Motor vehicle collisions are the most common cause of personal injuries in the State of Washington by far, accounting for hundreds of serious injuries and millions of dollars in total property losses each year. Despite that, a traumatic car crash can be a difficult matter to base a personal injury claim around for numerous reasons. Many of these barriers to recovery are enshrined in state law, which plaintiffs often must overcome.
If you want the best odds possible of securing a favorable resolution to your unique case, seeking help from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney should be a priority. Once retained, your dedicated Lakewood car accident lawyer could ensure you understand what legal rights you have in your particular situation, work diligently to build a strong case for compensation, and help you navigate around possible legal roadblocks that might impede your pursuit of recovery.
Proving Fault for a Car Wreck in Lakewood
For the entire time a motorist in Washington is in control of their vehicle and operating it on public roads, they have a legal obligation—in civil litigation terms, a “duty”—to act like a responsible person would at all times. This means not only following applicable traffic and safety laws, but also paying attention to other vehicles and people around them, responding reasonably to unforeseen hazards, and not acting in an aggressive or reckless way while driving.
Any person who causes a collision that results in physical injury to someone else because they did something contrary to this lawful duty has acted “negligently.” This principle of negligence is what the vast majority of car crash claims and other forms of personal injury litigation are based around. Proving someone else at fault for a wreck based on their negligence is generally the best way to hold them accountable to pay for ensuing losses.
Importantly, people injured in car wrecks often must also be able to show that they were not partially or primarily at fault for an accident they are filing suit over, or for causing/exacerbating any injuries they experienced as a result. As a Lakewood car accident attorney could explain, Revised Code of Washington § 4.22.005 grants civil courts the authority to assign a percentage of fault to any plaintiff they believe bears some responsibility for their own injury. At that point, the court may reduce the value of whatever damage award the plaintiff receives based on that percentage.
Recoverable Losses in a Car Crash Claim
The monetary value of a car accident claim can vary substantially depending on what consequences the accident had for a plaintiff and how long those consequences will continue to affect their life. Following a minor accident that results only in property damage and physical injuries that will heal over time, recovery may be limited to short-term losses like:
- Medical expenses
- Car repair/replacement costs
- Lost work income during recovery
- Physical pain and suffering
Conversely, an accident that results in permanent disability or disfigurement may justify a great deal more compensation for a variety of long-term losses, such as:
- Lost consortium
- Lost quality of life
- Emotional/psychological trauma stemming from the wreck itself and/or the injuries it caused
An auto accident lawyer in Lakewood could provide more specific information about what damages an individual could factor into their specific claim.
Talk to a Lakewood Car Accident Attorney About Legal Options
While practically everyone has been or will be in a car wreck at some point, not all collisions between multi-ton motor vehicles are created equally. If you sustained severe injuries that will result in lasting harm because another driver acted carelessly or recklessly, civil litigation may be the only effective means of preserving your future financial security and personal wellbeing.
A Lakewood car accident lawyer could help you pursue an optimal resolution to your claim, while also protecting your rights every step of the way. Call today to schedule a meeting.