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Bellevue Personal Injury Lawyer
The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metropolitan area is one of the busiest parts of Washington, and Bellevue is home to more than 140,000 residents. Commuter traffic, tourism, and a dense population mean a high likelihood of car accidents and other injury-causing incidents in the area.
When Bellevue residents suffer damages due to negligence, they need reliable legal representation to recover their losses. The Bellevue injury attorneys at Colburn Law have a strong track record of successful personal injury claims in a wide variety of cases, so contact our Bellevue, WA firm today to learn how we can help with your injury claim.
Personal Injury Resources
- Why Hire a Bellevue Personal Injury Lawyer
- Types of Cases We Handle
- Free Consultation: Contact Our Bellevue Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Why Do I Need an Attorney in Bellevue?
There are many benefits to hiring a personal injury attorney to handle your claim. The most important of these benefits is the fact you have a much higher chance of succeeding with your claim if you have an experienced and reliable personal injury attorney representing you in court. The average person may believe representing his or her own case in court may be a good way to avoid the expense of attorneys’ fees. However, it’s likely he or she would miss crucial filing deadlines or other court requirements that could lead to a judge throwing out the case before it proceeds to trial.
What Are Some Examples of Recoverable Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
In some cases, a plaintiff may be able to claim attorneys’ fees as damages in the civil action, so hiring an attorney can save or make money for a plaintiff. Other damages in personal injury lawsuits typically include:
- Medical expenses. A plaintiff can claim the costs of medical care after an injury. This can include hospital bills and ambulance costs, as well as any expenses for necessary ongoing medical care.
- Lost income. If an injury forces a plaintiff to miss work until he or she recovers, the plaintiff can claim the wages lost during that time as economic damages.
- Property damage. If a defendant’s actions damaged a plaintiff’s personal property, the plaintiff can claim the cost of repairs or replacement in the lawsuit.
- Pain and suffering. Plaintiffs may also receive compensation for the physical pain and mental anguish associated with an injury, especially for injuries resulting in long-term disability or those requiring extensive recovery.
An experienced Bellevue personal injury attorney will know how to compile a strong case that thoroughly proves the extent of the plaintiff’s losses to maximize recovery. An average person with no legal training may know how to work with the insurance companies to secure copies of hospital invoices, pay stubs, and other important documents, but it is very likely he or she would overlook additional compensation that might be available.
Types of Cases We Handle
- Auto Accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability
- Nursing home negligence
Why Should I Contact an Attorney?
As a plaintiff in a personal injury claim, your goal is to prove the defendant in your case was negligent, and the defendant’s negligence directly resulted in damages. Proving negligence requires establishing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff in the situation in question, breached that duty of care in some way, and directly caused the plaintiff’s damages. The plaintiff’s attorney must provide sufficient evidence to prove the extent of these damages, as well as proof that the damages resulted from the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are the victim of an accident that someone else caused, you may wonder if you need to hire an attorney. While self-representation is an option, a personal injury lawyer from Colburn Law can provide several important benefits to your case.
- After an accident, it can be difficult to navigate complex litigation processes while recovering from painful injuries. Your attorney will handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on healing.
- You may need to negotiate with insurance representatives and defense attorneys at several points during the claim process. Your lawyer will have the experience and skills necessary to handle these negotiations on your behalf, advocating for the best possible outcome.
- Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may require specialized medical care that can be difficult to find. Your attorney will have information about medical resources in and near Bellevue and can connect you to the treatment you need.
- To prove your right to compensation, you will need to establish the at-fault party’s liability. In some cases, this liability can be difficult to prove. Your attorney will have access to expert witnesses who can provide testimony on your behalf, including medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists.
- Calculating damages can be difficult, especially if you have severe injuries that require long-term care. Your lawyer will know what types of compensation you may be eligible for and will work to calculate the full extent of your damages. With this information, your attorney will advocate for your maximum award during each stage of your case.
The Personal Injury Claim Process
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to navigate a series of steps to achieve compensation. The first action you should take after your accident is to seek medical attention, even if you do not feel hurt. Not only is this important for your health, but it will establish a record of your injuries and treatment. If you do not seek medical attention right away, the insurance company or defense attorney may use this information as evidence to discredit your case.
Once you receive treatment, contact a personal injury lawyer from Colburn Law. Your attorney will consult with you about your case and explain your legal options. Your lawyer will initiate an investigation into your case and begin collecting evidence. Once you reach maximum medical improvement, your attorney will initiate the claim process.
- First, your attorney will determine whether to send an initial demand letter to the at-fault party. This letter will outline your intent to file a lawsuit and the compensation you are seeking. After receiving the demand letter, the at-fault party may engage in negotiations with your attorney at this stage.
