Seattle Personal Injury Attorney | Certa Law Group
We’re a plaintiff’s law firm dedicated to representing people with personal injury claims.
Injuries are an unavoidable, yet unpredictable part of life that happen in a variety of ways and places. Often, injuries happen through no fault of the person injured but are a result of the careless actions of others. Personal injury accidents can be stressful periods in our life filled with uncertainty over health, finances, and caring for our families.
The attorneys at Certa Law Group have made helping people in these situations their life’s work. Our attorneys rely on their 30 years of combined experience to handle personal injury cases with a high level of sophistication and compassion. Our focus with each client is to carefully evaluate their case and develop a strategy to maximize their recovery.
The Causes of Personal Injury in Washington
Personal injuries can happen in any context such as at work, school, vacation, and other places. Naturally, personal injury cases encompass a wide range of different events, but some common examples include:
- Motor vehicle accidents. Accidents involving motor vehicles continue to be a source of personal injuries. Seattle and Edmonds populations continue to increase and with that comes increased traffic. Traffic accidents can include a combination of passenger cars, semi-trucks, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Seattle and Edmonds combined experience thousands of car accidents every year, and many of those accidents result in injury. For example, 3,916 of the 11,090 Seattle accidents in 2019 resulted in injury, including fatality. That figure represents roughly 35 percent of all collisions in 2019.
(These figures were generated using the Washington Department of Transportation Crash Data Portal. Simply select “Total crashes by year,” then select the year, select the city, and generate report.)
Several driver behaviors and other factors contribute to the cause of these accidents including inattentive driving due to talking on the phone and other distractions. Drivers who speed, disobey traffic laws, and drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs also increase the odds of collision.
- Work injuries. People spend a good portion of their time working – sometimes in unsafe conditions that cause serious injuries. Common occupations that can increase the chance of injury include construction, road maintenance, factory and manual labor positions, and other jobs involving dangerous equipment.
- Dog bites and other animal attacks. Pet owners are responsible for the actions of their animals – especially when those actions cause injury to others. Victims of dog bites and other animal-related injuries can pursue recovery against the animal’s owner for medical costs and other damages.
- Premise liability. Personal injury can also come from the failure of people and businesses to safely maintain their property. Property owners are responsible for maintaining their land and buildings in a reasonable manner to avoid injury to visitors of the property. Unsafe structures, unkempt terrain, ditches, spills, and other problematic conditions can cause falls, drownings, and other injuries.
Often these injuries occur despite the owner’s awareness of the problem because they fail to properly notify visitors about the dangers on the property. A classic example is a customer who falls on a recently mopped floor of a retail store because the store didn’t provide any warnings.
According to data from the Washington Department of Health, unintentional falls were the greatest reason for nonfatal hospitalizations in Washington between 2004 and 2013. King County, which includes Seattle, reportedly ranks unintentional falls as one of the 10 leading causes of injury-related deaths. The number of fall-related deaths significantly increases for those 45 and older.
- Product liability. The manufacturers and sellers of various goods can also be held accountable when their products injure unsuspecting consumers. Products, even when used correctly, can cause burns, cuts, other serious traumas, and even death. Personal injury claims involving product liability are tough to pursue without the help of an experienced attorney. The companies behind these products have great resources to defend against such claims and will be quick to argue user error was the cause of the accident.
The listed causes of personal injuries are not exhaustive but these identify some of the major topics we consistently see in our cases. Other possible causes of injury might include exposure to toxic chemicals and violence from others. We always welcome an opportunity to hear an injured party’s story to see what options are available.
What Damages Are Available in Personal Injury Cases?
Damages are legalese for the monetary compensation injured parties receive in recognition of the harm done to them. After an accident happens, the real damage is already done, so a monetary award is the only real option available. This compensation usually represents reimbursement for several different items:
- Any medical expenses incurred to treat injuries (e.g., costs for medical exams, surgeries, medications, therapy, and other treatments).
- Compensation for any pain and suffering. Personal injuries can be traumatic experiences that negatively affect the victim’s mental and emotional state. Of course, the physical pain from the injury is also compensable.
- Money to cover any past and future loss of income because your injury prevents you from working. The damages awarded for loss of income will generally depend on the length of time you are unable to work because of the injury and your earning capacity.
We recommend documenting all expenses related to your injury. This means keeping receipts, invoices, and other records.
FAQs for Personal Injury Lawsuits
Here are some answers to common questions about personal injury cases in Washington to review before scheduling a consultation with our office.
