Injuries sustained due to a person or entity’s negligence are never a walk in the park. You may have to cope with the struggles of physical and psychological trauma. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your life could possibly be forever altered. Fortunately, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages.
This isn’t always an easy process. Get help from a personal injury lawyer at Herschensohn Law Firm to learn your legal avenues for personal injury compensation. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help to make this difficult process much easier.
What is Required to File a Washington State Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Washington State personal injury lawsuits can quickly become a confusing legal maze for those who’ve suffered injuries from a car accident, slip-and-fall incident, or those caused by defective product. Most personal injury attorneys will take on a case on a contingency basis, meaning they’ll be paid a percentage of your total compensation if the case is successful. Filing a lawsuit on your own could have less than desirable results.
Your legal team must determine if your case is strong to receive a favorable judgment or settlement. This can usually be determined after an initial consultation. Your attorney will then decide the best course of action for you to receive maximum compensation for your damages. There are several steps to filing a lawsuit.
Proof of Negligence
The burden of proof in Washington State personal injury lawsuits lies upon the plaintiff. This means that it’s your responsibility to prove that the other party or entity was negligent in some way and you were injured because of their carelessness. Fortunately, unlike a criminal case, you aren’t required to prove negligence beyond a reasonable doubt you’ll simply need to prove causation.
A time-consuming part of the process is gathering the necessary evidence to prove both negligence and also proof of your injuries. Typical evidence required for a personal injury lawsuit can include the following:
- Police or business accident reports
- Video or photographs of the accident scene
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical expert testimony
- Medical bills
- Prognosis reports
The statute of limitations is three years, so filing your lawsuit as soon as possible is crucial to ensure that the court accepts it.
After your legal team has gathered evidence and notified the court of your personal injury lawsuit, both legal teams will meet to share evidence. Most personal injury lawsuits are settled out-of-court, and negotiations occur during the lawsuit phase. If both parties agree to an out-of-court settlement but can’t agree on the terms, they may bring in non-biased professionals to help move the negotiations forward. This can be done by:
- A combination of both mediation and arbitration
Settlement or Trial
However, if both sides cannot agree, the case will proceed and go to trial. It is in both parties’ favor to avoid going to trial, as they can be lengthy and costly. Unfortunately, this can happen when an agreement can’t be reached.
The plaintiff can request a jury trial. If not, a judge will hear the case without requiring a jury. Unfortunately, jury trials can be particularly unpredictable and will be based on each juror’s biases.
Legal Avenues for Personal Injury Compensation: The Bottom Line
Victims of negligence that have caused them physical or emotional damages have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Damages can include medical bills, loss of income, and sometimes monetary amounts for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
A personal injury claim should never be filed without the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Most work on a contingency basis, so there’s no need to put up any upfront money. They’ll be paid a percentage of your settlement.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be time-consuming, and if it goes to trial, it could be over a year or more before you’ll receive any type of compensation. Fortunately, most cases are settled during the discovery phase of the lawsuit.