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Car Accidents

What Should I do if someone hits my car? What happens if I am hit by a car?

If you were hit by a car, first of all, don’t panic. If anyone is injured, you should err on the side of safety and call an ambulance. Make sure to notify law-enforcement and request their presence at the scene of the accident to facilitate the exchange of information. Do not take another driver up on his or her invitation to handle it between insurance companies without the need for a police officer, or worse, to “resolve” issues without reporting the accident to the insurance companies. Avoid making any unnecessary statements to the other driver or anyone else at the scene. Stick to the facts. Don’t discuss fault for the accident, but do take note of any statements that you hear from the other driver or from a witness. If there are bystander witnesses, make sure to get their contact information and find out what they saw. Take pictures of any and all damage, of any visible injuries, and of the scene of the accident.

If you were hit by a car as a pedestrian, all of the above applies with equal force. Make certain to obtain the driver’s insurance information and to obtain a photo of the license plate number of the vehicle.

When the vehicles and any related damage have been addressed and you have been checked out by a medical professional, it is time to contact an experienced personal injury attorney for next steps and further advice. Many steps in the early phases of a case may be mishandled if an attorney is not attending to them as they happen. The sooner you get advice specific to your situation, the more an attorney can do to help you.

What happens after a car accident?

Certain things always occur after a car accident. Generally speaking, the accident is reported by one of the drivers or witnesses to the accident. In fact, accidents are required to be reported above a certain damage threshold. More importantly, having a law enforcement officer present helps protect everyone involved from decisions being made later based upon inaccurate information. In addition, police officers often obtain evidence above and beyond what an individual driver would be in a position to obtain, and usually come equipped with the right tools to do so. Finally, a police officer is in a good position to perceive information and facts because he or she was not involved in the accident. The physical and emotional stress of being in an accident can be overwhelming. It is not uncommon for cases that go to trial in court after a car accident to involve disputes about important facts. At trial, the drivers are vulnerable to criticism that their memories of the event may be adversely affected by their physical or emotional trauma at the time of the upsetting events. Also, the law generally requires drivers involved in an accident to exchange insurance information. Leaving the scene of an accident without providing contact and insurance information may even constitute the crime of hit-and-run. Whether or not anyone was injured, serious consequences may be imposed for leaving the scene of an accident. Finally, The individuals involved in an accident should evaluate and address any damage done, both damage to property and any physical injuries resulting from the crash. When it comes to property damage, this is most readily done by taking photographs or video. It may be necessary to obtain a tow truck if the vehicles cannot be driven without causing additional damage. Physical injuries should always be evaluated as soon as possible, ideally by paramedics, but with a visit to emergency or urgent care if an immediate assessment is not possible. Victims of a car accident should not assume that they are not seriously injured if they feel only a little pain immediately following the accident. The shock of a traumatic incident often suppresses pain levels in the immediate aftermath of a collision. Also, many injuries may not be immediately evident to the naked eye and new manifestations of tissue damage commonly continue to arise in the hours or days following a collision. For these reasons, the safest bet is to get fully evaluated as soon as possible after a car accident and reevaluated as soon as possible in the event of any new or changing symptoms.

What should I say if someone is injured in a car accident?

As with other facts that could become disputed between parties involved in a car accident, the nature and extent of any injuries or pain should not be discussed in person at the scene of an accident except with law-enforcement or medical personnel. For that matter, don’t talk about fault for the collusion either, even if it seems beyond dispute. Often, the stress and trauma of an accident will distort perception and it is not uncommon for the same factors to mask symptoms of an injury. For these and many other reasons it is always best to keep your thoughts to yourself and share them only with emergency response professionals and your attorney after an accident.

When should I get a lawyer after a car accident?

Have you ever heard the expression, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” In no context is this saying more true than in the context of an injury case. Obtaining a lawyer as soon as you can after a car accident, especially if your injuries turn out to be serious, will go far toward protecting your legal rights at the outset. This is always preferable to trying to restore them after they have already been violated. If your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company is telling you that you should work directly with them or seem in a hurry to cut you a check, there’s a reason why. The insurance company stands to profit from unsuspecting car accident victims without personal injury lawyers, by sweet talking them into taking a quick buck before the extent of their injuries becomes clear. Many such insurance adjusters are not above taking advantage and setting traps for the unwary. This is how many insurance companies, especially those with notoriously low premium rates, can keep profit margins high. Don’t fall for it. Follow the advice of previous generations instead and spend an ounce of prevention by calling a car accident lawyer sooner rather than later.

