Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA
Car Accident Attorneys Edmonds, WA
Even if you are a cautious, defensive driver, accidents will still happen. You can’t control everyone on the road, and a collision may be unavoidable. When a crash occurs, you may have legal options to help you get money damages for the losses you experience from the accident. Learning about those options may seem overwhelming, especially with an insurance company urging you to settle your claim right away. You don’t have to make hasty decisions; take the time to evaluate your case with the help of an personal injury attorneys Edmonds, WA.
Some car accidents are severe enough to affect you for the rest of your life. You need a knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA to walk you through your options and help you prepare your case so you can present it in the best light possible to an insurance company, judge, or jury. You don’t have to go through this alone—let us put our experience to work for you.
Basics of Washington Car Accident Law
Washington is a “fault” state. That means that when a car accident occurs in Washington, it’s the other driver that caused the accident who is legally responsible for your losses and injuries caused by the collision. Unfortunately, getting the other driver to admit fault and pay for the full value of your losses is rarely easy. Thankfully, having a car accident lawyer on your side can significantly increase your chances of getting the money damages that you deserve after a car accident.
Every driver in Washington is required to have liability insurance coverage. That means that when you are in a crash, it’s really the insurance company that pays for your damages, up to the value of the insurance coverage. However, you may also have insurance coverage of your own that applies as well, such as:
- No-fault coverage;
- Med-pay; or
- Coverage just for property damage.
No fault coverage allows you to turn to your own insurance company to pay you for your losses first. However, even if your insurance company should be paying you, that doesn’t mean that they automatically will. In some situations, your insurance company can be just as challenging to work with as another driver’s company.
It’s important to keep in mind that every insurance company really has one goal: to make money. They make more money when they pay you less on your claims, regardless of whether you are their insured or someone who was hurt because of their insured. To guarantee that an insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you or your situation, you need a personal injury lawyer who has experience dealing with cases like yours.
Money Damages Available in a Car Accident Case
You may experience significant losses and injuries after a collision. In fact, you may not realize right now just how much this accident will affect the rest of your life.
The law can never really make up for the injuries and losses you experience. There is often nothing that can completely heal your wounds. Washington law allows you to collect money damage for your losses, even for those losses or damages that you cannot quantify, such as your pain and suffering.
Potential damages available to you after a car accident may include:
- Medical expenses
- Reimbursement for prescriptions and medical equipment
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Any reduction in the quality of your life is something that should be included in your lawsuit as well.
Insurance companies try to settle car accident claims right away for a couple of reasons. First, they want to conclude the case as fast as possible because it gets the potential loss off of their books. Second, many car accident victims don’t know or understand the extent of their injuries right away after a collision.
For example, you, and even your medical provider, may not know how you will react to certain types of medical treatment. If you don’t respond well, additional treatment and added expense may be necessary. You may also miss more work than you anticipated while you recover as well. It is difficult to predict how some damages or losses will affect you for years to come. Getting a car accident lawyer will help you get the right information you need to determine the compensation you need to adequately address your losses and damages.
How Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA Can Help You
Many people make the mistake of thinking that they can handle their car accident case themselves. While you can take on an insurance company on your own, you are far more likely to be completely compensated for your losses if you have a Washington car accident attorney. Insurance companies not only deal with car accident claims every day, but they also have experienced lawyers on call to defend claims like yours. You can even the playing field by getting your own highly experienced attorney to help you with your case.
Your car accident Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA will help you:
- Gather information about the other driver and his or her insurance company
- Talk to witnesses
- Get police reports and speak with the officer involved
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Navigate the often-confusing legal process
- Present your case to a judge or jury
- Arrange for experts to recreate the accident or estimate the value of your damages
Having Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA takes a lot of the stress and confusion out of your personal injury case. Your lawyer acts as your advocate and protects your interests throughout the entire process. Having an experienced lawyer lets you focus on recovering after your accident, instead of stressing about your legal case.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Seriously Injured in a Car Accident?
