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FAQ Personal Injury Lawsuit -- Filing in Everett, WA and Winning!

Patrick McGreevy is an experienced personal injury attorney located in Everett and can answer your questions.

A few frequently asked questions:

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the decedent was killed as a result of the negligence (or other liability) on the part of the defendant's, and that the surviving dependents or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages as a result of the defendant's conduct.

Under "common law" (the general legal principles passed from England to the United States over hundreds of years) this type of claim did not exist. It was reasoned that the claim died with the victim, and the surviving family members could not claim damages from the person who caused the victim's death.

To correct this injustice, the individual states have passed "wrongful death statutes" over the years, and some form of wrongful death claim action exists in all state jurisdictions today. While they all follow some general principles, each state jurisdiction is unique, since each state has drafted its own form of "wrongful death statute."

What is "Slip and Fall"?

A "slip and fall" or "trip and fall" is the generic term for an injury which occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else's property. It includes falls as a result of water, ice or snow, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard, such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground.

If you are on someone else's property and injure yourself as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, the land owner or business proprietor may be liable for your injuries. If you are a property owner and someone injures himself on your land, you may find yourself legally responsible for his or her injuries.

What Compensation May Be Needed After an Auto Accident?

Millions of auto accidents occur each year, injuring people and damaging property. Where a matter is very minor, many people file the needed reports with the police or DMV, tell their insurance companies, and go on with their lives, paying the losses out of pocket. But all too often the matter is not minor, and can cost you significant amounts of money and significant personal sacrifice or pain.

As you know, if you suffer a personal injury you'll likely require medical attention and may need rehabilitation, both of which cost money. You may lose income (and/or have to use up "sick time") because of the injury, and while treatment and recovery takes place. You may have sustained property damage to your car and other property.

As you can't drive your vehicle while it is being repaired, you may have to rent one, and car repairs and rentals can cost money. You may lose the ability to perform various activities of normal daily living, for a while or long term. You may endure pain and suffering.

The law permits you to seek recovery after an accident to "make you whole again." The central concept is that you should be compensated in a manner that, as best as the law can arrange, places you back in the same position as you were before the accident.

In addition to normal compensatory damages designed to make someone whole, in extreme cases "punitive damages" may be available if the injury was the result of someone else's reckless or irresponsible behavior, or if the cause of the accident or the extent of the injury was caused by something about the car that is dangerous – a defective product – that the manufacturer should have corrected.

What is a Trucking Accident?

Depending upon state law, the general rule is that a common carrier is liable for injuries or damages caused by the negligent operation of its vehicles. If the common carrier is a government-owned transportation system, the government entity may be liable for injuries or damages resulting from the use of the transportation system. There are some exceptions to lawsuits that can be brought against the government.

Additionally, every state and local municipality has specific rules and procedures for bringing a lawsuit against a government entity. Sometimes, a special notice is required to be filed with the municipality before a lawsuit may be filed.

The filing deadlines for such notices are generally short. If you have been injured by a common carrier, please contact an attorney immediately in order to determine the proper notice period which applies to your action.

What is Meant by the Term "Defective Product"?

A "defective product" is one that causes some injury or damage to person as a result of a person because of some defect in the product or its labeling or the way the product was used. The manufacturer, and others involved in the chain of commerce involving the products that caused the injury, are often liable for injuries defective products cause.

All states allow some form of recovery to persons injured by "defective products". "Product liability" cases run from the obvious (a car sold without operational brakes, a mislabeled product that causes injury) to the not-so obvious (injury from exposure to tobacco, or harmful side effects from an improperly tested drug).

What are Spinal Cord Injuries?

Even in what seems to be relatively minor accidents people can injure their neck and back. The force generated by an accident forces the spine forward and backward, or side to side. This can tear and stretch muscle, resulting in painful injuries.

The soft disks that are between the vertebrae can also tear, a more serious injury. Back and neck injuries are, according to health agencies, the most common reason for missed work, and one of the most common complaints made to doctors.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

Catastrophic injuries, as well as death of a loved one or one's own mortal illness, propel one into a process of grief. Counselors list several stages of grief that one must go through in order to come to grips with a sobering new reality.

Devastating injuries, catastrophic in scope and permanent in nature, can arise in numerous and varied ways, and take a tremendous toll in terms of personal, family and community suffering and loss. For example, injuries involving paralysis, burns, head injuries and injuries resulting from toxic exposure are often catastrophic in nature.

How Long Will it take to Settle My Case?

Generally, the more serious and long lasting the injuries, the longer the claim may take to resolve. There are exceptions of course.

The length of time is really dependent on the length of your recovery, or until you reach maximum improvement. When you settle, you want to be sure you have accounted for all of your damages, past and future. Once you settle, you can't reopen the claim.

With many types of injuries, it may take months or years before you know a firm prognosis and how much future treatment may be necessary. You'll want to negotiate a settlement once you become fixed and stable. You'll want to settle once you are reasonably certain of how much your past and future losses will be.

How Long do I Have Before I Have to File A Claim in my Accident Case?

What can I get (How Much Money) for my Car Accident Injuries?

Each state has a strict time requirement on when a claim can be settled or filed in court. This time limit is called the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations will vary according to each state's laws. In Washington State, the statute of limitation for most injury claims is three (3) years from the date of the injury or loss.

There are exceptions to statute of limitation periods. You'll want to consult with an experienced lawyer to make sure you know when the SOL expires in your case.

Remember, if your case is serious enough to justify the expense of a lawyer, you should NOT WAIT right before the SOL expires. Most reputable attorneys will want a substantial amount of time before the SOL expires to prepare for and investigate the case. The more time you allow the attorney before the SOL expires, the better.

