Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer
The challenges you face after an injury are enough to make you want to give up the fight for the compensation you need. Don’t give up. Instead, team up with a Seattle injury lawyer.
When accidents happen, injuries often follow. And what comes after injuries is often even more difficult than dealing with the initial pain the injuries caused. That’s because regaining your financial footing after you’re suddenly unable to earn a living and stuck with expensive medical bills is challenging, to say the least. But there is a way to ease the financial pressure you’re feeling.
In the state of Washington, victims who were injured in accidents that were someone else’s fault can file a personal injury claim in order to pursue the compensation they need to return to the life they knew before they were hurt.
However, even if you leave out the difficulty of completing all the legal paperwork, seeking compensation is going to be tough. For help with every aspect of your claim for compensation, turn to a Seattle personal injury lawyer at Craig Swapp & Associates.
Categorizing Your Accident
The type of accident you were in is going to determine the type of claim you have and, by extension, who you should hold financially accountable for your injuries and other damages.
An experienced personal injury lawyer in Seattle will examine the details of your accident to determine which category your accident falls under. The following are some common types of accidents that injure people in Seattle:
- Auto Accidents – Every time you hit the road, you’re at risk of being hit by an irresponsible, reckless, or otherwise negligent driver. But the dangers don’t stop there. Unsafe roads, faulty car parts, and many other hazards can lead to Seattle car accidents, as well as accidents involving commercial trucks, buses, motorcycles, and other vehicles.
- Injuries on Other People’s Property – When you’re injured on a commercial or residential property, you may be eligible to file a premises liability claim against the owner of the property if the owner’s negligence led to your accident. Whether you slipped on an icy walkway or were attacked by a dog, you can hold property owners accountable for your injuries.
- Product Malfunctions – There’s an unspoken agreement between product manufacturers and consumers: If a product is for sale, it’s safe to use. Of course, that’s not always the case, and you can hold manufacturers accountable if they injured you by producing a defective product of any kind.
- Medical Malpractice – When a doctor or other healthcare professional is treating you, you expect that he or she will act in your best interest. Of course, medical mistakes happen, but if you can demonstrate that the mistake was because of negligence on the part of a healthcare professional, you could sue for medical malpractice.
No matter which type of accident applies to you, you can rest easier knowing that while you recuperate, your attorney will be working behind the scenes to gather evidence that will help support your case. Such evidence might include medical documentation, video footage, safety inspection reports, witness statements, and expert testimony, to name a few.
Understanding Your Injuries
The type and extent of your injuries says a lot about the compensation you deserve. Generally, the more severe your injuries are, the more substantial your settlement or compensation award should be.
The difficulty comes when you have to prove how serious your injuries are. Insurance companies, negligent parties, and their lawyers will take any opportunity they see to downplay the severity of your injuries. If they do so successfully, the amount of compensation you stand to receive is going to decrease.
To prevent that, your Seattle accident injury lawyer will gather evidence and testimony from your doctors and other experts to show why you deserve the compensation you’re asking for in your injury claim. First, we’ll need to gain an understanding of the type of injury you have suffered. The following are some common serious injuries that warrant significant compensation:
- Head Injuries – Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries can seriously impact your life for years or even permanently. You may be unable to work or even take care of yourself without assistance.
- Back Injuries – Paralysis can render you unable to walk—much less enjoy the life you had before your accident. Additionally, chronic back pain can affect every waking moment, which calls for significant compensation.
- Broken Bones – Fractured and broken bones are some of the most common serious injuries. Although they often heal, they can lead to lingering pain and a short-term inability to work.
- Burns – When you’re severely burned, you are forever scarred, both physically and psychologically. Physical and emotional scars deserve compensation from the responsible party.
The inability to earn a living can significantly impact your ability to continue supporting yourself and your family while you focus on your recovery. Fortunately, your Seattle personal injury attorney is going to fight rigorously for the compensation you need to cover your losses. This will allow you to spend less time worrying about how you’ll survive without an income and more time healing.
How WA Negligence Laws May Impact Your Case
More often than you might think, injury victims have contributed to the cause of the accident they were involved in, even if it was in a minor way.
Even though you may be partially liable for your injuries, you can still recover compensation for your losses from the other culpable party, but your award will be reduced by the percentage of liability you carry. This is known as modified comparative negligence.
Let’s look at an example. Say you are awarded a sum of $100,000, but you are found to be 25 percent at fault for the cause of the accident. Your award will be reduced by 25 percent and your case will be resolved at $75,000.
