FAQS

If you’re hurt due to someone else’s actions or inaction, you could be owed compensation and could recover that through a personal injury claim. This civil action allows injured individuals to recover damages from the party responsible, which will vary depending on the severity of your injuries and the specific circumstances of your case. People who are hurt in an accident caused by negligence could be owed compensation for:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages from time off of work
  • Loss of future earnings if you are disabled due to the accident
  • Repair or replacement of damaged property
  • Pain and suffering

The statute of limitations for filing an injury claim in Washington State is three years from the date of injury. For a wrongful death claim, the family has three years from the date of death to pursue legal action.

It is important to take action promptly, however, because the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to gather evidence to support your claim.

Washington State follows a pure comparative negligence doctrine, which means that you could still recover compensation for an accident, even if you are found to be partially at fault. The amount you can recover will be reduced by whatever percentage of negligence you are assigned. This means that if your losses in an accident are determined to be $100,000, but a jury decides that you are 10 percent at fault for the crash, your award will be reduced by $10,000, leaving you with $90,000.

When you have been involved in any kind of car crash, you should immediately seek medical care even if you do not believe you were hurt. Not all injuries involve immediate symptoms. When possible, take as many pictures as you can of your crash scene before the evidence disappears. Get photographs of the vehicles, people, and any other items you believe may help your case from different angles and distances. Also, be sure to get the contact information for any witnesses to the accident. If you cannot take these steps yourself, ask someone you know to do it for you. Avoid discussing your crash with anybody until you have an attorney, and do not post anything about your accident on social media. Lastly, refuse to provide any recorded statement to an insurance company until you have legal representation.

The Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.080 establishes that a person must begin an action for injury to their person within three years of the date of a car accident. If the crash results in death, then a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the person’s death (which could be later than the date of their accident).

The Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.190 does allow for the statute of limitations to be tolled (or delayed) when a victim is 1) under the 18 years of age, 2) is “incompetent or disabled to such a degree that he or she cannot understand the nature of the proceedings,” or 3) is imprisoned on a criminal charge prior to sentencing. Such victims will have three years from the date that they turn 18, become mentally competent, or are released from prison. The code also allows for the statute of limitations to be tolled when a defendant is out of the state or concealed within, and their period of absence will generally not be counted as being part of the limitations period.

Yes, you will. Washington is one of a dozen states that uses a pure comparative fault system for apportioning damages between negligent parties in civil cases. Under the pure comparative fault system, a victim can recover damages even when they were primarily at fault for their accident. The one catch to pure comparative fault is that a person’s damages can be reduced by their degree of fault for their accident. In other words, a person who is awarded $100,000 in a car accident case but it found to have been 60 percent at fault will have their damages reduced by $60,000 and ultimately receive $40,000.

The first thing that you should do after any kind of truck accident is to seek medical attention. Regardless of whether you believe you were hurt, it is always important to get proper medical care, so any injuries you suffered will be immediately treated. Another valuable step that you can take is to get several pictures of the accident scene. Photograph all of the people and vehicles involved in your crash as well as other items you believe might show contributing factors, such as obscured road signs or skid marks, and try to get as many pictures as you can from many different angles and distances. If there were people who saw your crash, ask them for their names and phone numbers. These individuals may end up being valuable witnesses. If you are unable to take these steps yourself, ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to do this for you. Try not to discuss your accident with anybody, and be especially careful not to post anything about it on social media sites to avoid insurance companies possibly using your statements against you. Make sure that you have a lawyer before signing any paperwork or speaking to any insurance company.

Under the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.080, a person has three years from the date of a truck accident to file an action for injury to their person. The statute of limitations is also three years when a person is killed in a truck crash, but the limitations period begins on the date of the person’s death instead of the date of the accident. The statute of limitations can be tolled (or delayed) under the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.190 in certain circumstances, such as when a victim is under 18 years of age, is “incompetent or disabled to such a degree that he or she cannot understand the nature of the proceedings,” or is imprisoned on a criminal charge. These categories of victims are given three years from the date that they become able to file an action, whether it is when they turn 18, become mentally competent, or are released from prison. Another possible tolling of the limitations period under the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.180 applies to cases in which a defendant leaves the state or is concealed within it. The period of time that a defendant cannot be located is not counted as occurring within the limitations period in such cases.