If you’re seriously injured in a car accident in Washington, what you should do while you’re still at the scene is collect as much of the evidence as possible. That would include taking photographs and collecting the other driver’s insurance information, which is very important. It’s much harder to track that down after the fact. Call the police. If it’s a serious wreck, you definitely want to get that documented. If there are witnesses, be sure you get their name and contact information. If you’re injured, most importantly, seek medical attention. You want to be sure that if you don’t need an ambulance to come to the scene, that you do that within 24 hours. Go to a walk-in clinic and be sure that you document what’s hurting and that you’re hurting because of a crash.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid After a Car Accident?
We see a couple of mistakes that car accident victims in Washington commonly make. One would be making a recorded statement to the insurance company. From the outset, you’re going to probably get a call within a day or two of the crash and your answer to even common questions will be used against you later. Don’t take that call if you don’t need to, and definitely don’t provide a recorded statement to the insurance company.
The second most common mistake that we have is people not documenting their injuries. If you come Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA two months after the crash and you’ve been hurting that entire time, but you never saw a doctor for your injuries, your case is very difficult. The third thing that we see people making mistakes on in personal injury claims in Washington is not consistently following your doctor’s instructions. If you go to the doctor and your doctor says you should seek massage two times a week and instead you’re going once every month, that’s a problem. Be sure that you’re following your doctor’s instructions and that you’re doing all you can to get better, because that’s going to build not only a stronger case, but improve your chances for making a physical recovery.
How Do I Choose The Best Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA For My Case?
In Washington, if you’re looking at selecting the best Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA for your claim, you want to be sure that you do your research, so pick an Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA that’s experienced in personal injury law. What you want to look for is a firm that handles only personal injury cases. A lot of firms dabble in personal injury and you don’t want a lawyer that just dabbles in your type of law. It’d be like going to an orthopedic surgeon who dabbles in brain surgery. That’s not the doctor you want for your brain surgery, and that’s certainly not the lawyer you want. Be sure you have the right attorney with the right expertise.
The other thing you want to look at is that Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA track record. Is this an Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA that goes to court? Is this an attorney that goes to trial? Insurance companies keep track of all of that and if you have an attorney that actually will take your case to trial, the insurance company will pay more value on your case than they would an attorney who caves in every time your case gets difficult.
The other thing that you want to look for is Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA that’s the best fit for you. I always recommend that you talk to a couple of attorneys by phone and that when you decide on the attorney that you like, that you meet them in person. This is a long-term relationship you’ll have with someone, and you want to be sure that it’s the right fit.
Should I Speak To The Insurance Company After My Accident?
If you’re involved in a car accident in Washington, it is never a good idea to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company. It is okay to touch base with the insurance company to find out who your claim adjuster is, and to confirm that there is coverage, but you’re definitely not required to provide them with a recorded statement. If you hire an attorney early on, which you should, then an attorney would handle all of that communication for you.
What Is Personal Injury Protection Insurance?
Washington, we have this great coverage called personal injury protection, or PIP, which is mandatory coverage that’s required to be on every vehicle, unless you explicitly signed away your right to this coverage. Check your policy because most likely, you have this coverage
What PIP does is it pays for your medical benefits regardless of who’s at fault. If you’re at fault for a crash, your medical bills get paid. If somebody else is at fault, your medical bills still get paid. The benefit of having PIP coverage is that you get treatment without a co-pay or a deductible, so you don’t have to worry about going to the ER and getting stuck with a huge bill afterward. You can get the treatment that you need and those bills will get paid.
The minimum coverage in Washington is $10,000, which is what most people have, and you’ll probably know from seeing an ER bill that that coverage can get wiped out pretty quickly. There are options to continue coverage after that, usually through your own health insurance or through providers treating you on what’s called the lien, meaning that they wait until your case settles to get paid. That’s something that an experienced personal injury attorney can help you walk through.
What Should I Do After a Ridesharing Accident?
With Uber and Lyft becoming more common ways to travel in our society, one question you may have is, “What do I do if I’m involved in a car accident in Washington while I’m in an Uber or Lyft?” A couple of things to keep in mind. One is that, typically Uber and Lyft drivers will be covered by higher levels of coverage than the average Joe driving on the street, so you should be well-covered, in most cases, up to a million dollars.
