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 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
- 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
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.