Suffering an injury of any kind can be incredibly disruptive and disorienting. If you were injured in an accident, you are far from alone. According to the National Safety Council, Americans suffer approximately 60 million injuries each year, many of which are preventable. These injuries, along with the roughly 225,000 preventable deaths, cost the country over $1,225 billion each year. Fortunately, Washington state allows injured parties to recover compensation from the party who bears responsibility for the accident. An injured person may file a personal injury claim against the other party to secure the compensation they need to support the various aspects of their recovery (i.e., medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with the injury).
Moreover, Washington follows the legal doctrine of “comparative negligence” when assigning fault in an accident involving multiple parties. Under the comparative negligence model, a victim may still recover compensation even if they share some responsibility for causing the accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in the greater Seattle area and you need help pursuing the compensation you need to get your life back on track, enlist the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney who will help you file a claim and obtain a fair and favorable outcome. This post will explore how Washington’s comparative negligence model works and why working with a skilled personal injury lawyer is the best way to maximize your settlement offer.
Understanding “Pure” Comparative Negligence in Washington
Since Washington State follows a comparative negligence doctrine when making fault determinations, this means that even a party that is partially to blame for causing an accident may recover some amount of compensation. As a “pure” comparative negligence state, Washington acknowledges that an injured party is still entitled to receive compensation, regardless of whether they were 10 percent or 90 percent responsible for the accident. In many other states, the plaintiff must prove that the other party was at least 50 or 51 percent responsible for the accident in order to recover any form of compensation. This is not the case in Washington, where plaintiffs may receive damages even if they are 99 percent liable for causing the accident. Essentially, Washington’s pure comparative negligence model recognizes the complexity of most accidents when it isn’t just one party that is solely responsible for an accident. Allowing any party injured in the incident to recover some amount of compensation provides victims with the financial support they need to assist with their recoveries.
How Fault Designations Affect Settlements
Although pure comparative negligence allows you to recover some amount of compensation, even if you were partially to blame for the accident, the degree to which you contributed to the incident directly impacts the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. For example, if an investigation into an auto accident finds that you were 20 percent at fault for causing the collision, you are only entitled to recover 80 percent of the total amount awarded to you. It’s important to recognize that you can still receive some compensation, however small, if the investigation determines that you were over 90 percent responsible for the accident. Determining fault is often one of the most time-consuming and critical aspects of a personal injury case, and working with a skilled and experienced attorney is the best way to ensure that the fault determinations are completed fairly and accurately. Your lawyer can assess the details of your case and identify compelling evidence that establishes fault on behalf of the other party. For instance, your attorney may use information from the police report to highlight that the other party was traveling well above the speed limit at the time of the collision. Whatever the specifics of your situation may be, protect your best interests and maximize your settlement offer by hiring a dedicated and trusted Seattle personal injury lawyer to guide you through every step of the claims process.
Navigating Insurance Tactics in Accident Claims
While an insurance company may claim to be on your side, their top priority is to protect the company’s bottom line. Unfortunately, insurance companies often try to take advantage of injured accident victims to save themselves as much money as possible. When you report an accident to the insurance company, it will assign an insurance adjuster to oversee and handle the claim. This professional may attempt to get you to admit that the accident was your fault, even though the police report does not assign you any blame. Sadly, a shrewd insurance adjuster may take advantage of your vulnerability and trick you into expressing remorse or accepting blame for the incident, which they can then use to deny you the full amount of compensation you deserve. However, when you enlist the help of a seasoned Seattle personal injury attorney, you can trust that this dedicated legal advocate will step in to handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. An experienced lawyer is already deeply familiar with the insurance adjuster’s tactics, and they are prepared to fight back to secure you a more fair and favorable outcome.
Get Started With a Dedicated Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Accidents are an unfortunate reality for many people. If you have suffered an injury in a car accident or in an incident caused by someone else’s mistake or oversight, you have the right to seek compensation to help you cover the costs associated with your recovery. Working with a knowledgeable Seattle personal injury attorney will give you the confidence and clarity you need to move forward and focus on your recovery.
If you suffered an injury at the hands of another party, you may have the right to seek compensation to assist you with the costs of your recovery. Reach out to Scott & Scott, PLLC, today at (206) 622-2200 to discuss your case with a dedicated and knowledgeable Seattle personal injury lawyer.