The second thing to keep in mind is that Washington recently passed a law providing no-fault coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers. What that means is that your medical bills, if you’re a passenger in an Uber or Lyft, would be covered by the Uber or Lyft insurance company. The third thing to keep in mind is that, if you are involved in an Uber or Lyft case, you really need an attorney. This is one of the most difficult insurance companies to reach, and so you’re probably going to have to put dozens of phone calls out there before anybody returns a call. This is the reason why you hire an attorney to advocate on your behalf.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Washington?
Here’s a couple of things that you should know. First is that the statute of limitations in Washington is three years. That means that you need to either settle your case, or file a lawsuit before that three-year deadline. The second thing to keep in mind is that, if your case involves a governmental entity, you may have less time, so you want to get on that sooner rather than later.
The third and most important thing to keep in mind is not to wait until the last minute. We need to work on cases while they are still fresh. If you’re going to hire an attorney, you should do that sooner rather than later, while witness recollection is still fresh, and while evidence is still easy to track down. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is for an attorney to assist you with your case, because it is harder to track down evidence.
Do I Have a Claim If I Was Hit By An Uninsured Driver?
Occasionally, we have a car accident client in Washington who comes to our office and they’re in the unfortunate situation where the person who hits them has no insurance or very limited insurance. What we do in those circumstances is explore whether there may be other coverage. A mandatory coverage in Washington is called “under-insured motorist coverage” or “UIM” which would be coverage that steps into the shoes of the person who hits you. It’s very important to review your policy, or take your policy to your attorney, to be sure that that extra coverage is explored, because you may have coverage that will cover your injuries in the event that the person who hits you doesn’t have insurance. That would be the same if the person who hits you has very little insurance, and you could stack this type of coverage on their insurance so that you have a bigger pool of money to pull from.
How Much is My Car Accident Case Worth?
When meeting with new clients, one of the most common questions that we get about car accident cases in Washington is, “What is my case worth?” That’s a really difficult question to answer at the outset of a case because there are a number of factors that will determine your case value, and many of those factors aren’t known until you’re done with treatment.
There’s going to be three primary factors that determine the value of your case. The first is what your injuries are. Again, you don’t typically know the full extent of your injuries within a week of the crash, so it’s going to take weeks, if not months, to get a full picture of what your injuries are. Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries, the more your case is worth.
The second thing that will determine the value of your case is your treatment and medical bills. Generally speaking, the greater your medical bills, the more your case is worth. I’d give a caveat there that the type of treatment you get matters. A $20,000 chiropractic bill is not going to be weighed as heavily as a $20,000 surgical bill, for example.
The third thing that’s going to determine the value of your case would be the type of recovery you make. If you make a full recovery and at the end of treatment you’re feeling great, just like you did before the crash, then that’s fantastic, but that means your case is worth less than, for example, somebody who treats and never fully recovers from their injury. What a personal injury attorney will do at the end of your treatment is assess all of those factors and give you a settlement range, so they’ll tell you your case is worth between X and Y and help you make a decision about how to best get you into that range.
How Long Will It Take for My Car Accident Case to Settle?
What gauges the length of case takes is the time you’re going to need to treat. An attorney cannot settle your case while you’re still being treated. If you settle your case today, it’s not going to cover your medical bills next week or next month.
An attorney needs to be sure that all of your treatment is complete before they look at settlement. The longer you treat, the longer your case takes. As a general rule, what you’re looking at in most cases is that from the date you stop treatment, a settlement should take place within three to five months of that, depending on how quickly we can collect the evidence related to your case.
Contact Our Office for Guidance
Contact the team at Certa Law Group in Edmonds, WA to learn more about what we can do for you. You can schedule a free case evaluation to meet your potential attorney and our team. We want to be sure we are the right fit for your needs before we get started, and our consultation process is a no-obligation way to learn more about your legal rights and options after a car accident in Washington. Call today for more information.