Unlike many other states in which a person’s negligence can prohibit them from filing a claim for damages in a personal injury case, Washington is one of only 12 states in the country that uses what is known as a pure comparative fault system for determining negligence in civil cases. This means that an individual is able to recover damages even if they were primarily at fault for their crash. Under pure comparative fault, the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault, so a person who is awarded $100,000 in a truck accident case but found to have been 75 percent at fault will have their damages reduced by $75,000 and ultimately receive $25,000.

While wrongful death actions are not specifically addressed in Washington state law, the “any other injury to the person or rights of another not hereinafter enumerated” provision detailed in the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.080(2) generally applies to wrongful death claims and limits a person to three years to file a claim. The one major difference between a wrongful death claim and a traditional injury claim is that the limitations period begins on the date of a person’s death, which may be several days, weeks, or months after the date of their fatal accident. The statute of limitations may be tolled, or delayed, in some cases. For example, the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.180 allows for a limitations period to be delayed if a defendant leaves the state or becomes concealed within it. Another possible way of delaying the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is related to the so-called “discovery rule,” under which a person will have three years to file from the date that they discovered the actual cause of death. The discovery rule may be employed in a case in which scientific evidence reveals a negligent party several years after an accident originally occurred.

Wrongful death cases are often resolved through settlements that are intended to provide the beneficiaries with all of the appropriate compensation. A wrongful death will occasionally go trial, and a plaintiff can be awarded different kinds of damages if they can prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. Frequently awarded damages in wrongful death cases may include funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, mental anguish, medical bills, loss of counsel, and loss of consortium.

Washington state law allows for a wrongful death case to be filed by a deceased person’s representative, surviving spouse, or surviving children. In many cases, the personal representative is a spouse or child. A personal representative may need to be appointed in some cases. When none of these parties exist, then a case can be filed by the deceased person’s parents or siblings. Surviving parents or siblings do not need to have been completely dependent on the deceased, but they must have some kind of substantial financial dependence at the time of death. Whether a case is filed by a deceased person’s representative, surviving spouse, child, parent, or sibling, the action is always for the benefit of the personal representative, surviving spouse, or child.

When you believe that you have suffered a burn injury, run cool water over the burn, but do not apply ice. Make sure that you receive medical care as soon as possible. Do not wait for a burn to worsen before seeking treatment, as insurance companies will often use any delay in treatment to argue that the injuries were not as severe as claimed. Take pictures of your injuries before they heal, and be sure to take pictures of the accident scene, when possible. Also be sure to get the contact information of any people who happened to see your accident. Try not to discuss your accident with anybody, especially an insurance company, until you have engaged legal representation. Be especially careful not to post anything about your injuries on social media accounts.

Skin grafting is a surgical procedure in which healthy skin is transplanted on to a damaged part of a person’s body. Generally, the three most common kinds of skin grafts are autologous (or autographs), in which donor skin is taken from a different site on the same person’s body; allogeneic (or allografts), in which donors and patients are of the same species; and xenogeneic (xenografts or heterografts), in which donors and patients are of different species (the donor is often a pig). Other types of skin grafts include isogeneic (isografts), in which the donor and patient are genetically identical; and syngrafts, in which tissue is replaced with synthetic materials.

The Wallace rule of nines (also known simply as the Rule of Nines) is the tool often used to calculate the total body surface area (BSA) affected by a burn. The Rule of Nines divides the body into sections, each representing 9% of its total surface area, and allows medical professionals to quickly estimate how much of a victim’s total body area has been burned.

Whereas a TBI is the result of an external impact to a person’s skull, an acquired brain injury occurs after birth but is not genetic or caused by birth trauma. Acquired birth injuries are usually caused by events, such as strokes, tumors, heart attacks, near-drownings, or other medical conditions, while TBIs are often the results of events like falls, motor vehicle accidents, or other violent collisions.