What symptoms might I have after a car accident?

The variety of injuries that are possible from a car accident is as vast as the variety of people involved in them. High speeds and the enormous mass of today’s vehicles, as well as the variety of driving circumstances that precede an accident, render it beyond the predictive power of  even the most brilliant statisticians how the human body will be harmed in any given car crash. That being said, some patterns can be found in the body‘s reaction to physical and mental trauma. The most pervasive is that it almost always takes time for the full extent of a person’s injuries to manifest. Right after an accident, the body and mind are still in fight or flight mode. It quite literally takes time for the adrenaline to wear off and make way for pain signals. Even then, the aches and pains felt closest in time to the accident may not be the same symptoms as those that develop in the weeks and months following the collision.

Also, due to the effect of rapid deceleration on the human body in many accidents, it is very common for victims to experience shearing forces that cause damage to the soft disks cushioning the vertebrae in the spine, the connective joints throughout the body, ligaments, muscles, or even organs. The best way to improve your chances of a full return to health following an accident is to get checked out early, follow your doctor’s instructions when getting care, and get checked out again anytime symptoms change or worsen. A car accident attorney can help provide more specific suggestions regarding the legal implications of various treatment options.

Should I go to the hospital after a car accident?

It is always better to be safe than sorry. The stress and excitement of a car accident can easily mask the sometimes subtle indications of a serious injury. Medical providers at the emergency room of your local hospital are in a uniquely good position to be able to assess and identify any critical injuries. This is especially important when the accident was at significant speeds or was otherwise more forceful than that of a “typical” fender bender. Another option is to call for an ambulance and be checked out by the very capable EMTs in your community. If cost is a concern, at a very minimum you should take the time to be immediately evaluated at an urgent care or similar low cost clinic. The money you may spend will be worth every penny In terms of the protection and peace of mind that it offers.

What happens if I am injured in an Uber?

While it is a good rule of thumb after any accident, it is especially important if injured in an accident while riding in an Uber, a vehicle hit by an Uber, or as a pedestrian hit by an Uber to document, document, document. Make sure you obtain the Uber driver’s contact information, ideally from an unexpired drivers license. Make sure also to obtain his or her insurance information, photos of any damage and any injuries, and the names and contact information of any witnesses. Take note of what was occurring with regard to the driver’s Uber app at the time of the collision as this can impact the availability of insurance coverage provided by Uber. Was the drive en route to pick up a passenger? Was the driver bringing a passenger to his or her destination? If neither, did the driver have the Uber app open?

If you are injured while riding in an Uber, save everything. Take a screenshot of all information related to your Uber ride, including any correspondence with the driver, any notifications related to the ride, and your receipt. Make sure to verify that all of the information in the app is correct, such as the driver’s photo and the license plate, if you didn’t do so already at the start of the drive. Avoid making statements about the incident except to first responders. Write down any statements that you remember being made by your driver or anyone else involved in the accident. After getting medical attention for any injuries, protect your rights by speaking with an Uber accident attorney as soon as possible.

What happens if I am in an accident without insurance?

If you were involved in an accident without insurance, but the accident was not your fault, you’re most likely in luck… this time. In Washington State, you are entitled to recover fully for your injuries from the driver who was at fault for the collision even if you did not have car insurance at the time of the crash, assuming he or she has adequate insurance to cover your damages. This is not universally the case. Several states have what are called “no pay no play” statues that limit an uninsured driver’s recovery to only his or her actual expenses, such as medical bills and property damage. “No pay no play” states generally do not allow an uninsured driver to recover for his or her pain and suffering or other general damages.

If you were involved in an accident without liability insurance that was your fault, you are unfortunately in many ways out of luck. While you can get your medical bills paid if you have health insurance, your other losses such as pain, suffering, disability, etc. are your own responsibility. In addition, anyone injured or suffering damage in the collision will, or their attorneys will, likely come after you to make them whole for their losses, including property damage, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

What happens if I am hit by someone without insurance or an underinsured driver?