Truck Accident Attorney Edmonds, WA
Accidents involving a semi-truck or heavy trucks are extremely serious. Thousands of these accidents occur every year. They can cause serious injuries that can permanently change how the victim lives their life. Many of these accidents are deadly and rob a family of income, love, and affection. If you or someone you love was involved in one of these catastrophic accidents, contact a Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA right away. You only have three years after the date of the accident to file your claim. Call us as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation. We’ll let you know if you have a valid legal claim. If you do, we’ll explain your next steps and how we can help you protect your legal rights.
Why Do Truck Accidents Happen?
Semi-trucks and many heavy trucks require a special license known as a CDL to drive. To get that license, a person must pass a state test. If the driver wishes to haul certain types of material, they must undergo even more specialized training and pass tests to get an endorsement for those materials. With all of the education and testing, why do truck accidents happen? Given the weather in Washington, how often does the weather play a big role?
Less than 10% of truck accidents have anything to do with the weather. The most common causes of truck accidents include distracted driving by the truck driver, speeding, fatigue, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an improperly loaded trailer, and failure to properly maintain the truck.
Distracted driving. Distracted driving, also known as E-DUI when an electronic device is involved, makes holding cellphones, putting on makeup, or eating and driving illegal. In essence, distracted driving may be considered any action that causes the driver of any vehicle, including truck drivers, to not put their full attention onto the road. Distracted driving is particularly dangerous when we’re dealing with vehicles that can be as much as ten times heavier than a passenger vehicle.
Speeding. If there’s one very important factor about semi-trucks and heavy trucks you should know, it is that they cannot stop as fast as a passenger vehicle or truck. Since they’re heavier, it takes them longer to stop. Speeding truck drivers may not have adequate time to react if they run into a traffic jam or if another vehicle suddenly pulls out or swerves in front of them. Speeding is one of the main causes of these types of accidents.
Fatigue. Both state and federal laws determine how long a truck driver may be on the road. Yet, despite these laws, which are created to help ensure that drivers are well-rested, truck drivers may be pressured to try and meet unrealistic or unreasonable deadlines by the company they work for or by the company that contracted them to make the delivery. When a driver is overly tired, they will not react as quickly as they should. It can also inhibit their ability to measure distance.
Driving while under the influence. As a professional driver with a CDL, truck drivers have a different standard when it comes to driving while under the influence. Someone who gets behind the wheel of a passenger vehicle isn’t considered to be driving while under the influence unless their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is .08% or higher. Someone with a CDL may not have a BAC higher than .04%. Also, many prescription drugs and OTC drugs may also cause impairment.
Improperly loaded trailer. Drivers aren’t always responsible for loading and securing the trailer. When a trailer isn’t properly loaded and secured, the load may shift when the driver takes a turn or even when the driver accelerates or brakes. When the load shifts, the trailer may roll, jack knife, or propel the cab of the truck to continue to move forward causing an accident.
Failure to properly maintain the truck. Proper and regular maintenance is a necessity for semi-trucks and heavy trucks. When these vehicles aren’t maintained, the chance of an accident increases. Sometimes, the truck driver isn’t the responsible party. Other potential responsible parties include, but may not be limited to, the trucking company, the contracted maintenance company, the mechanic assigned to the vehicle, or even the manufacturer of a part.
How Can Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA Help?
An Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA can help victims and their families in several ways. We can help you determine who is at fault for an accident. Truck accidents are complex. There may be more than one person (or company) responsible for your injuries. We can help you determine who should be named as a defendant.
We can also help you with the settlement process. Settlement negotiations often take place before a lawsuit is filed. The settlement process is often less stressful, less expensive, and takes less time than a lawsuit. Yet, insurance companies and trucking companies don’t always want to take full responsibility for their actions. They may offer you less than your claim is worth. They may try to pressure you into signing a settlement agreement. We can let you know whether it’s in your best interest to sign a settlement agreement or if the negotiations process should continue. It’s important that you don’t sign anything without first having an attorney look over the document. Signing a legally binding agreement could strip you of valuable legal rights and even the ability for future medical care for your on-going injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident Injury?