It’s important to remember, however, that WA follows modified comparative negligence, meaning that once you hit the 50 percent liability threshold, you’ll no longer be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim against the other involved person or persons. In fact, if you are more than 50 percent at fault, you should probably prepare for the possibility of having a civil lawsuit brought against you for the damages you caused.
Let Your Lawyer Handle the Insurer
The insurance company is a double-edge sword of sorts because on one hand, they are supposed to provide the protection you need if you’ve been injured in an accident, but on the other hand, they are a for-profit industry and subsequently may prioritize their needs above that of their claimants.
Some insurance adjusters are known for their unscrupulous tactics, including making insultingly low settlement offers and twisting the statements given to them by their claimants. Two important takeaways in dealing with the insurance company: Don’t give them a statement, and don’t accept their first offer without reviewing it with your attorney.
The insurer will typically make their claimants a quick offer when they realize how much the claim is actually worth. By making you a fast settlement offer, they are hoping that you’ll accept because you need the money, now. When this happens, have your attorney review the offer before you accept, as you could be entitled to a lot more.
It’s important that you refrain from giving the insurer a statement, however well-intended you might be. The insurance adjuster is almost always going to use it against you. They’ll manipulate your words to make it appear as though you’ve admitted guilt or accepted liability for the cause of the accident so that they can pay you less.
Let your attorney negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf so that you can ensure you aren’t taken advantage of in your time of need.
Calculating Your Compensation
For many Seattle injury victims, the most important part of this whole process is filing a claim that recovers compensation for every damage they have suffered. But getting to that point requires some critical thinking as you calculate all the expenses and losses you have experienced.
For instance, how much do you expect to pay for physical rehabilitation in the next decade? What about after that? How much do you deserve for the permanent scars your injuries have left on your body?
These are all questions an experienced injury attorney in Seattle can help you answer. Your lawyer will examine both your economic and non-economic damages when quantifying your losses. Your economic losses refer to the impact your injuries will have on you financially, whereas your non-economic losses focus on the psychological and lifestyle impacts.
Your lawyer may advise you to seek compensation for the following damages, depending on the unique circumstances of your case:
- Medical costs
- Damage to your personal property
- Lost wages during your recovery time
- Future income you won’t be able to earn because of your injuries
- Emotional trauma
- The loss of household services
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- The loss of enjoyment of life
Additionally, you could be entitled to an award of punitive damages if the judge finds that the defendant was intentionally malicious in their actions. Meant to make an example of the liable party, punitive damages will dramatically increase the amount of your final award.
Seattle Personal Injury FAQ
Few injury survivors are experienced in tort law, and therefore have countless questions about what they should expect if they move forward with their personal injury claim. Below, we have listed some common questions we get from new Seattle personal injury clients. For answers to additional questions, give us a call.
Can I recover compensation for a brain injury that developed after my accident?
Sometimes, injuries aren’t immediately apparent after an accident. For example, you might have immediately noticed your broken arm after your car accident, but, six months down the road, your doctor might have told you that you have a traumatic brain injury.
If you can prove that your newly diagnosed brain injury was a result of your accident, you should be able to seek compensation for it. Your Seattle injury attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence.
My loved one died in an accident that someone else caused. Can I sue?
In most cases, yes. The state of Washington allows certain family members of those who are killed because of the negligent actions of another party to pursue compensation through wrongful death claims.
Seeking wrongful death compensation in Seattle comes with some tricky legal rules and requirements, so it’s important to work with a qualified lawyer during this difficult time.
What’s the deadline for filing a personal injury claim?
In general, the deadline for filing personal injury claims in Washington is three years from the date of the accident or from the date you are diagnosed with a condition that was directly caused by the accident you were involved in. This deadline is called the statute of limitations.
It’s important to file your claim before this deadline passes. Miss it, and you risk losing your right to pursue compensation or hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm they’ve inflicted on your life.
What does it cost to hire an attorney?
Our firm works based on a contingency fee. This means we will work together to decide on a reasonable fee. This will typically be a percentage of your winnings. The great thing about an attorney contingency fee is that if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay us anything. When we win, our fee can be deducted from your winnings so you don’t have to worry about paying us back later.
Contact a Seattle Personal Injury Attorney
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed—maybe even a little hopeless—after you have been seriously injured through no fault of your own. We understand that physical pain and financial pressure come together to create a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.
But rest assured that hope is not lost—particularly if you work with a dedicated and passionate lawyer. At Craig Swapp & Associates, we’re passionate about seeking justice for victims of negligence.
Our firm is proud to offer our prospective clients a free case review prior to choosing us to represent your case. When you’re ready to arrange your complimentary consultation with a Seattle personal injury lawyer, give us a call at 1-800-404-9000 or head to the bottom of the page to fill out our online contact form.