What Do I Do if I’m Injured in an Accident?
The first course of action after an accident that causes injury is to seek the appropriate emergency and medical care for health and safety. Other reasonable steps might include gathering any available information about the accident to share with an attorney and scheduling a consultation to explore all options.
Are Personal Injury Lawyers Worth It?
Certainly. Some cases do not warrant the involvement of attorneys because the injures are not severe and the damages are not that great. However, many cases benefit from the advocacy an attorney provides through experienced perspectives and a deeper understanding of the law surrounding personal injuries.
An attorney can prove useful in helping a client understand their rights and determining the true value of the case, so the client receives adequate compensation.
What Are the Elements of Negligence?
Negligence is a legal term to describe unintentional and careless acts of others that cause personal injury. Most cases involving personal injury are cases of negligence. An injured person must generally prove the existence of five different elements to have a successful case:
- Duty of care: People, in general, owe a duty of care to each other to act reasonably given the circumstances. For example, a driver might owe a duty of care to others to drive slower in poor driving conditions (e.g., rain and snow).
- Breach of duty of care: The person being held responsible for the injury must have breached the duty by not acting reasonably given the circumstances. Continuing with the driver example, a breach might occur if a driver doesn’t use their headlights when driving at night.
- Causation: The breach of duty must cause the injury. For example, the driver hit a pedestrian in the middle of the crosswalk because the driver’s headlights were off. Causation is one of the most difficult elements for a negligence case because causation is often attributable to a variety of events in any accident – which creates confusion over what party is at fault. In some cases, the injured party can be found at fault for the accident causing their injury.
Washington has a comparative fault statute that determines how damages are apportioned when more than one party is responsible for the injury from an accident. In cases where the plaintiff is also found at fault, the compensatory damages are proportionally reduced by the plaintiff’s negligent actions. For example, if a court awarded the injured pedestrian $500,000 in damages, but the pedestrian was 20 percent responsible, then their damages would decrease by 20 percent to $400,000.
- Damages: The unreasonable actions of one party to another must result in damages to have a successful negligence claim. In other words, no harm, no foul.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in Washington State?
Plaintiffs in Washington have three years to start a case involving personal injury or injury of personal property. The three-year period usually begins on the day of the events that caused the injury.
What Percentage Do Lawyers Take in Personal Injury Cases?
Most lawyers representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases do so on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is a payment structure in which the lawyer is only paid if the plaintiff receives a settlement. The lawyer then takes a previously agreed percentage of the settlement (e.g., 33 percent).
About Certa Law Group: Our Approach to Personal Injury Cases
Our mission with each personal injury case is to educate the client about their rights, understand their goals, explore the available options, and develop a strategy to produce an effective outcome. Through our years of experience, we understand each client’s case will present unique challenges that we address with as much care and compassion as possible.
Our First Steps Are a Free Consultation and Review of the Case
Every personal injury case begins with a free consultation from one of our experienced attorneys to better understand the facts. If we can represent you, our next step is to perform a thorough review of your case. With most personal injury cases, this step might include the following:
- Gathering relevant facts about the accident (e.g., date, time of day, number of parties involved, location, weather, etc.)
- Obtain any police or other reports
- Review insurance policies
- Find witnesses
- Gather medical records or other documents detailing your injuries
- Further investigation of the accident and the possible parties at fault
The information-gathering part of our process can be long but is essential in analyzing your case and evaluating who was at fault. While considering your goals, we then determine the best next steps to take.
Sometimes the next step is to seek a settlement with the at-fault party or the involved insurance companies. Other times, a reasonable settlement is not possible without initiating a claim in court. However, our attorneys are capable courtroom lawyers experienced in all phases of litigation beginning with discovery and ending with a trial when necessary.
The timeline for reaching an outcome in a case depends on many factors that make it difficult to estimate with any kind of specificity. Some of the relevant factors are the schedule of the court, the complexity of the case (e.g., assessing fault and determining damages), and whether the case goes to trial. As we navigate this process, we do our best to keep clients timely informed about the status of their case.
Schedule a Consultation with Certa Law Group Today
Our office is quick to respond to inquiries from potential clients and requests to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Seattle and Edmonds to meet for a consultation but can also conduct consultations over the phone.
To get started, please complete our intake form with your name, email, telephone number, and information about your case. This information might include the nature of your injury and important facts surrounding its cause. If you have any additional questions about Certa Law Group or the services we offer, please do not hesitate to ask.