If you have sustained injuries caused by other people failing to uphold the law, you might be a candidate for monetary compensation for the offense. Certain requirements must be met in order to assert that the situation warrants a legal claim. The answers you provide to three questions will decipher whether or not are able to make a personal injury claim. First of all, you will need to figure out if the other party intentionally caused you harm and breached their legal duty. This means that the person had to have acted in a negligent manner, but in the context of having a legal duty.
Sometimes people can act negligently, but because they have no duty under the law, there is no ability to compensate the injured party. For example, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that you cannot sue the police department if they fail to protect you even under circumstances that would reasonably be called negligent failure to act.
The ruling resulted from a case in 2005 in which a woman filed for a restraining order against her ex-husband.
The woman’s former partner ended up kidnapping their children, at which point she contacted police and asked for their help. The woman called upon the help of her local police officers but they never opened an investigation regarding the missing children.
The father ultimately murdered her three children, prompting the woman to file a suit against the police for their inaction.
According to federal law, the police can decline to intervene in situations where citizens call upon their services, negating the suit she filed against the department. Though their behavior may be considered negligent, the police are protected by laws that allow them to use caution when their help is implored.
After determining that the person held a legal duty, we must show that their actions were negligent and derelict. This is a very prominent question for cases pertaining to personal injuries. A situation that denotes a breach of legal duties is when a car runs a red light and crashes into a fellow driver as a result. Driving laws are there to protect people on the road and one of the most important rules is that drivers come to full stops when the traffic lights turn red.
Negligence is defined as unruly behavior that results from the failure to adhere to regulations, causing damage in the process.
Outside of basic traffic safety and cautious driving, negligence can be hard to prove. For example, in order to find a doctor negligent, a jury must determine whether or not the doctor acted in a manner that was below the expectations of a doctor in that specialty, acting under the same circumstances. The baseline for medical professionals is called the “standard of care.” This is a much more subjective standard, subjected to far more debate than someone who fails to drive their car in consistency with traffic laws.
The third and final question to answer asks if the negligent behavior directly caused the injuries. Harm is a communal term that everyone can understand. Harm is an overarching term that includes lacerations, physical injuries, automobile damage, monetary burdens, and life setbacks, to name a few. Damages and harm are essentially the same thing. Proving that the negligent actions caused harm by displaying evidence is just as important to a personal injury case as showing that the defendant acted negligently.
For example, say you are driving home and someone in an oncoming lane runs a red light, causing you to have to stop suddenly. If they continue to drive by and no collision occurs, then you do not have a lawsuit. Even though the other driver was clearly negligent, there was no harm involved.
You were inconvenienced, certainly, and likely scared. However, their actions did not amount to damages that the court would recognize as meaningful enough to warrant compensation on your end.
In personal injury cases, the intent behind causation is highly contested. Even though causation may seem clear to the injured party, the defense attorneys will hire their own doctors who will try to cast a shadow on the causation of the injuries. Their opposition may include anything under the sun, like suggestions that your injuries were from prior circumstances or hints that your injuries are not as severe as you claim them to be.
Defense attorneys are acting on behalf of the person you are filing suit against, so they want to find any possible way to minimize your claim so that their client does not own you any financial recompense. The court will address the care that you received and it will be important that we provide evidence to substantiate your allegations against the party receiving suit.Your claims may be refuted by a doctor of the defendant’s choosing, who may try to shed poor light on you and your statements.
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Most personal injury attorneys do not offer a free consultation. We do not charge for your initial consult. Send us a message and we’ll get back to you regarding your inquiry.
We do not expect that you know the ins and outs of personal injury when you meet with us. There is a lot of information involved, pertaining to subjects like insurance, the legal system, and medical care. Many personal injury attorneys don’t fully understand each of these areas of law themselves. Your case is unique, no matter how commonplace a component of it might seem. For example, you might experience a generic automobile accident where someone struck you from behind. Those happen all the time. You are not the only person who has ever been rear ended by another vehicle, but your case is still unique in its own rights. The earlier you contact an attorney, the earlier you can learn how to properly handle your case. Once we know more about the details of your situation, we will handle your case in the manner we deem most fitting. Follow the link below to get an understanding of how we go about handling our cases:
It is very important to open a case and file your suit in a reasonable period of time because statute of limitations can keep you from suing if you wait too long. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Washington State is three years. Failure to comply with the statute will result in the loss of your legal rights to compensation.
