Personal Injury Law in Yakima, WA
Were you hurt due to another’s negligence in Yakima? If so, it may have far-reaching consequences such as a loss of wages or extensive medical treatment. Personal injury law allows an injured person to get damages if the responsible person acted recklessly. A personal injury attorney in Yakima, WA can help navigate the lawsuit to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law in Yakima relates to the legal process of getting compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. These cases involve one party, the plaintiff, trying to seek financial compensation for expenses incurred and money lost as a result of the defendant’s reckless behavior. These cases involve both parties’ insurance companies and may even settle before proceeding to litigation.
Examples of Personal Injury Claims in Yakima, WA
Some personal injury claims are more common than others. However, almost any incident that ends with a physical or mental injury could qualify, depending on the circumstances.
A few of the most common personal injury claims are:
- Car Accidents
- Slip and Fall
- Dog Bites
- Medical Malpractice
- Workplace Accidents
- Burn Injuries
Most Common Injuries in Yakima
Yakima is home to dozens of orchards that contribute to Washington’s status as the number one producer of apples in the United States. As a result, falls represent the lion’s share of non-fatal injuries, according to Yakima Memorial. Motor vehicle traffic incidents are the second-highest cause of damages in the county.
Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Yakima, WA
Once you determine that you wish to proceed forward with a personal injury action in Washington
A lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed with the court and served on the defendant. The complaint alleges your assertion as the plaintiff that the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in damage to your body or mental state. As the process proceeds forward, you may have to go through depositions, independent medical evaluations and document production. This discovery process is lengthy and ends in either settlement or a court appearance.
The majority of personal injury cases filed in the Yakima County Civil Court settle and don’t go to trial. If you go to court, a judge or jury will rule on the defendant’s fault in the accident and determine the damages. Depending on the outcome, months or years may follow for the appeals process.
Washington Personal Injury Settlement
With most personal injury cases, insurance companies and injured parties prefer settlement negotiations rather than going to court for a trial. You may wonder how much you should seek in your settlement and factors that impact the final amount.
It’s crucial to understand that there’s no guarantee of recovering damages for any personal injury lawsuit. With that said, you can set reasonable expectations for non-economic damages by finding a total for the following:
- Medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages and lost time for anything related to the accident
You should also be aware that Yakima County Civil Court implements comparative negligence according to Washington State Law. If the court determines you were 50% at fault for $40,000, the defendant only owes you $20,000.
If the other party has insurance, the insurance company likely wants to settle out of court to avoid leaving the final settlement decision to a jury. Settlements benefit injured parties as much as they do insurance companies. This is because accepting a settlement means you receive compensation sooner rather than later. Also, by going to court in WA, that means you risk not receiving any compensation at all.
Damage Awards in Washington
If your Washington personal injury lawsuit goes before a judge or jury, your legal team will be ready with a request for damages. In personal injury cases, there are three types of damage awards a court may order the defendant to pay to compensate you for the damage he or she inflicted.
Special compensatory damages reimburse you for things such as lost income, medical bills and insurance deductibles. You submit receipts proving these losses.
General compensatory damages are subjective. If you receive special compensatory damages, you may also collect general damages. If your injury was particularly painful, you might request that the judge order the defendant compensate you for the pain and anguish.
Punitive damages are the most rarely awarded and are up to the court. The judge or jury may determine that the defendant’s negligence was particularly heinous and the resulting injury to you was equally horrific.
Yakima County Civil Court does not have a damage cap for personal injury cases because the state Supreme Court ruled them to be unconstitutional. However, you should also know that you can’t win punitive damages in Washington State.
Statute of Limitations in Yakima, WA Personal Injury Law?
The injured party may have a set amount of time to file suit for a personal injury case. State law establishes statutes of limitation. Commonly, the plaintiff’s injury or discovery of the injury begins the statute of limitations. However, the latter factor is trickier, as the plaintiff will have to prove when the injury was first realized.
In Washington State, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is three years. For Yakima residents, you have to file a suit within that time after an accident or injury.
We recommend you speak with a personal injury lawyer for this matter. Don’t wait too long and miss out on receiving the compensation you deserve for your injury.
Work With an Experienced Yakima, WA Lawyer
Pursue a personal injury claim in Yakima against the responsible person if you are dealing with an injury caused by someone else. One of our experienced lawyers can help you navigate your personal injury claim. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Washington state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!