best possible outcome.
Our skilled injury team at the Law Office of Calbom & Schwab will fight aggressively for your rights, dignity, and full compensation. Our goal is to help you promptly obtain the compensation you deserve so you can get on with your life. To do this effectively, our Central Washington injury lawyers will:
- Explain your rights and the statute of limitations (and other timelines), calculate damages, and walk you through the entire process.
- Visit the accident scene, obtain a copy of the accident report, thoroughly investigate the incident, and gather evidence to build your case.
- Obtain medical records, police reports, professional estimates of future medical bills and loss of income, pay stubs, property damage invoices, photos of injuries and factors that contributed to your accident, and expert testimony when necessary.
- Negotiate with the insurance company for the maximum compensation available. Our attorneys know when a settlement offer is low, and we understand how the insurance companies think. We are prepared to fight for you in court if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached.
- Provide objective opinions so you can make decisions that are not impacted by stress, anger, or fear.
One of the biggest challenges following a personal injury accident is knowing what to do and what not to do to protect your well-being and the well-being of your family. Having a lawyer by your side is the number one solution to this problem.
Let an experienced attorney advise you on do’s and don’ts, deal with the police and insurance companies, build a strong case, negotiate for maximum compensation, and ensure you receive proper medical treatment for your injuries.
Don’t Speak to the Insurance Company Without Legal Representation
Remember, the insurance company is not your friend. They will use unscrupulous tactics and take advantage of you at your most vulnerable to pay out as little as possible. This is one of the many reasons it is so important to have legal representation following an injury accident.
The insurance companies know you need a settlement check as quickly as possible. When medical bills are piling up, and paychecks have stopped coming in, injury victims are likely to take the insurance company’s first offer out of desperation. But by doing so, they often miss out on thousands of dollars. Some personal injury awards are even in the millions.
At the Law Office of Calbom & Schwab, we know how insurance companies think, and we are here to ensure you get every penny you deserve. Don’t make the mistake of coming to the table without a lawyer or working with a lawyer without the experience and knowledge to fight for — and protect — your legal rights. Contact a Central Washington personal injury attorney today to learn more and determine how to proceed.
Contact the Personal Injury Team at the Law Office of Calbom & Schwab Today
If you have been harmed by another’s negligence, the skilled injury team at the Law Office of Calbom & Schwab can help. For decades, we have protected the rights and dignity of injury victims in Central Washington. Our skilled, tenacious injury attorneys have helped countless clients obtain maximum compensation in a timely, efficient manner. If you’ve been injured, you may be able to recover substantial damages for medical bills, lost wages, emotional pain and suffering, and other related expenses. Following an injury, the only thing you should be focused on is healing. Let us handle the rest. Contact the Law Office of Calbom & Schwab today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.