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Washington state, there are several things you need to do. If possible, the first thing you should do is call the police officer and have a police report made. The second thing you should do, if possible, is take photographs at the scene of the accident. Nowadays, most people have cell phones and that’s something that’s very simple to do, if possible. The third thing you need to do is get medical treatment and have yourself examined by a doctor. The fourth thing you should do is contact an experienced personal injury attorney who’s handled truck accidents in the past, since they are different than the average everyday automobile collision.
Is a Truck Accident Claim Different From a Car Accident Claim?
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident claim, you need to know that it’s different than your typical automobile accident case. Truck companies are held to a higher standard than the typical driver. Trucking companies will hire these drivers and they have to do background checks. They have to monitor how long the drivers are driving, and make sure they get rest. They have to inspect and fix the trucks on a regular basis, keep logs, and keep records. It’s different than a typical automobile accident case.
For instance, a good example would be the driver that injured Tracy Morgan, who was driving for Walmart. In that case, it was alleged that that driver had been driving for 20 hours longer than what he was supposed to and Walmart was held responsible for that. There are nuances and differences that an experienced attorney would know.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid After a Truck Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident in Washington state, there are some dos and don’ts. First of all, absolutely do not speak with an insurance company or the attorney for the trucking company. Their job is to get information that’s going to help their case and hurt yours. Second is, do not hesitate to get medical treatment. If you are hurt, seek medical treatment right away and have your injuries documented. One of the arguments we hear from the trucking companies are, “If he or she was hurt, why didn’t they get medical treatment right away?”
Third is, don’t delay in speaking with an attorney. Trucking accidents are different than automobile accidents in that, for instance, the trucks that are operated contain black boxes and those black boxes contain vital information that an attorney can get for the case right away that you might not be able to get. Fourth is, hire the right type of attorney. Do not hire a general practice attorney who’s doing wills, estates, divorce, and business law. You want to hire an attorney who does personal injury and who’s handled trucking accident cases in the past.
How Do I Choose the Best Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA for My Case?
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Washington and need an attorney, you should hire an attorney who’s qualified to handle these types of cases. They’re different than the standard automobile accident case, so you should hire an attorney who does personal injury and who’s handled truck accident cases in the past. If possible, hire an attorney who has some experience in defending these cases as well, since those attorneys typically have information that they can use against the trucking industry and turn the tables on them to benefit your case. Fourth, hire an attorney who is prepared to go to trial and that will prepare your case like it will go to trial. Although settlement is always a possibility, it’s not guaranteed, and you need to be ready to go all the way.
What are the Steps in a Truck Accident Claim?
Handling a truck accident injury claim in Washington is almost like handling most personal injury cases, in that you have to focus on medical treatment and getting better. Once you’ve either plateaued, reached maximum medical improvement, or reached pre-accident condition, then at that point you can start negotiating with the trucking company and see if you can get a fast settlement. If you cannot get a fast settlement, then you have to start a lawsuit, so it’s important that you hire the right type of attorney to handle these types of cases. Truck accidents are different than automobile accidents. There are different steps involved, so it’s important to get an experienced attorney.
Should I Speak to the Insurance Company?
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Washington state, absolutely do not speak with anybody from the insurance company for the trucking industry or their attorney. Their job is not to gather information to help you, but to gather information to help the trucking company.
Should I Take the First Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company?
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Washington state and an insurance company reaches out to try and settle that case, the odds are that it’s not going to be a fair settlement. Insurance companies are notorious for low-balling people who are unrepresented by Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Washington state and an insurance company is reaching out to you to settle that case, make sure you contact an experienced personal injury attorney, such as us, to see what they can do for you.
How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Claim in Washington?
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in Washington state, you have three years to file a claim, but it’s important that you not wait three years or even two years. Witnesses forget things. People get lost. Defendants are hard to find. You want to get an attorney right away who can interview the witnesses, find the defendant, the driver, and protect the evidence and get the facts necessary to prosecute your claim later. A lot of these truck companies hire drivers who go from state-to-state and they cannot be found that easily, so you do not want to wait until the last minute
How Do I Determine the Value of My Truck Accident Claim?
