Understanding Personal Injury Laws in Washington State
The law is confusing and hard to understand. Luckily, the Attorneys at Van Law Firm are here to help. In this article, we will provide a simple outline of personal injury law in Washington State. If you have any questions during or after reading this article, please reach out to us for a FREE case evaluation.
What is a personal injury claim?
A personal injury is an injury that happened because of another person’s negligent or purposeful actions. It can be harmful to the body or to the mind. You may have physical injuries, mental or psychological injuries, or even changes in your behavior after an accident. A personal injury means that you have a legal claim, or lawsuit, against that person. It is important to remember that you can only sue someone if that person acted with a liable mental state like negligence or purpose. Unfortunately, sometimes an accident is truly an accident. In those cases, you get hurt and cannot sue. Because of the tricky nature of figuring out when an injury can result in a lawsuit, we always recommend asking an attorney for their opinion on the case.
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What is negligence?
A person is negligent when he or she acts unreasonably in a situation. This is a situation where someone has a duty or obligation to do (or not not do) something and he does it anyway, causing an accident and injuring someone. A common example of a negligent action that leads to a lawsuit is someone looking at his phone in traffic instead of looking at the road. If a person looks at his phone while in traffic and hits the car in front of him, he will have negligently hit that person.
What is purposeful action?
A person is purposeful when he acts with the purpose of doing something. A common example of a purposeful action that leads to a lawsuit would be hitting or punching another person. If a person punches another person, he has purposefully battered that person.
What is contributory fault?
Contributory fault is the legal term for when both you and the other person can be blamed for the injury. Sometimes people are told that if they are partially at-fault for an injury, then they cannot sue. This is not the case. A person may not get as much money from the other person, but in Washington an injury is not barred from recovery if the injured person is partially at-fault.
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How much time can I wait before suing?
A person must sue another person within the statute of limitations. This is the time period that the state allows one person to sue another person. In Washington, this is almost always 3 years from the date of the injury. This is not the case for every personal injury claim. It also is better to start a lawsuit sooner rather than later. Because of that, we recommend reaching out to an attorney at Van Law Firm as soon as possible so that we have the most time available to help you.
What kind of payout comes with a personal injury claim?
A person can get money for medical treatment, lost wages, emotional damages, pain and suffering, loss of use of property, and many more things. Because each case is unique, it is hard to give a general number for what you can expect. A car crash, for example, can range from $5,000 to $500,000 or more in a payout. This amount of money depends on the extent and severity of the damage, who caused it, and many other things. Every accident is unique.
The best way to navigate the confusing laws after an accident is with the advice of an experienced car accident attorney. The attorneys at the Van Law Firm are experienced in how to handle car accident cases, while navigating the laws of Washington.
Call (725) 900-9000 today for a FREE consultation and to learn more about what Van Law Firm can do for you.
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