Police Brutality Attorney in Washington State

I’ve Suffered Police Brutality; Do I Have A Case?

June 13th, 2019 Posted by Abuse, Personal Injury 0 comments on “I’ve Suffered Police Brutality; Do I Have A Case?”

Do I Have A Police Brutality Case?

Beltran-Serrano v. City of Tacoma, No 95062-8, was decided by the Washington Supreme Court on June 13, 2019.  The decision holds that a police officer’s use of deadly force may be actionable both under a negligence theory relating to the circumstances leading up to a police shooting and under an intentional tort theory based on the officer’s decision to actually pull the trigger.  In such cases, plaintiffs must remain aware of Washington civil procedure, including CR 8(e)(2), which allows the plaintiff to plead “as many separate claims or defenses as the party has regardless of consistency.”  A plaintiff must therefore plead both theories when attempting to sue a police officer or municipality for unlawful use of force.

Police Brutality in Washington State

In Washington, RCW 9A.16.040 governs circumstances of “justifiable homicide or use of deadly force by public officer, peace officer, [or] person aiding” same.  This statute will allow an officer to argue to a jury that his/her actions were privileged under the good faith standard the statute requires of such individuals employing deadly force.  The Washington Supreme Court found in Beltran-Serrano that an officer’s statutory privilege can be effectively argued to a jury in context with the facts that will be presented by a plaintiff attempting to prove a negligence theory.

Washington’s Public Policy Doctrine

In Washington, we also have a “public duty doctrine” which recognizes that governments, unlike private persons, are tasked with duties that are not actionable in tort law (in other words, the official state actor cannot be sued).  The courts recognize that the purpose of this doctrine is to ensure that governments do not bear greater tort liability than would a private individual. To overcome the doctrine, a plaintiff must show that the offending police officer, prison guard, etcetera, breached a duty owed to the injured person as an individual, not just a duty owed to the general public.

Washington’s Supreme Court Decision on Police Brutality

In Beltran-Serrano, our Supreme Court analyzed the need for a balanced approach to applying the public duty doctrine so that tort liability to protect victims, deter dangerous conduct and provide a fair distribution of the risk of loss can be maintained.  The Supreme Court noted that there has existed since at least 1926 in this state, a common law duty of care to “refrain from causing foreseeable harm in interactions with others,” a duty imposed upon everyone, not just official actors like police or other peace officers.  Thus, there is no conflict between allowing a negligence case to proceed against a police officer and the policy underlying the public duty doctrine so long as a plaintiff’s case is not attempting to place a greater duty of care on the officer than would exist for any other member of the public.

In conclusion, our Supreme Court in Beltran-Serrano summed up that if police and other public officers “do act, they have a duty to act with reasonable care.”  Washington Law Center understands the complex law that applies to situations of police and other public officer brutality against members of the public.  We have achieved numerous seven figure ($1 million or above) settlements and verdicts on behalf of our personal injury clients, including those who have been negligently harmed at the hands of public officials.  If you believe you may have a police brutality claim, or other negligent or intentional tort case against a public officer, please give us a call for a free consultation.

L&I Claim - Does My Doctor Care?

I Want Resolution In My L&I Claim But Does My Doctor Even Care?

May 22nd, 2019 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “I Want Resolution In My L&I Claim But Does My Doctor Even Care?”

If you have been injured on the job you know how difficult it can be to feel heard. At times, your doctor doesn’t seem to be listening anymore even after you followed all the instructions to get better. Why does it feel like he or she doesn’t care anymore and what can you do to fix it?

Most doctors care deeply about their patients and want to do everything possible to help them heal and return to full-time employment. But doctors are human too, and their job has similarities to any other. After years of fighting with L&I, you can expect your doctor to get a little tired of filling out endless forms, dealing with their treatment guidelines, and having their suggestions being ignored or denied. So how can you help support your doctor and keep your L&I claim on track?

Express Your Gratitude For Their Assistance

This is a simple gesture that works wonders to help revitalize your relationship with your doctor. Doctors don’t often hear that they are appreciated. Especially when an L&I claim is involved, your doctor is doing a lot of extra administrative work for a lower than average reimbursement rate. Whether it’s filling out paperwork, talking to your claims manager, sending referrals or treatment requests, your doctor does a lot of behind the scenes work with your L&I claim. Make sure your doctor knows how much you appreciate them for are going the extra mile for you. A good relationship with your doctor could make all the difference on your claim so be sure to sincerely express gratitude at every visit.

Offer To Help Your Doctor

Even though your doctor likely knows how to handle basic L&I paperwork it’s always nice to offer a helping hand, especially when more technical issues are being addressed. Make sure your doctor has the ability to get in touch with your attorney if they have questions or need someone to follow up on a treatment request. Given their busy work schedules, doctors often don’t have time to talk on the phone. Your attorney and doctor should exchange multiple forms of contact information like an email address or cell phone number (when appropriate) to help eliminate phone tag and keep your claim moving forward.