If you’re hurt in a truck accident case in Washington and you’re trying to figure out how much your case is worth, it’s almost impossible to know that right off the bat. That’s going to be dependent on what your injuries are, how long your recovery time is, whether you have any permanent injuries, and whether you missed time from work. There’re many factors that make it impossible to know the true value of the case at the outset. As time progresses and months go by, an attorney may be able to better estimate what the case would be worth at that time.
How Long Will It Take for My Truck Accident Case to Settle?
If you’re involved in a truck accident in Washington and you’ve suffered injuries, and you need to bring a claim, it’s going to take some time. It’s impossible to tell how long it takes for that case to resolve. A lot of it will be dependent on your recovery time, and a lot of it will be dependent on whether litigation is necessary. Obviously, if you don’t need to file a lawsuit and you can settle the claim, it will take less time. If you and the insurance company are not able to agree on what your damages are worth, and you need to file a lawsuit, typically it will be between 12 and 18 months after you file a lawsuit until you go to trial.
Contact Us If You Want to Learn More
If you were hurt in an accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses, future medical care, rehabilitative care, missed time from work, permanent disfigurement, disability, pain and suffering, and more. Families who lost their loved one may also be entitled to final expenses as well as loss of companionship. If you’re ready to learn more, schedule your free consultation with one of our Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA right away.
Slip and Fall Attorneys Edmonds, WA
When you trip or slip because of someone else’s carelessness, you may have a legal claim to help you deal with your losses from the fall, including medical expenses and lost time away from work. In fact, falls are one of the leading causes of accidental injuries in the United States. You need to speak with Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA like the ones at Certa Law Group to fully explore your rights after this type of accident.
Proving Your Slip and Fall Claim in Washington
Property owners are required to maintain their property in a way that is safe for both visitors and guests. When maintenance is inadequate or when there is a condition that is dangerous, the property owner or manager could be legally responsible for your slip and fall injuries. Some common examples include:
- Debris or wet floors in shopping centers
- Poor sidewalk maintenance
- Tears in carpeting or uneven flooring
- Unmarked dangerous conditions
- Failure to adequately clear property from ice and snow
However, just because a hazardous condition exists, does not automatically mean that the property owner will have to pay for your damage. Instead, you have to prove several things to have a successful slip and fall case in Washington.
- The owner owed you a duty of care. The property owner has a legal obligation to keep his or her property safe for customers and visitors. However, the owner doesn’t necessarily have to ensure that trespassers are safe on the property.
- That duty was violated. You must show that the property owner did not care for the premises as they should have. Failure to maintain or the clean the property can breach the duty of care. If the property owner knows of a dangerous condition and does nothing about it (such as fix it or warn you about it), then that can also violate the duty of care.
- The violation caused the trip or slip and fall. There must be a direct connection between the property owner’s failure to keep up or maintain their property and the reason you fell. For example, if you fall because you tripped over your own feet, it will not matter that the property owner had not fixed a tear in the carpet that was a tripping hazard.
- Your fall caused damages. The last requirement of every slip and fall case is that you must have suffered some kind of damage as a result of the fall. This could be something as serious as a traumatic brain injury or as simple as some scrapes and bruises.
Gathering information and evidence is vital to prove these facts in your case. A Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA can help you with this process.
Comparative Fault for Slip and Fall Claims in Washington
You may assume that, because you were not watching where you were going at the time of the fall, you do not have a legal claim. This may not necessarily be true. Instead, your fall may be partly your fault and partly the property owner’s error. When this happens, you still have an option to start a legal claim, but your damages may be reduced by your percentage of the blame.
Some of the most common defenses to a slip and fall claim cast blame on you. These might include things like:
- Failure to watch where you were going
- Ignoring warning signs or barriers
- Failing to see an otherwise obvious condition
- Wearing shoes that were not appropriate for the conditions
All of these arguments could decrease your damages, but they may not completely stomp out your claim. That is because Washington uses a system called “comparative fault.” That means that each person should bear their portion of the blame in a slip and fall case.
Consider an example. Imagine that you were walking along a sidewalk while texting a friend. You trip over an uneven surface where the sidewalk had broken. There are two general causes to this incident:
- You were not watching where you were going; and
- The property owner did not repair a cracked sidewalk when he knew it was broken and dangerous.