An injured claimant is entitled to recover money for non-economic damages incurred, defined as subjective, non-monetary losses, including but not limited to, pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life experienced and with reasonable probability to be experienced in the future. See WPI 30.05; RCW 4.56.250.

What is an MVA?

MVA is an acronym or abbreviation for 'motor vehicle accident'. The term is most often used by insurance companies and insurance adjustors.

For free consultation, please contact us today at 425-299-9844

Who Can I Sue if I was in a Hit and Run Car Accident?

Whether or not you have any legal recourse depends on the circumstances of the accident and how much information you have about the other parties involved. Every hit and run case is a little bit different.

And what kind of insurance coverage you have may be a determining factor. For these types of accidents it is probably best to consult with an attorney to discuss your legal options.

I'm Confused about the Difference types of Coverage listed on my Automobile Insurance Policy– What exactly is BI, UM and PIP Coverage? And What do they mean if I have been in a Car Accident?

BI stands for 'bodily injury .' This type of coverage will pay claims for injury you negligently cause to another as a result of the use of your vehicle. Washington state law requires that every driver carry insurance for bodily injury with policy limits of at least $25,000. UM stands for 'uninsured motorist' or 'underinsured motorist .'

If you are injured by a negligent driver who does not have liability insurance (or inadequate liability insurance), you may make a claim with your own insurance carrier if you have UM coverage. When you make a UM claim, your insurance carrier "stands in the shoes" of the negligent driver and is permitted to assert all defenses that this driver may have had against you (e.g., comparative fault, excessive medical treatment, etc.).

PIP stands for 'personal injury protection .' PIP pays for your reasonable and necessary medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault for the collision. Although the law does not require that you carry UM and PIP coverage, insurance companies must offer these types of coverages to you.

If you choose to reject UM and PIP coverage, your insurance company must record your rejection in writing. An insurance company's failure to obtain your written rejection of UM or PIP coverage prevents the carrier from denying the claim, even if you didn't specifically pay for this type of coverage.

I was Injured in a Rear-End Collision where little damage was caused to my vehicle. The other driver's insurance company is denying my claim, saying that I could not possibly have been Injured.

Unfortunately, more and more insurance companies are implementing a policy of denying bodily injury claims outright, or only offering a nominal sum to settle, when the property damage is below a certain monetary amount, like $1,000.

The first thing you should know is that there is no credible scientific support for the proposition that injury potential can be determined based on the extent of property damage caused to the vehicle. However, these "low damage" cases may be difficult to prove in court because jurors often believe that injuries cannot occur in low speed crashes.

Insurance companies will often hire self-proclaimed "experts" to help them spread the myth that low damage means little or no injury. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few suggestions. First, take your car to another reliable automotive shop to determine the full extent of damage. Quite often, most of the damage will be hidden and an expert will need to dissemble the rear bumper and check the vehicle for all possible signs of impact.

Second, you must adequately document all damage and all evidence that a collision occurred. This means taking photographs and compiling a thorough repair estimate. Third, do not repair the vehicle or accept a property settlement until you have spoken to an attorney. Finally, you need to hire experienced counsel because a lawsuit is probably inevitable.

My office has successfully handled many claims involving "low damage" collisions. Please email me directly or contact my office if you wish to discuss your claim further.

I was Injured in a Car Accident that wasn't my fault, and now my own Insurance Company is requesting that I submit to a Medical Examination by a doctor of its own choice. Do I have to go?

Unfortunately, and in most cases, yes. Your insurance company has the contractual right to have you examined and to have your treatment reviewed by another medical professional. Insurance companies like to call these one-time examinations "Independent Medical Exams" or "IME's."

This is a gross misnomer however– they should really be titled "Insurance Medical Exams" because insurance companies use these one-time exams (or in some cases, a one-time medical records review) as a way to terminate benefits regardless of whether you are still benefiting from additional treatment.

Insurance companies use "IME's" to save them money and their medical examiners are often "hired guns" willing to offer the right medical opinion to justify this goal. As one doctor friend of mine aptly states — opinions are commodities like everything else and you can always buy the right one you are looking for. If you find yourself being requested to submit to an "Insurance Medical Exam," here are a few suggestions. First, before submitting to an exam, read your policy!

The insurance company's right to request an exam is contained within the insurance contract. Review it to make sure the company is not violating any of the policy provisions. Second, you really should consider hiring an attorney.

Recent case law has suggested that the "IME" report may be discoverable by the third party tortfeasor, providing additional ammunition for the defense attorney. Attorneys can often insist that the exam be delayed and insist that an impartial observer be present during the exam.

Third, make sure you give the examiner an accurate description of your prior health problems, current complaints, and the facts of the crash. Any discrepancies will be used against you. Lastly, recognize that the examiner will be looking for all signs that you are not injured — how you walk into the examination room, how you sit, how long you sit, facial expressions, etc.

In one case I handled, the examiner wrote in his report how he watched my client drive into the parking lot, "jump" out of his car with no "apparent difficulty" and "ran" into the building entrance! Need I say more?

Ready for legal counsel? Hire Everett attorney Patrick McGreevy for your Personal Injury Case

For a free consultation on a personal injury lawsuit, contact Everett Attorney Patrick McGreevy today. Call 425-299-9844!

Everett Attorney's Guide to Personal Injuries
Everett Injury Lawyer
Personal Injury Law Group, PLLC
Patrick McGreevy Law Office
Phone: (425) 299-9844

Fax: (425) 977-7877

2015 33rd St
Everett, WA 98201
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