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Tacoma Personal Injury Attorney

Personal injury is an umbrella term used to describe all lawsuits involving injuries caused by some form of third-party negligence. Claimants pursue personal injury lawsuits within their local small claims court, though oftentimes both parties settle these claims out of court. In any case, claimants benefit from consulting a professional personal injury lawyer before filing. Even just utilizing a free consultation is advantageous in giving claimants pertinent information about the potential success of their case and how the claims process works. If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another, please contact the Tacoma personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Mark S. Treyz today.

Statute of Limitations

Each state has established a statute of limitations regarding personal injury claims. These statutes dictate how much time an individual possesses to file their claim. Though this may seem limiting, statutes of limitation do serve specific purposes. They not only ensure that case-related evidence remains fresh, but they also prevent plaintiffs from threatening legal action for an extended time period. In Tacoma, this limit is three years.

Types of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases involve numerous types of bodily injuries. Although it might be impossible to count the various injuries associated with different cases, it is possible to identify several distinct categories of accidents that cause the injuries in the first place.

  • Car accidents – Car accident claims are extremely common. These lawsuits are often based in the other driver’s negligence, typically in the form of intoxication or distracted driving. Initiating a car accident claim comes with several pre-qualifications in no-fault states, but they operate in the same manner as all other personal injury cases in fault-based states.
  • Truck accidents – Truck accidents are especially dangerous due to the truck’s size in comparison to a passenger vehicle. The immense weight difference between both vehicles often causes injury to much more severe than those obtained with two passenger cars. When driver negligence is to blame for a truck accident, personal injury law can help the injured driver recover compensation.
  • Catastrophic injuries – Catastrophic injuries involve the spine, spinal cord, or brain. Spinal injuries cause chronic health issues like paralysis, while brain injuries can cause different, immediate issues like stroke or concussion. Catastrophic accidents commonly occur in car accidents and falls from great heights. If the accident could have been prevented in some way, the claimant can sue the responsible party.
  • Slips and falls – Slips and falls are another commonly filed personal injury claim. They are associated with premises liability cases in which the property’s owner’s negligence causes an accident. Some examples of premises negligence are leaving wires exposed and neglecting to fix uneven surfaces.
  • Wrongful death – A selected family representative initiates the wrongful death claim. Wrongful death occurs when any type of accident results in the individual’s death. Their family can often receive compensation for their damages. For instance, a family can claim lost wages in reference to the financial support their family member provided.
  • Medical malpractice – Medical malpractice lawsuits involve either a medical entity (ex. hospital) or the doctor themselves. Malpractice occurs when a medical practitioner’s negligence causes a patient injury. Common medical malpractice lawsuits involve misdiagnosis, surgical error, and improper medication prescription.

Negligence Law

Negligence law governs all personal injury lawsuits. This means that the root cause of injuries is some form of negligence. When filing a personal injury claim, the claimant must prove that the defendant is guilty using evidence gathering during the process. Evidence should reflect one of the following criteria that a case must possess to successfully win a personal injury case:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to provide safe services and/or products, keeping the health of the plaintiff in mind.
  • The defendant breached their duty to maintain a safe experience for the plaintiff.
  • The defendant’s breach of duty was marked by a negligence that directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries, or the circumstances that set the injury up to occur.
  • The plaintiff must have sustained verifiable injury from the accident.

In all cases, evidence is extremely important to obtain and organize/document correctly. Hazy and/or inaccurate evidence will extend the length of the claims process.

Should I Settle in Court?

Whether a claimant chooses to settle in court is up to them. However, this choice is not one warrants hasty decision-making. Settling in court might seem more serious to some claimants, but in the end, it is best to try settling out of court first. Utilizing the court results in additional court fees that a plaintiff could avoid by settling through mediation. Moreover, all court rulings are public record. Settling out of court is a private process that involves both parties responsibly communicating/negotiating.

Settlement negotiation is the alternative option to a court hearing. Negotiation involves meeting and/or communicating through different means with the other driver’s insurance claims adjustors. This can be a tricky process because claims adjustors are notoriously cheap when it comes to making settlement offers. A Tacoma personal injury lawyer will help you negotiate for a fair settlement award that accurately reflects the damages their client sustained from the accident.

What Damages Can I Claim for Tacoma Personal Injury?

You can claim the same damages within every type of accident, except in wrongful death. Personal injury cases allow plaintiffs to claim physical and emotional damage created by the accident.

  • Medical bills – Claimants can recover costs from medical bills involving the claimant’s examination, surgery, and treatment associated with their accident-related injuries.
  • Recurring medical costs – Recurring medical costs involve on-going treatment after the initial surgery/examination. This includes prescription medication, physical therapy, and treatment-related equipment that the claimant must regularly replace.
  • Adaptive modifications – Plaintiffs can try to recover necessary costs associated with altering their home or car to accommodate their injuries. This pertains to the accessibility of these locations in reference to chronic disability.
  • Therapy – Claimants can recover costs for therapy that are necessary to address psychological trauma associated with the accident. This also covers the cost of family therapy, especially in wrongful death cases.
  • Lost wages – Lost wages is a form of damage that acknowledges the time off individuals exhaust while recovering from accident-related injuries. In some cases, the plaintiff’s workplace does not offer enough paid time off to adequately support their recovery, but they can claim this damage to make up for their lost paychecks.
  • Diminished ability to work – In cases where the plaintiff suffers chronic injury/disability, their ability to work the same way might change. This damage provides compensation to address the plaintiff’s loss of money due to their change in work (ex. less hours, change in position/ranking).
  • Pain and suffering – This damage refers to physical pain and emotional suffering.
  • Embarrassment and/or humiliation
  • Mental anguish

An experienced Tacoma personal injury attorney will help you determine which damages you can claim in your lawsuit and how to provide evidence to back up these claimed damages.

Claimants pursue personal injury lawsuits to recover for damages caused by a third-party’s negligence. With the help of an attorney, plaintiffs can effectively gather evidence and expert opinions on their claim to build the strongest case that they. The claims process gives injured individuals an avenue to address the injuries caused by incidents that could have been avoided.