- If these negotiations are successful, your case may settle before your lawyer files the lawsuit. If the negotiations are unsuccessful or your lawyer chooses not to send an initial demand, your attorney will file your claim in Washington civil court. Once your attorney files your personal injury lawsuit, your case will enter the discovery stage.
- During discovery, each party will exchange claims and documents with one another. Each party will also take depositions of each other and relevant witnesses and experts. This process may last between six months to one year, depending on the complexity of your case.
- Once discovery is complete, you and your attorney can choose to enter mediation or negotiation with the at-fault party. If these discussions are successful, your case will settle before going to trial and you will receive compensation at this stage.
- If negotiation or mediation is unsuccessful, or if you choose not to engage in these processes, your case will proceed to trial. During the trial, the court will hear arguments from both parties and determine whether you should receive compensation. The court will either choose to dismiss your case or award a settlement.
Should I Speak to the Insurance Company After an Accident?
After some accidents, such as vehicle collisions or falls on someone else’s property, you may have the right to file an insurance claim as well as a lawsuit. In these situations, an insurance representative may contact you about your claim soon after your accident. He or she may ask you to provide a statement, claiming that it will help you receive compensation faster and settle your case sooner.
You should not speak to the insurance representative after an accident. You are under no legal obligation to provide a statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Instead, decline the representative’s request and state that you need to speak to your lawyer first.
It is important to remember that the goals of the insurance company differ from your own. The company is responsible for paying for your settlement; it is not in the company’s best interest to pay the maximum amount. As a result, insurance representatives often look for ways to protect the company’s bottom line and reduce the amount it needs to pay.
If you provide a statement too early in your case, it could harm you in the long run. Before you reach maximum medical improvement, you may not know the full extent of your injuries and damages. If you provide a recorded statement to a representative and you discover new information later on, the representative may use your conflicting statements to discredit your claim and justify a lower award. In some cases, these inconsistencies could lead to a denied claim. To protect your right to compensation, always speak with your attorney at Colburn Law before speaking with an insurance representative.
Washington Negligence Laws
To receive compensation in a Washington personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the at-fault party’s negligence caused your accident. Negligence refers to a party’s failure to uphold a certain duty of care, causing harm to another person. You will need to prove four key elements to establish the at-fault party’s negligence.
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. For example, drivers have a duty to follow all traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely.
- The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care in some way. For example, a driver who runs a red light or drives while drunk breaches his or her duty.
- The at-fault party’s breach of duty caused your accident and injuries. Evidence such as surveillance footage, witness testimony, expert reports, and medical record can establish causation.
- You sustained damages that you can collect in your lawsuit. Medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage are common forms of compensation in personal injury claims.
Although you may establish your right to compensation, your award could be at risk. Washington’s comparative negligence laws reduce the amount of damages a personal injury plaintiff receives by the percentage of liability he or she shares. Washington allows plaintiffs to collect compensation even if they are more than 50% responsible for the accident.
For example, say you are in an accident with a driver who made an unsafe lane change. However, the court discovers you were texting on your phone at the time of the collision. The court determines you are 20% responsible for the crash. If you ask for a $40,000 settlement, you will receive $32,000.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Claim in Washington State?
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit in Washington, you will need to adhere to the statute of limitations. This rule sets a deadline for filing a claim; if you do not file by the time this deadline passes, the court will likely dismiss your case. You have three years from the day of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Washington state.
There are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations, but they are not common.
- If you were under 18 or incompetent or disabled to the point where you could not understand the nature of the legal proceedings, the court will extend your deadline. Your three-year clock will begin running on the day you turn 18 or the day that the period of incompetence ends.
- If the at-fault party leaves Washington for a period of time, the court will not count his or her period of absence toward your statute of limitations. The clock will begin once he or she returns.
To protect your right to compensation, contact an attorney at Colburn Law as soon as possible after your accident. Your lawyer will help you identify the appropriate filing deadline and take steps to ensure that your case makes it to court in time.
Contact Our Bellevue Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Personal injury lawsuits can quickly grow complex and involve weeks or months of pre-trial motions and discovery. It’s essential to work quickly after an accident in Bellevue for the best chance of securing compensation for your damages. The attorneys at Colburn Law have helped countless clients in the Bellevue area secure compensation for their losses in personal injury cases, and we are confident we can help maximize your recovery after an accident. Contact our firm today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with no obligation. Once we review the details of your situation, we can let you know how our team can help.
Client Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Greg guided me through a stressful process involving a car accident and the insurance company. Not only did he put me at ease, but he was truly an advocate for me and my family. I am truly thankful for his help, and would highly recommend him to any of my friends or family.