Personal injury laws in Washington involve monetary compensation for damage to a claimant’s reputation or person. Many cases of personal injury in Washington include negligence in vehicular collisions and premises liability when one is injured on someone else’s property. The following paper will review some of the essential elements of personal injury laws in Washington.
If you want to make a claim for personal injury by negligence, you are supposed to prove four elements:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care
- The at-fault party breached their duty of care
- The at-fault party’s breach of duty resulted in your injuries
- You suffered damages as a result of your injuries
Comparative Fault in Washington
There are cases where an injured person is partial to blame for their injuries. If you share some level of fault for your injuries, the Washington law on personal injuries applies a concept called the pure comparative negligence. This means that the damages you will recover will be reduced by a percentage that is equal to your share of blame in the accident. For example, if you recover $10,000 and the judge or jury determines that you are 20% at fault for the accident, your damages will be $8,000.
Strict Liability of Dog Attacks
Many states protect dog owners from being liable for the first time their pets injure someone if they reasonably did not believe the dog was harmful. This is known as the one bite rule. However, in Washington, a dog owner is strictly liable when their dog injures someone regardless of whether it is the first time or not.
Statute of Limitations
The time within which you should file a lawsuit is called the statute of limitation. In Washington, the statute of limitation for making a personal injury claim is three years. If you file a claim after three years, your case may be dismissed, and you will not get any compensation.
No Damage Caps
Some states limit the level of compensation one can be awarded for certain kinds of injuries. In Washington, there are no caps on damage awards. In fact, damage caps are regarded as unconstitutional in Washington.
If you intend to file a personal injury claim against someone who caused you to sustain injuries, it is important to hire an attorney. First, your attorney will gather evidence to prove the negligence of the at-fault party. Secondly, your attorney will advise you on the laws applicable in Washington and how to approach your claim. Finally, your attorney will help you get the best possible damage award by exploiting the no damage cap rule in Washington.