Post-Concussion Syndrome refers to a prolonged persistence of concussion symptoms in which a person is still experiencing symptoms of a concussion one or two months after the causal event. Second-impact syndrome refers to a second concussion after returning to activities too soon after suffering the original concussion. SIS is a major concern for young athletes who suffer concussions during recreational sports, as a second concussion can cause brain swelling and may be fatal.

The Glasgow Coma Scale was described in 1974 by Graham Teasdale and Bryan Jennett as “a way to communicate about the level of consciousness of patients with an acute brain injury.” Responses to eye opening having four grades (spontaneous, to sound, to pressure, and none), verbal has five (orientated, confused, words, sounds, none), and motor has six (obey commands, localizing, normal flexion, abnormal flexion, extension, none). A total patient score of 14 (on the original scale) or 15 (on the modified schedule) indicates a healthy individual while a score of 3 indicates deep unconsciousness.

The level of severance of a spinal cord determines the completeness of the injury. An incomplete spinal cord injury is one in which there is a partial severance of the spinal cord, and victims usually retain function below the affected area, while a complete spinal cord injury involves a complete severing of the spinal cord with the victim losing all feeling and ability to control movement below the affected area. Typical kinds of incomplete spinal cord injuries include anterior cord syndrome, Brown-Sequard syndrome, and central cord syndrome. Complete spinal cord injuries may include tetraplegia or quadriplegia (paralysis of all limbs), paraplegia (paralysis of the legs and the lower half of the body), monoplegia (paralysis of one arm or one leg), triplegia (paralysis of one arm and both legs), or hemiplegia (paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side of the body).

Spinal shock refers to a loss of motor and sensory function or reflexes below the level of a spinal cord injury, usually occurring suddenly or soon after an accident. It is important to understand that spinal shock is not the same as the medical condition of shock. Reflexes can return during spinal shock, and a person may not know they are in a state of spinal shock.

There is not a single, universal medical cure for spinal cord injuries, but people who are concerned about their ability to walk again should know that victims with lower injuries are more likely to regain the necessary mobility to walk again. The affected area typically dictates your chances of recovery, but rehabilitation can prove effective in some cases. Additionally, there is continuous research being conducted into spinal cord injuries, so there remains hope that there will be continued growth in the number of available treatments.

After any motorcycle crash, your first concern should be getting medical attention. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you should still go to the hospital as a precaution. Some injuries involve delayed symptoms, and insurance companies will become more skeptical about your injury claims when there is any kind of delay in treatment. Before you leave the scene of your accident, try to take as many pictures as you can. Get photographs of the vehicles, people, and any other items that might be beneficial to your case from different distances and angles. Also, it’s a good idea to get the contact information of any witnesses to your accident, as they could be helpful later on. Avoid talking about your crash with any person other than a lawyer, and avoid posting anything about it on social media sites.

People generally have three years from the date of their accident under Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.080 to file an action for injury to their person. The statute of limitations is also three years for a wrongful death claim, but the limitations period begins on the date of a person’s death instead of the date of an accident. The statute of limitations can be tolled (delayed) under Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.190 when a person cannot legally file a claim, such as a victim 1) that is under 18 years of age, 2) someone who is “incompetent or disabled to such a degree that he or she cannot understand the nature of the proceedings,” or 3) someone who is imprisoned on a criminal charge. In these cases, the victims will have three years from the date that they become able to file a claim, whether that is when they turn 18, become mentally competent, or are released from prison. Another situation in which the statute of limitations may be tolled under Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.180 is if a defendant leaves the state or become concealed within it, as the time they are being sought but cannot be found will not count against the limitations period.

It is all too common for motorcyclists to be blamed for their accidents. While this is not always the case, even those who share some level of responsibility will still be able to recover damages because Washington is a pure comparative fault system when it comes to negligence claims. This means that an individual is allowed to recover damages even when they were more at fault than the person being sued. With pure comparative fault, however, your damages will be reduced by your share of negligence. This means that if you were awarded $100,000 in a motorcycle accident case but found to have been 55 percent at fault, your damages will be reduced by $55,000 and you would ultimately receive $45,000.

