Be A Smart Consumer: Understand Your Legal Rights
Generally, you will only have a legal right to recover compensation if the injuries were caused by another party's negligence. In Washington state, the term "negligence" is defined as a person's failure to exercise "ordinary care" or the kind of care that is necessary in the particular situation that led to your injury. Not only can a person be found negligent, but so can a corporation or a governmental agency.
Often it is easy to determine whether a party was negligent, such as when a driver runs a stop sign or fails to yield to pedestrians in a clearly marked crosswalk. The violation of a known rule, statute, or regulation can also provide evidence of a party's negligence.
For example, if a person injures you and also breaks the law while doing so, that violation may be admissible in a subsequent civil trial to prove that the person was negligent.
Example of Comparative Fault in Washington State
Sometimes there may be more than one negligent party who has caused the harm. Washington follows the law of comparative negligence (which is also called comparative fault).
Essentially, this means that more than one party may be responsible or negligent for causing injury and/or damages to another person.
For example, let's say Party A and Party B both negligently injured you and that the damages were calculated at $100,000. Party A was found 25% responsible and Party B, 75%. Party A's share of the damages is $25,000 and Party B's share is $75,000. Under the law of comparative fault, each negligent party is only responsible for its share of damages as determined by the jury-or a judge, if the matter is tried without a jury.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Washington
Comparative negligence actually comes into play in personal injury claims more often than one might think. The more severe the injuries and the higher the level of damages that are involved, the more likely that the insurance company will fight the claim and even attempt to place some of the blame for the accident on the victim.
If you have been injured in an accident in Washington state you may benefit from consulting with a personal injury attorney qualified to help you with your case. Call Chris Davis and the legal team at Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000 to schedule a free legal consultation.