Common Causes of Personal Injuries in Washington State
The damage caused by a personal injury goes beyond the pain suffered. There are possibly lost wages from not being able to work, medical bills, and potentially the loss of the ability to enjoy part of your life. When this happens due to another person’s negligence, you should be compensated for these injuries. It is a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer when you are hurt to help you get the compensation you are due.
You are also due compensation if a family member dies as the result of an injury caused by another person. A personal injury attorney can also help you recover damages in these cases.
Automobile accidents are by far the leading cause of injury-related deaths in Washington. It is the leading cause for people between the ages of 15-24 at 11.9 per 100,000 people, according to the state department of health. It is the second leading cause, behind accidental poisoning, for people between the ages of 25-44, at eight per 100,000. For people between the ages of 35 and 64, car accidents are third, at eight per 100,000. It is also the third leading cause for people over 65 but the rate rises to 11 per 100,000.
Car Accidents are also one of the Top Causes of Personal Injuries that do not Result in Death.
Falls are the second leading cause of injuries in Washington. With a car accident, it is usually fairly clear who caused the accident, and who is responsible for damages. With a fall, it is not as straightforward. You must prove what caused the fall, such as a slick floor or uneven pavement. You must also prove that the owner caused the problem, or knew about the problem and did not do anything to address the hazard – which is negligence.
There is also the concept of comparative negligence in Washington. In some cases, there are degrees of negligence or responsibility for injuries. If the party is found to be 80 percent at fault, then you could sue for 80 percent of the damages. Washington allows pure comparative negligence. In some states, you cannot recover damages if your share of the damages is 50 percent. When comparative damages are involved, you will need a good personal injury lawyer even more.
Motorcycle accidents are also a leading cause of injury. Product liability and pedestrian accidents are also high on the list of causes of personal injury in Washington state. Work-related injuries can also fall under negligence claims, but often that gets into workers’ compensation cases, which is a different matter.
If you are injured, there are a few classifications of damages you may be entitled to recover:
- Medical costs.
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Most of the time, these cases are settled out of court through negotiation. A good personal injury attorney can help you get compensated for these injuries. The insurance companies will have lawyers trying to help their clients pay as little as possible. That is why you need an attorney who understands the law and can negotiate with them on a level playing field.
It is also important to have an attorney that is not afraid to go to court. If negotiations fail to deliver a satisfactory outcome, going to court will be necessary. Most insurance companies do not want to go to court because juries sometimes give large settlements.
There are three things your personal injury lawyer can do for you concerning your case. They can manage your bills. When there are personal injuries, there can be bills from many sources and it can get confusing when doctors, labs, pharmacies are all sending you bills at once. Recovering your lost wages is a huge part of the compensation you are due, and your lawyer can expedite that process. The third thing is to get you the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries.
Most attorneys offer a free consultation to learn the specifics of your case. It is here that the attorney helps you understand if you have a case, and decides whether to take your case. Personal injury lawyers are paid as part of your settlement, so they tend to only take cases where there is a good chance of winning.
There are some criteria for a personal injury lawsuit, including:
- Duty: A person has some responsibility for their actions and their property. A car driver has a duty to stop at a stop sign or to signal a lane change. Failing to do that is failing to fulfill one’s duties.
- The breach of duty: To begin your case, you, and your attorney, must prove that a breach of this duty occurred. It is usually clear in the case of a car accident, but may not be as clear in other situations.
- The cause: You must then prove that your injuries were caused by that breach of duty. The car runs a stop sign, causing a collision with your car, for example.
- Damages: Finally, you must be able to show that the accident caused damage. Your medical bills, property damage, and so forth are proof of damage. Not being able to work is also an example of the damage caused.
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