Injuries sustained in accidents caused by other people can be frustrating problems to deal with, both in terms of their origins and in the short- and long-term effects they can have on your life. Even relatively minor harm with no permanent repercussions can still require months of medical treatment, disputes with insurance providers, and missed income from time spent out of work. These damages do not come close to matching those that can result from an accident that causes permanent disability or disfigurement.
No matter what circumstances led to you getting hurt or who specifically is to blame for your injury, having help from a qualified attorney could be vital to achieving the best possible result from an ensuing civil claim. From start to finish, a dedicated Lakewood personal injury lawyer could advocate for your rights and pursue maximum compensation for every form of harm you experienced from your accident.
When Could Someone Else Be Liable for an Injury?
While certain causes of civil action have particular rules applicable to them, the vast majority of civil claims based on personal injuries in Washington State revolve around the theory of negligence. A person who, by acting irresponsibly or in an intentionally malicious way, causes another person to suffer physical harm may be held financially accountable for all consequences that the injured person experiences because of their injury. This is true even if the irresponsible party did not intend to hurt anyone with their actions.
More specifically, there are four elements of legal negligence an injured plaintiff must prove to hold a defendant civilly liable for an accident:
- A “duty” to act a certain way—generally, to respond like a reasonable person would to whatever circumstances they encounter—owed by the defendant to the injured plaintiff
- A “breach” of the established duty, in the form of an overly reckless, careless, or malicious act
- A direct link between the accident the case is built around and the defendant’s breach—in other words, “causation”
- Compensable losses, or “damages,” caused directly by the accident in question
During an initial consultation, a Lakewood personal injury attorney could explain all of these components in greater detail.
Potential Personal Injury Claims
There are numerous ways that a civil injury claim could occur. Some of the most common are:
- Car accidents and truck accidents
- Bicycle and motorcycle crashes
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice and birth defects
- Slip and fall, and premises liability claims
- Catastrophic injuries
A personal injury attorney in Lakewood could help someone who suffered damages in any of these accidents.
Procedural Rules for Personal Injury Claims
Importantly, proving someone else’s negligence is far from the only thing personal injury plaintiffs in Lakewood should be concerned with when building a case. For example, it is often crucial to establish that a plaintiff bore no responsibility for causing or worsening their own damages, since Revised Code of Washington § 4.22.005 allows courts to reduce the value of damage awards based on whatever percentage of total fault for an accident they assign to a plaintiff.
Furthermore, under RCW § 4.16.080, most personal injury plaintiffs are limited to a maximum of three years to initiate any litigation they intend to pursue after sustaining harm due to someone else’s negligence. Failing to file suit within this deadline generally means the end of any hope of financial recovery for that specific incident.
Speak with a Lakewood Personal Injury Attorney Today
Unfortunately, there is no standardized, one-size-fits-all strategy for securing a positive outcome to a personal injury lawsuit. Every single case is unique and may proceed differently from another based around a similar type of accident or injury. Not to mention, opposition from the defense counsel, insurance providers, and even civil judges and juries can make achieving financial recovery on your own nearly impossible.
Fortunately, you do not have to fight for your rights alone if you retain a Lakewood personal injury lawyer to help with your claim. Call today to schedule a consultation.