Types of Personal Injuries Our Lawyers Handle
Our personal injury attorneys handle all cases, from car accidents to defective products to wrongful death. Some of the most common include the following:
Spokane, Washington, provides an excellent environment for bicycle riding. A mild climate, warm summers, and pleasant atmosphere entice thousands of people to bike the paths and roadways of the Spokane region.
Unfortunately, many drivers fail to proceed with prudence when sharing the road with cyclists. We see many cases where motorists followed bicycles too closely, rear-ended them at intersections, or turned into them. Most motorist-bicycle accidents occur because of driver negligence, though some cases cross over into reckless driving.
Not all bicycle accident claims result from motorists. Sometimes, a bicycle is defective, resulting in a lawsuit against the maker. In other cases, poor road maintenance or design may result in liability for the city.
When many people think of personal injury cases, car accidents come to mind first. This makes sense because car accidents are a frequent cause of injury, and most result from someone’s negligence or recklessness.
The key to prevailing in a car accident case is proving the defendant acted with negligence or recklessness and that the action caused the injuries. Defense attorneys frequently try to shift some blame onto the plaintiff to reduce claims payouts. Under pure comparative negligence, every 1% of the responsibility the defense passes on to the plaintiff is 1% less they must pay. Our aggressive litigators negotiate hard and take cases to trial if the defendant refuses to accept their full liability.
Any accident or intentional action can result in a catastrophic injury. The term catastrophic injury refers to physical damage to a person that results in long-term or lifelong ramifications. Plaintiffs often have ongoing medical care needs, lost careers, and suffer the permanent inability to participate in life and family fully.
For instance, a person may sustain head trauma in a car accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI often leads to permanent damage that can impede memory, impair speech, and alter personalities. Due to these impacts, the victim may need ongoing medical care and assistance with daily living. At the same time, TBIs may force victims out of the workforce and render them unable to continue in family activities as before, such as parenting young children.
All of these losses are compensable under Washington personal injury law.
In Washington, dog owners are responsible for the injuries caused to another if their dog bites. Washington is not a “one bite” state, so no history of dog biting is needed to establish a case. The law is clear that the owner is always liable unless one of the following exceptions apply:
- The victim provoked the dog.
- The victim was trespassing, otherwise illegally on the dog owner’s property, or ignored warnings to stay off the property because of dogs.
Motorcyclists bear a higher risk on the roads than drivers of other vehicles, so cases tend to be of higher value. Though motorcyclists choose a more dangerous vehicle, they have equal entitlement to compensation, but injured riders face biker bias.
Biker bias is the irrational belief that someone must be at fault for their injuries if riding a motorcycle. This prejudice stems from the assumption that bikers are outlaws, ride while intoxicated or high, and that their entitlement to damages is reduced because they rode a motorcycle.
None of these is true. Most bikers are not outlaws and are entitled to full compensation for their damages regardless of whether they would have less severe injuries if they were in another type of vehicle.
Like motorcyclists, pedestrians bear more serious injuries than those in cars and trucks. As a result, some of the highest liability claims come from pedestrians. Unfortunately, many drivers seem to forget how vulnerable pedestrians are when struck by a motor vehicle, resulting in crosswalk accidents, stricken joggers, and injuries from reckless driving in parking lots.
Premises liability law emanates from the idea that property owners are responsible for maintaining a safe environment. For instance, a homeowner must ensure the safety of guests, and businesses must guard customers against hazards. However, premises liability does not mean property owners are responsible for all accidents.
A premises liability case must demonstrate that the owner was somehow negligent to succeed. For example, if a grocery store left a puddle of spilled water in an aisle and a customer slipped and suffered an injury, that store is likely responsible for the damages. However, if a burglar enters the store and slips on spilled liquid, no claim exists because the store has no duty of care towards people illegally entering the premises.
Truck accidents are another category where serious damages are prevalent. A big rig’s size ensures that the destruction is immense, whatever it hits. For example, when trucks hurt people, the driver and the trucking company have legal responsibilities.
Many truck accidents result from the egregious conduct of the driver or company. For example, a driver may have been texting and driving, resulting in a rear-end collision that causes multiple serious injuries. In another situation, a trucking company may have pressured the driver to continue driving while tired or ill, demanded employees stay on the road longer than legally permitted, or turned a blind eye to excessive hours or negligent and reckless driving.
The law mandates most companies carry workers’ compensation insurance. Under these plans, employees injured on the job have entitlement to compensation regardless of fault.
For instance, if a worker trips and suffers an injury, they receive compensation, whether the fall was his fault or the company’s. In addition, injured workers can receive medical bills and income replacement payments if their injury forces them off the job.
Wrongful death cases are brought on behalf of the surviving family members. As with other personal injury cases, wrongful deaths stem from negligent, reckless, and intentional acts. Some incidents result in criminal charges and a wrongful death suit, such as manslaughter in a DUI wrongful death or a murder committed during an assault. However, successful criminal prosecutions are unnecessary for a wrongful death claim to succeed in civil court.
For instance, negligence is the cause of a wrongful death case where a driver misjudged the distance, resulting in a tragic accident. Recklessness is the cause when a drag racer spins out of control and strikes another vehicle. Intentional action is the cause of a road rage incident where the perpetrator struck the other motorist and killed him.
Families have entitlement to economic-, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages include expenses incurred due to the incident, such as funeral costs, lost income, and medical bills. Other monetary damages related to the loss of income or household help because of the wrongful death.
Non-economic damages attempt to compensate the family for the emotional and personal impact of losing a loved one, including pain and suffering and loss of important life relationships, such as the death of a spouse or a parent.
Pain and suffering in a wrongful death claim deal with the emotional distress of the family rather than the pain and suffering endured by the decedent. Suppose the deceased died after a painful period brought on by the defendant. In that case, the estate executor files a separate case called a survival action where compensation is paid directly to the estate.
Punitive damages are rare, even in wrongful death cases. To apply, the actions of the defendant(s) must have been unusually egregious. The court applies them in part as a deterrent. For instance, an auto collision causing a death that was a pure accident is unlikely to warrant punitive damages. However, wrongful death cases from intentional actions, such as striking the victim, may receive significant punitive awards.
What To Do After a Personal Injury Accident?
Seeking medical assistance is the most important thing regarding your health and establishing a case. When you receive care, the provider creates medical records that often play critical roles in personal injury cases. They prove that the damages relate to the accident and help quantify losses.
If able, document the scene with your phone and record witness contact information. Also, write down your recollection of the incident while your memory remains fresh.
How Does a Lawyer Help in a Personal Injury Case?
Attorneys help at every stage of a personal injury case. At the outset, they evaluate your claim’s chance of success and identify potential defendants. Next, they conduct a thorough investigation and gather pivotal evidence. Your attorney then establishes a strong negotiating position and holds insurers responsible for 100% of legally owed damages. If the defendant(s) refuse to make their clients whole, they take the case before a jury and litigate appeals.
What Damages Can I Receive for a Personal Injury?
Washington State entitles all personal injury victims to be economic- and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include the following:
- Medical bills
- Long-term care and household assistance
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Transportation costs
- Lost income
- Lost benefits
- Other related expenses
Non-economic damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Other intangible losses
Courts award punitive damages when the defendant(s) actions were flagrant.
Contact a Top-Rated Personal Injury Lawyer Today
You may be entitled to compensation if you have been injured in an accident. Contact a Spokane personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.