Suffering a preventable injury is not only unpleasant but also infuriating. Many people who suffer a personal injury as a result of another’s negligence must deal with the incident’s rippling consequences in numerous spheres of life. Fortunately, there are provisions in Washington State law that protect persons who have suffered bodily injury.
Continue reading to learn about filing a personal injury lawsuit in Washington State.
What Constitutes a Personal Injury in the State of Washington?
Numerous circumstances come under the category of personal harm under Washington State law. Personal injury can take various forms, ranging from being injured in a car accident to suffering as a result of medical malpractice. Each type of injury demands a unique legal strategy tailored to your specific circumstances.
Before filing a claim for personal injury, it’s helpful to understand a critical concept in personal injury cases: carelessness.
In a limited number of personal injury cases, the individual’s suffering is the result of a deliberate act. Generally, however, it is the case that some omission or incorrect conduct resulted in regrettable harm, injury, or death. In many instances, establishing negligence is critical to obtaining damages.
Negligence is defined as “the failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in similar circumstances.” It’s critical to understand how Washington State sees liability in personal injury lawsuits when it comes to legal definitions.
A contributory fault occurs when both parties (you and the other individual/group) share responsibility for the injury. Even if you’re responsible for some of the blame for your accident, you can still make a claim and seek compensation.
According to Washington State law, “any contributing blame imposed on the claimant reduces proportionately the amount awarded as compensatory damages for an injury caused by the claimant’s contributory fault but does not preclude recovery.”
In summary, you can sue for damages regardless of whether you were at fault for the injury. We’ll cover what it takes to sue for personal harm below.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim in the State of Washington
To establish a personal injury case, you (the plaintiff) must establish the following:
- You were owed a fair degree of care.
- The negligent party acted irrationally or violated their duty of care.
- Your injuries were caused by the breach.
- The other party acted with knowledge of the danger of injury.
- You sustained an injury.
- It is the injured party’s burden to establish that carelessness happened. Washington’s Revised Code, Section 4.24.290, explicitly addresses medical practitioners’ carelessness. This indicates that you
“…shall be required to establish by a majority of the evidence that the [another party] lacked the degree of competence, care, and knowledge possessed by other persons in the same profession at the time.”
In other words, the party that was injured must establish the other person’s or group’s lack of care and expertise in handling the event that resulted in the bodily injury.
Whether your injury occurred in a street collision, at work, in a medical setting, or in another place, an experienced personal injury attorney can analyze your case and recommend the best course of action for establishing fault and recovering damages.
How Long Can You Refrain from Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
When evaluating how to sue for personal injury, it’s critical to understand the time period in which a lawsuit can be filed. Individuals in Washington State have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
The Revised Code of Washington, Section 4.16.080, details the actions that are subject to the three-year statute’s restrictions. The clause provides that “any action for the taking, detention, or injury of personal property, including an action for its specific recovery, or for any other injury to the person or interests of another not hereinafter specified” is subject to the three-year limitation.
After the statute of limitations period has expired, bringing a case against the person or entity that caused you harm will be difficult. At that stage, the individual or organization may seek to have the case dismissed entirely.
Due to the diversity of personal injury claims, the statute of limitations may vary in individual circumstances. When suing for medical negligence, for example, there is an exception to the three-year rule: if the injured party discovers the harm after three years, they have one year from the date of discovery to bring a claim.
Consult an experienced personal injury attorney to determine how the statute of limitations relates to your specific circumstance. This way, you’ll receive excellent legal guidance on how to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit.
What to Do After Sustaining an Injury
Finding an attorney who genuinely cares about you and will fight for the best conclusion possible is critical to putting together a strong case. At CCRS Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing high-quality legal services that result in positive outcomes.
As an award-winning personal injury law firm, we work diligently to guarantee our clients receive the results they desire. Whether we are negotiating with insurance companies or litigating your case in court, we are with you every step of the way.
Contact Caron, Colven, Robison & Shafton for a FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION and to learn about your personal injury options.