Personal Injury

Personal Injury – Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Personal Injury Law (Tort Law)
  3. Establishing Liability
  4. Proving Negligence
  5. Damages
  6. Slip and Fall Injuries
  7. Dog Bites

Introduction

Personal injuries often result in much more than medical bills and lost wages from time off work. Injuries can have unforeseen, debilitating effects that leave a person permanently disabled or cause premature death. Depending on the severity of the injury, victims or loved ones can be left to shoulder exorbitant bills all alone. Our personal injury attorneys in Seattle, Washington will not let this happen to you! We have earned a well-deserved reputation for obtaining maximum compensation for our clients’ injuries.

Serious personal injuries are often followed by a frightening period of uncertainty. We will fight to put the security back into your future. If you are in need of a personal injury attorney and live anywhere within Washington state, our Seattle-based law firm will answer all your questions and provide you with expert legal representation.

What is Personal Injury Law (Tort Law)

Personal injury law, or tort law, aims to provide individuals injured by a person or business’ negligent or malicious actions with adequate and appropriate financial compensation. By allowing the injured party to seek financial compensation for injuries and damages, personal injury law not only protects the injured individuals but also deters illegal and wrongful actions in the future. A variety of grievances fall under personal injury law including wrongful death, auto accidents, medical malpractice, defective drugs, product liability, and workers’ compensation.

Successful personal injury lawsuits must establish two essential elements: liability and damages. Liability refers to legal responsibility. The plaintiff must prove that, under the law of the state, the defendant is responsible for the incident. Damages refer to the injured party’s right to receive financial compensation. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the damages claimed are plausible and appropriate, reflecting the true extent of the sustained injury. Every state maintains different standards for each element. It is important to retain a qualified attorney who will represent your case proficiently and aggressively. Our personal injury attorneys in Seattle have extensive experience representing Washington residents’ personal injury claims. We understand the law and will work to attain the largest compensation possible.

Establishing Liability

In order to establish liability, you must prove a person has acted negligently. There are three categories of negligence recognized by personal injury law:

Tort of Negligence: You claim that the person caused your injury by failing to prevent it. For example, if a property owner digs a hole in a high-traffic area and fails to block it off, and you subsequently fall in and break your leg, you may claim the owner acted negligently because he failed to take precautions against such a fall.

Strict Liability: Strict liability is also called product liability. If you use a product as directed and are injured by it, you have a claim against the manufacturer, regardless if the resultant injury was caused by negligence or malicious intent.

Intentional Wrong: This type of liability protects victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. It allows the victim to pursue a civil suit as well as criminal charges against the perpetrator.

Personal injury law is not cut and dry. It is imperative that every victim obtain experienced and capable representation. Our personal injury attorneys in Seattle, Washington are qualified professionals thoroughly familiar with Washington personal injury law. We will explain all the facets of personal injury law and examine the strength of your claim.

Proving Negligence

Society expects people to abide by certain codes of behavior. These codes are essential to a properly functioning society. Without them, chaos would ensue. According to the law, standards of behavior are defined by what a reasonable person would do in a situation, instead of what the average person would do. This is an important distinction. The majority of a community could behave a particular way, but, if that behavior is not in line with what is deemed reasonable, an injury sustained as a result of the behavior could be protected by personal injury law. For example, if you are in a store and slip and fall on an unmarked, freshly mopped floor, you can claim the store owner acted negligently, even if every store on that block routinely ignores safety regulations and fails to mark wet floors.

In order to prove negligence, you must establish two things: (1) the defendant deviated from the accepted standards of behavior and your injury would have been prevented if the defendant had observed the standards of behavior, and (2) the defendant’s actions caused your injury.

Federal and State Statutes: If the defendant acted contrary to federal or state statutes, there is a strong chance he will be held liable for any injuries resulting from his actions. However, disobeying a federal or state statute does not necessarily guarantee a guilty verdict. If a reasonable person would have acted the same way in a similar situation, the defendant may not be held accountable.

Duty: The law recognizes that a person has a reasonable responsibility to protect others from harm. For example, a property owner must mark off a gaping hole in the middle of a high-traffic area. However, this duty is restricted. The law does not obligate a person to help another individual who is in trouble. If a person does choose to help another individual, though, the care must adhere to certain standards. This means if you decide to help a person in trouble and the person is hurt in the process, you may be found liable for the injury.

