What is considered a serious injury?
A serious injury impairs a person’s ability to engage in daily tasks, including working and caring for themselves.
Following a serious injury, a lengthy recovery process is often required, and full recovery may even be impossible. Victims often miss work for extended periods, and, in some cases, they may never be able to return to their profession of choice, which may require settling for a reduced income and a reduced quality of life.
What are the types of damages in personal injury lawsuits?
Washington State allows recovery for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include verifiable monetary loss due to your accident, including medical bills and lost income. You can also recover fines and penalties you have incurred due to falling behind on financial obligations.
Non-economic damages include any losses for which there is no verifiable monetary loss but where you have experienced severe hardship due to the accident. These damages typically fall into the category of pain and suffering. In Washington State, “pain and suffering” is defined as subjective non-economic damages. These can include:
- Mental anguish
- Disability or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Washington State does not follow a set method to determine the monetary amount of pain and suffering, and there is no limit to the amount of money that you can recover. If you are deemed partially liable for your injury, you will still be able to recover some compensation due to Washington’s “pure comparative fault” rule. Under this rule, if it is determined that you are 25% responsible for your injury, then you would only be able to recover 75% of claimed damages or of the amount awarded by a jury.
How does the personal injury claim process work?
As the injured person, you will be the plaintiff, the person bringing the lawsuit. The people or entities responsible for your injuries will be the defendants, defending themselves against your claims.
In order for your claim to be successful, you must prove that the defendant was negligent and that their negligence was the cause or the partial cause of your injury. Negligence refers to a failure to exercise the appropriate care expected of a person, people or another entity, such as a company, in a particular circumstance.
The first step in moving forward with a personal injury claim is to get a qualified attorney on your side. The personal injury attorney will gather facts to determine the proper defendant or defendants based on the nature of the accident. This step will include:
- Reviewing police reports
- Reviewing medical records
- Interviewing witnesses
In some cases, claims are settled before a lawsuit is actually filed. Our personal injury attorneys can provide guidance on this and will never settle a case without your approval.
Assuming the claim does not settle, a personal injury lawsuit begins with the filing of a complaint which includes all the general facts of the case and the reasons for seeking damages. Once the defendant(s) file their answer to the complaint, the discovery process begins.
The discovery process involves information gathering from both sides and is often a lengthy process. Many times, claims settle before going to trial. However, if an agreement can’t be reached out of court, it will go on a docket for a trial.
How do I prove future lost earnings in a personal injury case?
The best way to prove future lost earnings is to be able to show your consistent earnings before your accident through documentation like pay stubs and tax returns. Bank deposit records can also be helpful, especially if your job involves tips. If you had inconsistent income or seasonal employment leading up to the accident, it can be harder to recover future lost earnings.
Most employers will provide a lost wages letter to help your case. This letter proves your employment and provides proof of your missed earnings.
It is important to note that lost income can include missed bonuses, promotions and retirement contributions. You can also recover damages for vacation or sick days you had to use for your recovery.
How soon after an accident do I need to file a lawsuit?
In Washington State, the statute of limitations is three years. The clock starts on the date of the accident. It is critical that you file your suit within three years or else your claim is almost guaranteed to be dismissed.
What types of claims have PCVA’s personal injury attorneys handled?
We offer experienced, caring legal advocates who are committed to protecting the rights and interests of society, injury victims and their families. We have successfully recovered damages in serious injury claims for a wide variety of accidents, including:
- Landslide injuries
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- School injuries
- State-supervised parental abuse
- Trucking and automobile accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Loss of a limb
- Serious burns
When should I get a personal injury lawyer?
Attempting to settle a claim on your own could result in getting a lower settlement amount than if you consulted the guidance of a personal injury lawyer. With an experienced lawyer guiding you through your claim, you will be able to focus on your recovery rather than recovering compensation.
If you’ve had a serious injury, or have lost a loved one due to a serious injury, you need to speak to a personal injury attorney who has experience working on a variety of serious injury cases. PCVA has years of experience helping parties suffering from serious injuries recover compensation. If you would like to speak with a PCVA lawyer, complete our intake form or call us at (253) 948-3199 or call us at (206) 536-2850. All conversations are confidential.
Our Case Results
$60,000,000 settlement for deaths in the Oso landslide of 2014.
$10,300,000 settlement for a teenage boy who suffered brain damage when beaten by violent foster boys at a gas station.
$8,000,000 settlement for a client who was shot multiple times by Tacoma police officer for allegedly failing to obey police instructions.
$5,425,000 settlement for a client struck by a motor vehicle in a crosswalk resulting in permanent serious injury.
$5,000,000 settlement for a client who was struck by a motor vehicle and suffered serious permanent injury.
$4,500,000 settlement for a passenger injured in an Amtrak derailment accident
$2,250,000 settlement for death of a disabled man at Rainier School
$2,100,000 settlement for a death of a 3-year-old boy by the mother’s boyfriend who CPS should have known was a chronic child abuser.