Washington laws about personal injury recovery

Catastrophic injuries create staggering financial costs, from lost wages to medical bills. Washington allows individuals to file a lawsuit after injuries caused by third-party negligence.

Washington has established these laws to guide personal injury claims. Individuals who disagree with the results of an insurance settlement can seek remedy through the court system.

Fault determination

The plaintiff must prove that his or her injury directly resulted from negligence on behalf of the defendant. Washington defines the standard for negligence as an expected level of care. For example, in a premises liability lawsuit, the plaintiff could cite a store manager’s failure to salt the walkways on an icy day.

Comparative negligence

The judge can award financial damages even if the plaintiff shares some fault for the accident. If he or she contributed up to 50% in the circumstances that caused the accident, the court will reduce the available damages by the amount of fault. Returning to the example above, if the person received $100,000 in damages but was 20% at fault because of improper footwear at the time of the fall, he or she would receive $80,000.

Available damages

Washington law allows personal injury plaintiffs to collect monetary damages for disability and medical expenses associated with the accident. They can also seek unlimited damages for pain, suffering and loss of quality of life.

Washington has also a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. The injured person must file within three years of the incident. After that date, he or she does not have a valid personal injury claim.