When you have been involved in any kind of bicycle crash, your first action should always be to seek medical attention. You should do this even when you do not believe you were hurt. Some injuries involve delayed symptoms, and you do not want to have your injuries questioned because of any delays in treatment. You should also be sure to contact the local law enforcement agency and file a police report on your accident. Take as many pictures as you can of the scene of your accident. Get photographs of every person and vehicle involved as well as any other items that you believe may have been a factor from different distances and angles. If anyone saw your crash, get their of contact information in case they are needed as witnesses. When you cannot take these measures on your own, try to get someone else you know to do it for you. Resist the temptation to talk about your accident with anybody, even friends and family, and avoid writing anything about a crash on social media. Make sure an attorney is the first person you discuss your case with so they can tell you what is safe to talk about.

A person has three years from the date of a bike accident to file an injury claim under Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.080. The same three-year limit also applies to wrongful death cases, but the limitations period will begin on the date of a bicyclist’s death, which may be much later than the date of their accident. Washington state law does allow for the statute of limitations to be tolled (or delayed) in certain circumstances. For example, for victims 1) who are under 18 years of age, 2) who are “incompetent or disabled to such a degree that he or she cannot understand the nature of the proceedings,” 3) or who are imprisoned on a criminal charge may be able to have their limitations period tolled until they turn 18, become mentally competent, or are released from prison under Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.190. Additionally, the limitations period can also be delayed when a defendant leaves the state or is concealed within it under Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.180, so the period in which they are evading justice will not be counted against the limitations period.

Yes. Washington is considered a pure comparative fault state when it comes to negligence actions, which means that a person can recover damages regardless of their own degree of fault for an accident. Only 11 other states use pure comparative fault. While a plaintiff’s own negligence cannot prohibit them from recovering damages, it can be used to reduce the damages they actually receive. For example, a person who is awarded $100,000 in a bicycle accident case but found to have been 80 percent at fault will have their damages reduced by $80,000 and ultimately receive $20,000.

Any pedestrian who is involved in an accident should immediately seek medical care. Get to a hospital as soon as possible after a crash so you can be sure that you receive the appropriate care for any injuries, some of which could have delayed symptoms. Do not disregard a hospital visit because you think you were not hurt. At the scene of your crash, collect evidence in the form of photographs; take as many pictures as you can of motor vehicles, people, or anything you believe could be a contributing factor. Also, be sure to get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. When you finally return home after an accident, make sure that the first person you speak to about your crash is an attorney. You’ll want to avoid posting anything about your accident on social media and shouldn’t discuss the crash with anyone until you have legal representation. A lawyer will let you know what is safe to talk about with your friends, family, and co-workers.

The Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.080 gives an individual three years from the date of their pedestrian accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. A wrongful death action will also be bound by a three-year statute of limitations, but the limitations period will begin on the date of a victim’s death instead of the date of the crash. State law in Washington does allow for the limitations period to be tolled (delayed) when certain circumstances exist. The Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.190 allows for the statute of limitations to be tolled when a person is under the 18 years of age, imprisoned on a criminal charge, or “incompetent or disabled to such a degree that he or she cannot understand the nature of the proceedings.” In such cases, a plaintiff will have three years from the date they turn 18, are released from prison, or become mentally competent, respectively. The Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.180 also provides for the tolling of the limitations period when a defendant has left the state or is concealed within it.

Yes. Pedestrians are commonly accused of being at fault for their injuries, even when driver negligence is usually the larger cause. Washington is one of only a dozen states in the nation that uses a pure comparative fault system for apportioning damages in civil cases, so a person can recover damages even when they were the party who was mainly at fault. A plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault though, which means that an individual who is awarded $100,000 in a pedestrian accident case but found to have been 65 percent at fault will have their damages reduced by $65,000 and ultimately receive $35,000.