If you are hit by someone without insurance or an underinsured driver, it is critical that you do two important things at the scene of the accident. Number one, as always, it is imperative to request and wait for law-enforcement assistance at the scene and an ambulance if you are injured. Number two, report the accident to your own insurance company. They will be taking care of the incident if you have uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage. In addition, it is important to get treatment for your injuries, which can be processed through insurance if you have it or health insurance if you don’t have PIP.

Should I sue for personal injury after a car accident?

Lawsuits exist for the purpose of resolving disputes between people. The purpose of a civil case specifically is to bring the assistance of the court system to bear in resolving non-criminal disputes seeking money damages or other relief. There is nothing that should be taboo about bringing a lawsuit in and of itself. Sometimes a formal lawsuit after a car accident is helpful and necessary, and sometimes it is unnecessary. Whether or not a lawsuit is necessary depends on the circumstances of the individual case. Often, a case can be settled without a formal lawsuit, but the proposed settlement may very well not be commensurate with the actual value of the case if it were to be tried to a jury. The value of a case may not be readily apparent to an insurance adjuster or other financial decision maker, and it is only upon preparing the case for a trial by jury that its strengths and ultimately its value become undeniable. For this reason, it is quite often if not usually the case that better settlements or recoveries can be obtained by bringing a lawsuit for personal injuries after a car accident.

What will happen in a lawsuit if I am rear ended?

A rear-end accident has much in common with other car accidents. After being rear ended, you should take the same steps that you would after any other accident, including getting checked out medically as early as possible and anytime your symptoms change, avoiding making statements at the scene, getting contact information from any witnesses, requesting the assistance of a police officer, and writing down notes of what you observe at the scene of the accident shortly after it occurs. A rear end accident is unique in that liability of the following driver is generally less likely to be disputed by his or her insurance company than in other types of accidents. This is because of what’s called the following car doctrine, which is a legal rule stating that a following car is presumptively at fault if it hits the vehicle in front of it. Although there are some exceptions to this rule, it is often the case that Insurance companies are easier to deal with when the victim was rear-ended by the at fault driver.

Another unique thing about rear-end accident is the frequency with which injuries occur. The biomechanics of a rear-end collision so often cause spinal injuries that the phrase “whiplash” came about to describe this anatomical scenario. Injuries anywhere in the spine after a rear-end accident are extremely common, and in particular the neck is very vulnerable to whiplash injury. Of all of the levels in the cervical spine, the neck is especially susceptible to injury in a rear end accident at levels C2 to C3 and C5 to C6.

Can I sue my auto insurance company?

A customer has the right to sue their auto insurance company if the auto insurance company wrongfully causes him or her to incur damages. As a practical matter, it may or may not be necessary to bring a lawsuit against a driver’s own auto insurance company after an accident. One scenario in which bringing a lawsuit against an injured party’s own auto insurance company may be necessary is if the driver at fault for the accident does not carry sufficient insurance coverage to cover all of the damage or injuries caused by the accident. In this situation, the innocent party must rely on his or her own coverage to pay for the harm caused by the uninsured or underinsured driver, called UIM insurance. A lawsuit may be necessary if the driver and his or her own insurance company cannot agree on the value of the damages.

What is my whiplash injury worth?

Every injury is different. Anyone who suggests that any two injuries are the same has never had to prove an injury case at trial. What a case is worth depends on many different factors, some of which can change or develop during the lifespan of a case. The variables include, among many others, who the insurance company is, whether or not you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions, the anatomical nature of the injury, the severity of the crash, and how the driver and the injured person are likely to be perceived by a jury in terms of their respective believability. Neck and back injuries can be more difficult to recoup their full value because insurance companies tend to be overconfident in their ability to convince a jury that someone with a neck or a back injury is exaggerating or faking their injuries. That being said, neck and back injuries after a whiplash incident can be the most severe and debilitating injuries possible. Therefore, the experience and the willingness of an injury attorney if the case should go to trial are very important in maximizing the value of a whiplash injury.

Personal injury

Is it hard to prove negligence?

