If you’ve been a victim of one of these crimes, our personal injury attorneys in Seattle and personal injury attorneys in Tacoma are committed to helping you obtain fair compensation and justice.
We want to help your family cover medical costs and lost wages. Washington Law Center is here to protect you and your family’s overall quality of life.
“Personal injury” is a broad legal term that encompasses many types of accidents and injuries. In the legal system, injuries caused by an auto accident, medical malpractice, a dog bite, clergy abuse, a slip and fall on another’s property are examples of personal injury. Similarly, a defective product or drug can cause a personal injury or wrongful death. Medical malpractice, such as mistakes that occur during the delivery process and cause birth injuries, like cerebral palsy or Erbs palsy, can also constitute the basis of a personal injury claim. Victims of elder abuse committed by caretakers or in nursing homes also can pursue a personal injury action for physical and emotional injuries. When a personal injury results in the victim’s death, the next of kin may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Some people presume that there is no reason to retain a personal injury attorney following a car accident, construction accident or other event that causes significant injury. The insurance adjuster for the wrongdoer might seem friendly and amicable. Many injury victims presume that this means the insurance company for a negligent driver or other wrongdoer will act reasonably in settling a claim. However, the insurance industry did not become one of the largest segments of our economy by paying all valid claims and maximizing payouts.
Insurance companies have teams of investigators, insurance defense attorneys and experts all focused on increasing the company’s bottom line by minimizing settlements and judgments. An insurance adjuster might ask you to exercise a release to obtain medical records or loss of employment documentation, but the release will often permit access to a broad range of information that you are not obligated to provide. Similarly, the insurance carrier may ask you to agree to a recorded statement, so “your claim can be processed”. This recorded statement actually is designed to obtain evidence that compromises your claim, so you should avoid this form of insurance company trap.
Whether it be helping a client obtain a rental car, finding a doctor who will wait for payment, or fighting with insurance companies in the courtroom, our experienced personal injury lawyers in Washington will be there to help you. Just as no one would attempt to perform their own heart surgery, successfully navigating the legal process requires a skilled and experienced professional.
Serious personal injury lawyers recognize common insurance company traps and litigation pitfalls, so they can guide you through the process. A proven personal injury law firm also will have the financial ability to properly investigate and litigate your case. At the Washington Law Center, we work with a wide range of experts to develop a strong case based on the facts and law, so we can seek the fullest recovery for our clients.
The statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death cases in Washington is three (3) years from the date of injury. Special circumstances exist for cases involving minors for whom the statute of limitations begins to run on the minor’s 18th birthday.
Actions against health care providers must be filed within three (3) years of the date that the act giving rise to the injury occurred or within one (1) year after the date the injury was, or should have been, discovered, whichever is later. With the exception of cases involving fraudulent concealment or presence of a foreign object in the body, a medical malpractice action must be filed within eight (8) years after the act giving rise to the injury occurred. A parent’s knowledge of a medical malpractice injury to his or her minor child is imputed on the parent.
Product liability actions must be brought within three (3) years after the plaintiff suffers the injury or within three (3) years of the date when the injury was, or should have been, discovered. Furthermore, no suit may be brought outside the “useful” life of a product as defined by state statute.
When the negligence of a municipality responsible for maintaining a roadway, a public hospital or other public agency or employee cause injury, there are special procedures and rules that must be satisfied under our state’s tort claim act. Tort claims acts often impose notice requirements that are shorter than the statute of limitations. Failure to comply with these special procedures can bar claims against the public entity.
Many attorneys have never worked on a wrongful or consequential death claim during their career. They may not understand the benefits available to survivors, which extend beyond the money obtained through a wrongful death, negligence suit. For instance, there may be Social Security survivor’s benefits, Labor and Industries (Workers’ Compensation) benefits, or life insurance benefits about which the survivors are unaware.
A wrongful death lawsuit may arise in a workers’ compensation case, such as where an employee of one contractor is negligently killed by the employees of another contractor on the same construction site. In this situation, the survivors may seek to collect death benefits directly from the Department of Labor and Industries with respect to the decedent’s employer, and then maintain a negligence suit against the person (and company) at-fault.
A wrongful death claim may arise out of a car accident. Often, people think they are not allowed to recover damages if the negligent party is a relative. This is not always true, so if somebody has died due to the fault of another, even if the person at fault is a family member, please contact Washington Law Center to learn when such a suit can and cannot be maintained in Washington courts.
A wrongful death suit may also arise out of a medical malpractice claim. Everyone knows that if a surgeon negligently causes death during a surgery, the surgeon may be sued for medical malpractice. However, what about if a knee surgeon negligently causes damage to a patient’s knee, and that requires the patient to then undergo a second, revision surgery in which the patient then dies as an accident incident to the proper use of general anesthetic. In such a circumstance, the anesthesiologist cannot be sued for medical malpractice since an accident (a merely “unfortunate” outcome) is different than a case of negligence where the anesthesiologist can be properly blamed due to a mistake which should not have been made. Still, the original knee surgeon can be sued for the wrongful death since all the possible ramifications of the original malpractice, including the potential for an unfortunate and fatal (but not negligent) outcome in a revision surgery, will be attributed to the original knee surgeon.
A wrongful death lawsuit can also be maintained against a prescription medication manufacturer. For instance, the medication Yazmine (“Yaz”) is a birth-control agent which is known to cause deep vein thrombosis leading to pulmonary embolism (“DVT leading to PE”). A pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency and may cause death. If Yaz causes such a result, the manufacturer can be sued on a theory of wrongful death.
A wrongful death lawsuit may also be the result of negligent manufacture of a product which is then released into the stream of commerce. Virtually any product, from baby items such as strollers, cribs and high chairs to adult Items such as automobiles with accelerators which stick can lead to wrongful death of a consumer. If this happens, a products liability, wrongful death action is the legal remedy available.