The one bite rule is also known as the one free bite rule, and it allows dog owner to avoid liability for a dog bite when they claim to have had no knowledge of a dog’s violent tendencies. Washington is a strict liability state, so the dog owner is always liable for a dog bite unless a victim instigated a bite. State law specifically provides that a dog owner is liable for damages “regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

After you have been bitten by a dog, immediately wash out your wound with soap and water before seeking medical attention. Go to a hospital even if you do not believe your bite was severe, as it is still important to get proper treatment to avoid possible infection. Ask the dog’s owner for proof of rabies vaccination. Take pictures of your wounds before they can heal. If you don’t know the dog’s owner, get their name and phone number. Be sure to contact a lawyer before you speak to any insurance company.

When you are bitten by a stray dog, you should still wash out the wound with soap and water and get medical care. There will obviously be no dog owner to collect information from, but there may be possible responsibility for the dog in some cases. For example, a stray dog that recently escaped from a local pound would make the pound liable for injuries. Similarly, a stray dog that was neglected by a known owner could still make that owner liable for the injuries.

A ride-share driver’s personal automobile insurance policy need only satisfy the basic minimums applicable to all state drivers. The Revised Code of Washington § 46.29.090 requires insurance minimums of $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident, $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and $10,000 for property damage. The state also requires minimums of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage as well as $10,000 for uninsured motorist property damage coverage.

You will usually have three years to file an injury claim for a ride-share accident. The same statute of limitations also applies to wrongful death claims, but the limitations period begins on the date of the person’s death instead of the date of their accident. The statute of limitations can be tolled (or delayed) in some cases. The state of Washington allows for the tolling of a limitations period when a victim is either “incompetent or disabled to such a degree that he or she cannot understand the nature of the proceedings,” imprisoned on a criminal charge prior to sentencing, or under 18 years of age. In these cases, individuals are given three years from the dates that they, respectively, become mentally competent, are released from prison, or turn 18 years of age. The limitations period can also be tolled if a defendant leaves the state or cannot be found by authorities.

The Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services requires drivers to complete driver’s education and be tested in order to be licensed, with training including completion of the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course and at least one additional driving training program approved by the director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services. Ride-share companies may provide driver training programs that include information about defensive driving, emergency equipment use, or risk factors for crimes against drivers. The driver training program curriculum needs to be submitted to the director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services for approval each year. Drivers are required to pass an examination in order to be licensed, and the examination must test the driver’s knowledge of requirements and laws, vehicle safety requirements, the geography of Seattle and the King County area, and local public and tourist destinations and attractions.

The first thing you should do after any scooter accident is to make sure to get medical attention. Even if you do not believe you were hurt, you should still go to the hospital as a necessary precaution. You may have suffered injuries unknown to you. Contact the local law enforcement agency and ask to file a police report, especially when another vehicle was involved. Try to take as many photographs as you can of everything from the scene of your crash. Get pictures of people and vehicles as well as anything else you think may have been a contributing factor, and also get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. When you cannot do this yourself, ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to do this for you. Contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Any action that resulted in injury must be filed within three years of the date of the accident under the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.080. A wrongful death lawsuit needs to be filed within three years of the date of a person’s death, and that date could be several days, weeks, or months after the original accident. The statute of limitations can be tolled (or delayed) under the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.190 when a victim is under the 18 years of age, is imprisoned on a criminal charge prior to sentencing, or is “incompetent or disabled to such a degree that he or she cannot understand the nature of the proceedings.” These individuals will be given three years from the respective dates that they turn 18, are released from prison, or become mentally competent. If a defendant leaves the state or is trying to evade authorities, the Revised Code of Washington § 4.16.180 also allows for the statute of limitations to be delayed until the defendant is located.

Yes. Washington is one of only 12 states in the country that uses a pure comparative fault system in negligence cases, which means that a person can recover damages even if they were more at fault than the defendant. A person’s damages, however, will be reduced by their degree of fault, so a person who is awarded $100,000 in a scooter accident case but is found to have been 70 percent at fault would have their damages reduced by $70,000 and ultimately receive $30,000.

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The The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee has years of experience handling all manner of injury cases. Our Seattle Injury attorneys care about you and want to help you through the overwhelming challenges that you face as a victim of another person's negligence. Our firm is available at (206) 899-5415.