For example, at Washington Law Center, doctors commonly call us to communicate what they plan to accomplish for their patients. Our attorneys can draft appropriate correspondence in the doctor’s name to reflect the treatment plan with the technical legal standards that apply. Washington Law Center then emails the proposed draft back to the doctor for final review and editing, so the final product is theirs and they can stand by it.

Change Doctors For Your L&I Claim

Sometimes your doctor is no longer able to treat you. This can happen for several reasons. Sometimes your doctor needs to refer you to a specialist, requests you get a second opinion, or is stepping away from that area of practice. In some cases, your doctor simply may not know what else can be done for you. Changing doctors will have a significant impact on your claim so it should not be done hastily. Speaking with your attorney’s office about possible changes will help ensure that you are transferring your care in the best way possible. An experienced L&I attorney can help you avoid the appearance of doctor shopping and keep the Department of Labor & Industries updated with all relevant claim contacts.

Regardless of your situation, having an open dialogue with your doctor is key to understanding their treatment recommendations and can help you get back to work as soon as possible. The attorneys at Washington Law Center understand the complex emotions behind choosing an attending provider. Let our experienced attorneys guide you through this process and help advocate for any doctor’s requests related to your L&I case. Don’t wait for treatment to be denied or allow your doctor to get frustrated when you can get competent, caring legal counsel to assist with your case.

Contact the attorneys at Washington Law Center today for your free consultation!

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Understanding Elevator Injury Cases In Washington State

May 17th, 2019 Posted by Personal Injury 0 comments on “Understanding Elevator Injury Cases In Washington State”

Elevator Maintenance and Safety Precautions

As an elevator passenger, your only concern should be with getting where we need to go floor wise. Typically, you do not assess whether or not the mechanics of an elevator are in prime working condition. Too often they are not and this can lead to a life-changing elevator injury that occurs in an instant.  

An elevator that is misleveled or has unsafe components, such as old or faulty parts, is very often found to be the source of elevator accidents resulting in an injury. If an elevator cab sits even a fraction of an inch above or below the floor, passengers getting in and out of the elevator are at risk of tripping and falling.

There are a number of very precise movements and parts that need to be tested and calibrated regularly for the safe transport of people in elevators. Perhaps the most terrifying is a fatal accident that can occur from a lack of proper maintenance that results in a cab drop where an elevator falls uncontrollably from a tall distance.

Elevator Injury Case Investigation and Litigation

The attorneys of Washington Law Center have first-hand experience investigating and litigating elevator injury cases. More importantly, we have successfully recovered significant awards for people injured in elevator mishaps. Often times, elevator incidents that occur as a result of faulty maintenance or operation are ignored to save money or time. It is truly profits over passenger safety.  

Washington state law dictates that those operating an elevator are subject to “common carrier” liability. Meaning that as a passenger, you are owed the highest duty of care when it comes to safe transport. This is a higher standard than mere reasonable care.

How To Handle An Elevator Injury Case

If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator incident in Washington, there is help. The personal injury lawyers of Washington Law Center have successfully investigated and litigated on behalf of elevator injury victims and won! Please call Washington Law Center today for a free consultation.

Do I need an IME for Personal Injury lawsuit?

IME For My Personal Injury Lawsuit – What’s The Purpose And Do I Need To Go?

May 15th, 2019 Posted by Auto Accidents, Personal Injury 0 comments on “IME For My Personal Injury Lawsuit – What’s The Purpose And Do I Need To Go?”

Do I need to go to an IME for my personal injury lawsuit?

You filed a lawsuit for your personal injury and now your attorney is asking when you’re available for an IME or independent medical examination. A natural first instinct is to question why you need to be examined by a doctor who does not know you or your medical history. Medical examinations are inherently personal and can be a bit intrusive. It’s reasonable for someone to have concerns about divulging their medical information to someone whom they are unfamiliar, so why is this happening?

Continue Reading IME For My Personal Injury Lawsuit – What’s The Purpose And Do I Need To Go?

Injured at Western State Psychiatric Hospital? Contact Washington Law Center

Injured At Western State Psychiatric Hospital?

March 15th, 2019 Posted by Labor & Industries, Personal Injury 0 comments on “Injured At Western State Psychiatric Hospital?”

If you’re from the Pacific Northwest chances are you’ve heard of Western State Hospital, located in Lakewood, Washington. Western State, as it’s often referred to, began in 1870 as one of the first mental health facilities in our state and was the main facility servicing McNeil Correctional Facility.
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