State regulations tied to other types of incidents may confound your actual timeframe, so you’ll want to make sure your case is considered a personal injury case. Assault, for example, has a two year statute of limitations. Reach out to a trusted lawyer as soon as you believe you have a case.
It is vital that you adhere to the legal limitations of your case because if you try to open your case after the expiration date, it will be to no avail. It is especially important to begin the steps of a lawsuit earlier on because the duration of lawsuits can stretch for years.
Compiling information about the person who caused you harm is a lengthy process in and of itself. Sometimes, people will reach out to an attorney but not have any clue as to who inflicted the damages. Without identifying information for the person who caused your injuries, there is no way to sue. Lawyers want to ensure that protocol is followed in order to avoid creating loopholes for the defense attorneys.
Three years is a long time to file a personal injury claim, but the sooner you open a case, the better your outcome ends up being. As soon as you are able, you should contact a law firm and ask that they help you make progress with your situation.
It is important that you find an attorney that you trust. Your case will either settle without a trial or it will be taken to court before a judge and jury. Regardless of the outcome, your attorney will be your main source of wisdom throughout the process. We tell all of our clients that it is our priority to provide them with important information and risk analysis so that they can make a good decision about their case.
The final decision is not ours to make, but rather, our client has full control over accepting or denying proposed solutions. Our client gets to determine whether we accept a settlement package or we seek further compensation in the courtroom. The client resolves the discussion of how much to accept as compensation, too.
Most personal injury attorneys will talk with you for free about your case and provide advice on how to best proceed. The reasoning behind holding a no-cost consult is that most people do not need the help of legal professionals in order to claim compensation. We look at each detail of personal injury cases on their own, and then once we have the full story, we analyze the details against one another as well. The more important your case is to you, the more important it is that your promptly find legal advice on how to best handle it.
Selecting a law firm to hire onto your case is imperative to success with your case. You cannot trust everything you read online, but looking at former and current client reviews is a reasonable place to begin your selection process. Being referred by clients to other people seeking legal help is always touching and we appreciate the fact that our client base respects our work enough to positively speak about us to the public. Read our reviews here.
As stated earlier, it is absolutely essential that you can trust your lawyer. The most telling attributes of a lawyer is the way her or she interacts with people, how much experience he or she has acquired, and whether or not they uphold their client in court. The attorney-client relationship is one wherein the attorney has a fiduciary duty to his client, meaning that the attorney must put the client’s interest above their own.
If you have an attorney who doesn’t promptly respond to your communications or acts with indifference to your case, you should probably find someone with whom you can work better. At the end of your case there will only be one settlement or award. With very few exceptions, there are usually no second chances with cases that appear in court. You won’t ever get a chance to come back later for another bite at the apple. This is why you want to ensure your attorney has your best interests at heart: you have one chance towards receiving what you want.
The Centers for Disease Control made public their data from 2015, demonstrating that motor vehicle accidents were responsible for a total of 37,757 deaths that year. After heart disease, cancer, and respiratory illnesses, car accidents were the fourth main incidents that resulted in death. You can read more about the CDC’s findings on their website.
Many personal injury cases do not require a trial, seeing as they end in a civil agreement. This means that seldom does either side get exactly what they want when settling their case. Settlements, on both sides, are a product of risk reduction. The person who sustained injuries usually just wants to be reimbursed for the financial burden the injuries created.
Agreements are made in more timely manners if the defending party does not predict additional payments will accrue in the future. There is less stability in situations where medical care is still being received. Insurance providers do not appreciate the uneasiness of ongoing expenses. Unfinished medical treatment means more payments will be made along the way and that is a stress inducer. The defending party might try to claim that you intentionally impeded your recovery.
Insurance companies will typically only offer smaller amounts of money early on in negotiations. If you accept lower rates of compensation, they’ll be glad to not have to reimburse you in full. Insurance companies will wait until they absolutely have to pay the full amount of compensation, which is a subjective determination on some level regarding the evaluation of a case’s value.
Value is often very hard to determine because each case is unique. This is where compromise comes into play. Once an offer is made and accepted, the opportunity of getting more, or of the other side doing better, is eradicated.