A jury will assign fault based on percentage. In this example, they might assign you 30% of the responsibility and the property owner 70% of the blame. For instance, if your damages are worth $10,000, then the most you can receive is $7,000, which would be 70% of the $10,000 total.
In this situation, an insurance company may try to convince you that your claim is worthless because you are partially to blame for the fall. Don’t let an insurance company trick you. You still have a legal claim even when you may have been partly at fault. Instead, use a Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA to evaluate your potential share of the blame to determine how much your claim is really worth.
Starting Your Slip and Claim in Washington
Similar to virtually every legal claim, slip and fall incidents have a time limit that you must follow to start your lawsuit. The statute of limitations for this type of claim is three years. However, if your case is against a public entity, your timeline might be much shorter.
If you try to start your case after this deadline, it will likely be dismissed. There are some exceptions to this general rule, but they are rare for this type of situation. It is best to speak with a slip and fall attorney as soon as you can after the incident. That way, your memory about what happened is fresh in your mind, and it is easier to gather evidence and witness statements.
Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA can help you evaluate your situation to determine what you should do next. If you are not sure whether you have a case, meeting with our experienced team is a great way to find out. Call today to schedule an appointment or to get more information.
Frequently Asked Questions | Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
There are four things that you should keep in mind. First of all, you want to hire an attorney who only does personal injury. Avoid attorneys who do general practice.
The second thing you want to do is hire an attorney who’s handled these types of cases in the past. Experience is very important in slip and fall cases. In fact, many Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA do not even take slip and fall cases. Our firm takes slip and fall cases. We find them challenging, and we have a very high success rate in these types of cases.
The third thing, if you can, hire an attorney who has insurance defense background, who’s defended these cases for the insurance companies in the past. At our firm, I am that attorney. I’ve handled insurance defense cases for the insurance companies in the past. I know how they think. I know how they prepare a case for trial, so I can turn the tables and use that experience against them.
The fourth thing you want to do is make sure you hire an attorney who’s going to prepare the case for trial. Some attorneys think that case will settle and won’t be prepared for trial, if and when that time comes. You want to avoid those attorneys as well. We prepare all our cases as if they will be going to trial and not settle.
Do I Have a Claim If I’m Hurt on Faulty Steps?
If you have fallen down a stairway due to faulty steps in Washington state, you probably have a case. There are a lot of questions that need to be resolved and investigated before that answer can be determined though. Were there handrails in place? Were the handrails and steps up to code? Did the steps deviate in height? We investigate these cases. We hire an expert such as an architect or an engineer to investigate whether there were code violations and whether or not you have a case.
Do I Have a Claim If There Was a Warning Sign?
If you’ve been involved in a slip and fall accident in Washington state and there were warning signs or warning cones about the condition that caused you to slip and fall or trip and fall, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot be compensated for your injuries. Where were these warning signs placed? Where were the cones placed? Were they visible to the patron in the store? It’s all fact-dependent, so don’t think that you don’t have a case just because there were warning signs or cones placed.
What Mistakes Can I Avoid?
If you’ve been involved in a slip and fall incident in Washington, there are certain mistakes we want you to avoid. First of all, do not walk away from the scene without documenting it. Take pictures if possible. Nowadays, many people have cell phones, so that’s easy to do.
The second thing to do is get medical attention right away. In fact, we had a potential client call us the other day, and she was involved in a slip and fall accident in a supermarket. She slipped and she did not fall down all the way. What happened was she grabbed onto the grocery cart, but she still twisted her knee. Although she thought it was a slight sprain, she didn’t seek medical attention. Several days later, her knee gave out on her.
Her doctor attributes the knee giving out to the original incident at the super market, but now we’re having problems with the insurance company because it was not documented at the supermarket, and she did not seek medical attention right away. It’s very important to see a doctor right away, no matter how minor you think the injury is. The third thing to avoid is speaking with the insurance company that will ultimately call you and try to get a statement from you that paints a bad picture for you.
What Steps Should I Take After a Slip and Fall?
