Washington Personal Injury« Areas of Practice
One of the first questions people ask is, “What is personal injury”? It is the worst kind of injury.
Under the law you can recover money for the loss of things, or damage to things you own. You can even recover money for the loss of a reputation, or the loss of business clients or contracts. You can recover money for the loss of many things. However, these are not considered “personal injuries”.
A personal injury case is the legal system’s way of trying to compensate you for the loss of your physical health and well being. When a personal injury occurs, your physical body has been damaged in some way, in other words, you’ve suffered an injury. Many times, mental suffering (such as depression, uncontrollable worrying, or post traumatic stress disorder) will accompany the physical pain and suffering of an injured person. An injury to the physical body will also result in an injury to the psyche.
Sometimes a personal injury is life changing; such as a brain injury, traumatic amputation, quadrapalegia, parapalegia, or spinal cord injury. Often, personal injuries will get in the way of you living your life and enjoying the things you used to enjoy, like working, taking care of your home responsibilities, or leisure activities like playing golf.
What happens when someone rear ends you at a stop light or hits you on the highway? They take away your good health through their negligence. No one has the right to damage another person physically. When this is done purposefully, it becomes a criminal matter. When this is done as a result of negligence, it becomes a civil matter; also known as a personal injury case.
When you suffer a personal injury because of another person’s negligence you have the right to recover monetary damages (money). Unfortunately, money cannot really compensate anyone for suffering a physical injury. As a Bellevue personal injury lawyer, I often see this in the case of the severely injured, such as someone who is so injured that they become a paraplegic. The paraplegic may “win” a large settlement or jury verdict in a personal injury case – but they haven’t really won. Would you trade places with that paraplegic for a large sum of money?
What many people don’t realize is that large sums of money are often awarded to those with severe injuries simply to pay for the cost of their ongoing medical care. A person who requires hospitalization or constant care and attention may very well spend millions of dollars over the course of their lifetime just to stay alive. The money recovered for the victim in personal injury cases rarely makes anyone “rich” or “set for life”. It simply tries to compensate them for what they have lost; trying to put them back in the place they were before the injury. The truth is that money can never fully compensate someone for a physical loss. It is simply the best way our legal system has to try to make up for that loss.
Luckily, the majority of personal injury cases do not involve catastrophic injuries like paralysis. The majority of personal injury cases result from an accident that cause non life threatening injuries. Many people involved in auto accidents find themselves needing to see a medical doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist for some time to work out the sprained and strained muscles in the back and neck. Even a seemingly small accident can cause very painful injuries to these muscles. It often becomes difficult to sit at the computer or to do any lifting or pulling at work or home. These injuries can also affect the relationships the injured person has with other people, most significantly their family. A person with back or neck pain and injuries may not be able to help out with household chores or even perform sexually. This inability to do everything they used to do causes a strain in the family relationships on many levels. In fact, the damage to the family or spousal relationship may result in a legal claim on behalf of the children and spouse of the injured person called a “loss of consortium” claim.
The typical personal injury case may not seem very meaningful to some. However, once it happens to you it doesn’t take long to realize that even minor injuries can have a seriously detrimental effect on your life and your relationships with those around you. The loss of your physical health due to another person’s negligence is something that deserves compensation. This is why it is crucial to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to be sure your rights are protected.
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Insurance Coverage Disputes
Spinal Cord Injuries
Pedestrian, Bicylcle and Crosswalk Accidents
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