If you are injured in a slip and fall incident, car accident, or other type of situation that results in a personal injury, the expenses caused by the injury can quickly become overwhelming. You may be facing lost wages due to time missed from work as well as mounting medical bills, not to mention pain and suffering. If you are in such a situation in the state of Washington, there are ways you can get your financial situation back in order, including a personal injury claim against the party responsible for the accident.
Statute of Limitations
In the State of Washington there is a time limit in which you must file your personal injury claim in order to be entitled to receive compensation. The clock on the statute of limitations starts ticking on the date that the injury is sustained. In the state of Washington, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 3 years.
Motor Vehicle Insurance in the State of Washington
If you are injured due to an automobile accident, there are certain insurance coverages that the State of Washington requires drivers to carry when operating a vehicle including:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of any two people in any one accident
- $10,000 for property in any one accident
An “At Fault” State
Because Washington is an “at fault” state, it means that the fault of the other party must be proven in order to receive damages for your injury. This may also mean that if you are unable to prove that the other party was at fault, and you are found to be at fault (even just partially), the other party may seek damages from you. It may also reduce the amount of damages you are entitled to if you are found to be partially at fault. For example:
- If you are entitled to $10,000 and the other party was completely at fault, you would be entitled to the full $10,000 in damages.
- If you are entitled to $10,000 but were 100 percent to blame for the accident, you would not be entitled to damages and would have to pay the other party’s damages.
- If you were partially at fault, using 20 percent as an example, you would only be entitled to $8,000 of the $10,000 in damages you incurred.
Another benefit to Washington personal injury victims is that there are no damage caps set forth by the state’s laws. While some states impose caps on the damages one can seek in a personal injury claim, such as the amount of punitive damages you may recover, Washington does not set forth any such limits. This means you are free to seek the full amount of your damages in court. The state has held that such limitations are not constitutional, so they are not in place for personal injury cases.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If you have suffered a personal injury due to the actions of another individual, whether it be an automobile accident or slip and fall injury, you should consult with a Washington personal injury attorney to determine what the best course of action is. Your Washington personal injury attorney can also file your case with the courts. Your attorney will work with you to help establish fault, ensuring that your potential liability is minimized, and will help you understand exactly what damages you should be seeking and the amount of restitution to which you may be entitled.