Some of the things you may be wondering is what you should do. First of all, if you have an injury, you should seek medical attention right away. Second, you must document at the scene, if possible. Nowadays, most everyone has a cell phone, so it’s easy for you to take a picture of what you slipped on and what the scene looked like at the time of the accident. If you can’t do that, see if someone who’s with you can take a picture for you. Pictures are worth a thousand words.
The third thing you need to make sure of is not to speak with the insurance company. It’s inevitable that the insurance company who insures the premises will contact you and try to take a statement. Do not speak with them; insurance companies are not your friend. The purpose of the statement is to obtain facts and evidence from you that will assist with their defense.
The final thing you should do is contact an attorney who’s handled slip and fall cases in the past. We’ve handled numerous slip and fall cases with success. Contact us and we can answer any question you may have.
How Much is My Slip and Fall Case Worth?
If you’ve been involved in a slip and fall in Washington state, you may be wondering what your claim is worth. It’s impossible to tell what the claim is worth initially at the beginning. It depends on what the medical bills come out to be, whether you’ve missed time from work, have a good recovery or a difficult recovery, have complications from the injury later on, or have permanent injury that will require medical attention in the future. There’s no easy answer for that question; it’s fact-dependent.
Do I Have a Claim If I Fell on City Property?
In Washington state, if you’ve been injured in a trip and fall or slip and fall accident and a municipality is involved, you can have a claim against them. Claims against municipalities are different from claims against individual homeowners or premises owners. You have to file what’s called a notice of claim and typically, you have to give them 90 days’ notice before you can file a lawsuit. Also, you should contact an attorney who can send them a freedom of information act letter to see if there were any incidents like this in the past, and whether there was any work done on the premises before your trip and fall or slip and fall. It’s important that you contact an attorney in these cases, and they can develop the evidence and obtain the facts necessary for you to get a recovery.
Do I Have a Claim if I Fell on Residential Property?
If you’re involved in a slip and fall accident and are injured on somebody’s property in Washington state, the first thing you should do is see if you can get insurance information from them. Many of these properties have insurance, and they have coverage which is called MedPay, which covers medical expenses. It’s like no-fault for a car accident. It covers medical expenses if you’ve been injured on somebody’s property, regardless of fault.
The second thing you should do is get medical attention right away. The third thing you should do is contact a Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA who’s experienced in slip and falls on premises liability cases, so they can document whatever they need to document, to help you resolve your case later on with the insurance company.
Should I Take a First Settlement Offer?
If you’ve been involved in a slip and fall accident in Washington state, you may be contacted by the insurance company soon thereafter offering you money, a low ball offer, to resolve the matter. Do not take this offer. It’s not going to be anything close to what your entitled to recover. Instead, you should contact an Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA, tell them the facts of the case, what your injuries are, and let them advise you appropriately.
How Long Will My Case Take?
If you’re involved in a slip and fall incident in Washington, you may be wondering how long it’s going to take to resolve the claim. There is no easy answer or right line answer for that question; it all depends on how quickly you recover, whether you recover fully and when you start the lawsuit. For instance, you may be involved in a slip and fall incident and it may take you a year to recover.
Settlement negotiations may take four months; they may eventually stall and you will have to file a lawsuit, so that brings us to fourteen to sixteen months. It might be a year and four months after the accident. When you file a lawsuit, it typically takes twelve to eighteen months to get a trial date. It all depends; it’s fact-dependent on how long it takes you to recover.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
The other day we received a phone call from a potential client asking us how long they had to file a claim for a slip and fall case. These are some of the things you need to be aware of in Washington. Although you have three years to file a claim, you do not want to wait that long. You need to contact a Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA as soon as possible so that they can interview witnesses. If you wait the three years, you may have problems down the road. The Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA may contact witnesses later on and the witnesses may have forgotten a lot of the things that have happened.
Also, the potential defendants who may be responsible for your slip and fall accident might not be able to be located and the lawsuit cannot be started within that three-year period. That would leave you without recovery. If you have any questions about the time limits involved and what you should do right away, you should contact us and we can better advise you.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you have a serious injury from a slip and fall accident, our Personal Injury Attorneys Edmonds, WA are here to help you. Please call our office today to set up a free consultation to have your pressing questions answered.
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