Implied Assumption of Risk: If you are forewarned about certain inherent risks associated with a situation and a person’s negligent behavior results in your injury, the negligent party is not responsible. For example, if a parent signs a school field trip consent form and his child is injured during the field trip, the school is not liable because the parent was warned of the potential dangers.

If you believe your injury is legally protected by personal injury law, it is crucial for you to immediately contact a personal injury attorney. Our firm in Seattle, Washington employs some of the most knowledgeable and talented attorneys in the state. We will gladly explain the important aspects of personal injury law and help you assess your case.

Damages

Personal injury law is designed to reward the victim of negligent or malicious behavior with appropriate financial compensation that reflects the severity of the negligence. Damages have two purposes: (1) To cover all injury-related costs the victim may incur, and (2) to prevent reoccurrences. There are two types of damages awarded to successful plaintiffs:

Compensatory: Compensatory damages are meant to cover all expenses associated with an injury, including lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, earning capacity impairment, mental impairment, permanent disability, and more. The injured party must demonstrate to the court all of his immediate and future expenses, which can be difficult because some injury-related costs may take years to surface. This is where our personal injury attorneys based out of Seattle, Washington become extremely important. We have a track record of attaining impressive financial settlements that sufficiently cover all injury-related costs.

Punitive: These damages are awarded when the defendant’s behavior is deemed malicious or oppressive. Courts award punitive damages in order to punish the offender and dissuade others from similar behavior. There are very few circumstances where Washington law allows punitive damages.

All states limit the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a personal injury lawsuit, which means victims must promptly obtain the counsel of a personal injury attorney. In Washington, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is generally three years. Our personal injury attorneys in Seattle will help you file your case in a timely manner, assuring your right to seek monetary compensation.

Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and fall injuries are governed by premises liability, the legal precept that determines who is at fault when a person suffers an injury while on the property of another person. Specifically, premises liability is used to examine two questions: (1) did the owner take reasonable precautions to ensure the property was safe, and (2) did the victim act carelessly. In slip and fall cases, fault is not easily determined. The “reasonability” standard applies to the victim and property owner alike. The property owner may claim he took reasonable precautions, despite the fact that a person was injured. Furthermore, if the victim entered an area of the property he was not supposed to enter, or if he was acting recklessly, the property owner may be exonerated. Many defenses and arguments can convolute what seemed like a cut-and-dry case. Our experienced and talented personal injury attorneys in Seattle, Washington will sort through the complicated myriad of facts and represent your interests truthfully and aggressively.

If any of these circumstances apply, the property owner is more likely to be liable:

  • The owner created a hazardous condition on the premises.
  • The owner knew about a perilous condition on the premises and failed to rectify it.
  • The owner should have been cognizant of the unsafe condition because any reasonable person would have been aware.

Determining guilt in a slip and fall personal injury case is a hazy matter made even more unclear by several exceptions that could potentially limit the property owner’s legal liability. Among the categories of exceptions are trespassers, children, and government property.

Dog Bites

The Centers for Disease Control estimates 4.7 million people are victims of dog bites each year. Most of these dogs are family pets. But this is not always the case. If you have been the victim of a dog bite, the law allows you to seek monetary compensation for medical bills and associated costs.

The standards for liability in dog bite lawsuits vary from state to state. In most states, the standards rely on precedent. If the owner is aware of a previous attack or vicious injury inflicted by his dog and decides to keep the dog, he is liable for all subsequent attacks, assuming the dog is not provoked. Other states evaluate dog bite lawsuits on a case-to-case basis. In these cases, the dog’s past behavior weighs heavily in the decision. In Washington, the behavior of the dog is not always considered; the owner is usually strictly liable for the dog bite.

Personal injury attorneys are essential to the successful resolution of a lawsuit and the size of the financial compensation. Our personal injury attorneys in Seattle, Washington, possess the knowledge and experience needed to effectively represent your case.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, we encourage you to contact our highly qualified personal injury attorneys, conveniently located in Seattle, Washington.

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“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
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