All personal injury cases are different to some extent. Someone who breaks a rib is as much a personal injury victim as someone who experiences whiplash. Treatment for broken ribs is a combination of taking it easy and resting your body. Whiplash, on the other hand, can cost upwards of $10,000 in medical bills and rehabilitation efforts. Regardless of the treatment extremes, whiplash and broken ribs are both hard to live with and heal. They both may have the same value in terms of the patient’s pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life as well. A broken rib calls for less medical attention and follow-ups than whiplash. Compensation is based more so on bills that resulted from injuries than it does any other factor. Whiplash injuries require far more visits and types of care.
Other potential forms of damages in a personal injury case include:
Not all personal injury cases are the same by any means, but their duration follows predictable timetables.
We prefer not to open a case until the injured party is healed. When injuries are fresh and painful, it can be difficult for our client to think clearly during settlement. The insurance companies and attorneys working on behalf of the defendant are more willing to pay outright than to agree to pay future medical bills, due to the uncertainty they pose. Settlement occurs only once, and the injured person has to release the other party from any further requests for damages when accepting their settlement monies.
Accordingly, we wait to pursue negotiations in cases until our clients are in a position to know the most about the future. Once a client has completed their treatment, we then obtain their medical records and put together a settlement package for the insurance company. Obtaining medical records usually takes about 8 weeks. Not all providers respond to our request for payment history and medical records, so we always anticipate a waiting period. Moreover, the records have to be reviewed in order to ascertain whether or not they are complete. Often, we find that not all records or bills are included in the official paperwork, so we have to submit another request for the missing documents. Having to wait longer for content we initially requested adds time to the already lengthy waiting period.
When we have acquired all necessary information about your medical history since the date of the incident, we begin the review process and spend a few weeks acquainting ourselves with the information. The next step, after creating a settlement package, is to mail it to the insurance company responsible for the defendant’s reimbursement monies. After the insurance company receives the package, they are allotted some time to refute our claims and offer other options. It is important to remember that they can take upwards of weeks or even months. If resolution cannot occur between parties with ease, then a lawsuit will be filed, which is also a slow-moving process.
Your initial meeting with Wiener & Lambka, PS, is free of charge. We can conduct the initial meeting over the phone or through emails. During this discussion, we’ll go over the incident, speak to our abilities, and collectively determine if we are the right match for you. Many cases do not require legal aid and we reassure clients in these circumstances.
If we agree that legal representation is something that will benefit you, then we will come to you for an in-person meeting to talk in more detail about your case. That way, you are fully informed about your case and what representation entails. If you would like to meet us at our office, you can do so, but we grant clients with the option of having us come to them to eradicate any inconveniences travel may cause. We often meet our clients at local coffee shops, libraries, or meeting spaces, but the ultimate location is up to you!
“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“Everyone was great. The staff at Wiener and Lambka make a good thing out of a bad situation, and for that, I am very thankful.” - D. Grami“The service and the staff were great. I was happy with everything, and would refer Wiener and Lambka to someone else in the future.” - I. Aleman“Wiener & Lambka get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin“Wiener & Lambka helped me through the process, always discussing all of the available options. In particular, I was happy about the ease with which I was able to access my attorneys.”- B. Froton“The Staff at Wiener and Lambka are friendly and understand customer needs. They reduced their fee on my case and didn’t even take any on my son’s.” - M. Ngo“I was satisfied by the timely manner with which my case was handled. I would definitely recommend Wiener & Lambka to a friend in the future.” - D. Yusuf“Calls were returned in a timely manner, and the office staff is friendly. I’d recommend Wiener and Lambka to a friend in the future.” - T. Their"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo"It was a stress free experience. I particularly enjoyed when, on my initial call, they sent someone out to my house to speak with me in person. I would certainly use or recommend Wiener & Lambka in the future." - M. Randall“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“In my moment of Crisis Wiener & Lambka lent me a helping hand. Their dedication to my case was outstanding. They stuck by my side and fought for my rights. Thank you!” - K. Tuazon“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas“A job well done! The staff at Wiener and Lambka made a point of explaining everything to me and if necessary I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.” - O. Yusuf“Wiener and Lambka did a good job of keeping me up to date on my case, and I’d definitely suggest their services to someone looking for an attorney.” - L. Lafond
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