Negligence is an easier state of mind to prove than others that exist in the law, such as gross negligence, recklessness, intent etc. Whether negligence arises from a set of facts though depends greatly on the perception of the jury. This can vary depending on how the case is tried by the lawyers and their strategy throughout the process. If, for example, the focus remains on the bad behavior of the defendant consistently throughout the trial, it may be easier for the jury to perceive the acts of the defendant as negligent. If, on the other hand, the defendant succeeds in turning the tables and keeping the focus throughout trial on imperfect actions on the part of the plaintiff, the jury may scrutinize the defendant’s actions less rigorously. The single most important consideration in one’s ability to prove a case at trial is the degree of experience that he or she has in the art, as efforts repeated over time to hone one’s strategies provide invaluable insight. The second most important factor is the volume of time invested in preparing the case for trial. Only by digging In and being exhaustively thorough can an attorney prepare for a winning strategy that will outshine the other side and produce the right environment for the jury to see the case in his or her client’s perspective.

Can I sue for emotional distress in a personal injury case?

The short answer is yes, if you were physically injured. Physical injuries have the potential to cause both physical and mental harm. The law provides a separate element of damages for both types of pain and suffering after a physical injury. Similarly, emotional distress in its own right is compensable in the context of a tort case whether personal physical injuries are involved or not, as long as the defendant’s conduct is intentional or reckless with regard to the emotional well-being of the victim. The availability of emotional distress damages in other situations depends on the facts and circumstances of the particular case and the applicable causes of action.

What is my injury case worth?

The value of an injury case is extremely variable. The seriousness of the injury and the egregiousness of the fault In causing it play a role in a case’s value, as do many other factors, such as the identity of the settlement decision makers or the fact finder, and the plaintiff’s health leading up to the injury. Other factors extrinsic to the case itself often play an important role, such as the level of the case’s development at the time of settlement discussions or trial and the amount of evidence gathered as well as its persuasive value. So, it is actually quite common for the range of values under discussion in settlement talks to change throughout the lifespan of the case. This type of complex question does not lend itself to a quick answer,  so any early or preliminary estimate of the value of a case tends to have a very significant margin of error.

Why is my injury not healing?

Although most medical providers are optimistic at the beginning of treatment for soft tissue injuries sustained in an accident, that optimism does not always translate into real world expeditious healing. While many people fortunately do recover from acute non-fracture injuries relatively quickly and without significant lingering effects, this is not always the case. There are many reasons why a person may not heal along the standard timeframe. By way of example, this could occur because of underlying anatomical vulnerabilities, prior injury, or because the acute injury transitions into chronic pain through a process of chemical and biomechanical changes that are complex and not fully understand. Another common reason that an injury might not be progressing toward recovery on the anticipated schedule is that the initial diagnosis is not correct and therefore the wrong treatment has been provided.

What is my head injury worth?

As with any injury case, a head injury can correspond to a wide range of case values depending on the circumstances of the case as well as the manner in which the case is handled. A common head injury after an accident is a mild traumatic brain injury. The suffering experienced by victims of this condition is usually not “mild” in any sense of the word. Even a mild brain injury can cause lasting effects from headaches to confusion to personality changes and cognitive deficits. While no case should be plugged into some quick calculation in an attempt to decipher its value, this is especially true for a head or brain injury case. These cases can easily reach very high values through early and persistent hard work and time spent developing them due to the lasting nature of the effects they often leave. At the beginning of a case, the very important details that make these cases so valuable often remain unknown, so a very rough range may be the best estimate that an experienced attorney can honestly provide. The details that affect the value of a head injury case include but are not limited to:

    • Circumstances of accident
    • Defendant’s level of blameworthiness
    • Symptom intensity
    • Symptom duration
    • Level of disability
    • Number and credibility of lay witnesses
    • Mechanism of injury
    • Imaging findings
    • Neuropsychological testing results
    • Costs of medical treatment and/or life care plan
    • Consistency of medical care
    • Age
    • Work history and income level

What should I look for in a personal injury attorney?

Effective personal injury work involves preparing cases for trial and taking cases to trial if their fair value is not paid voluntarily by the other side. Nevertheless, not all personal injury attorneys have trial experience or the willingness to try a case.  Some personal injury attorneys completely opt out of trial work and hire another lawyer to handle the trial if a case does not settle easily. We believe that trial readiness enhances case values and recommend that accident victims look for an attorney who has significant trial experience.

How much do personal injury lawyers charge?

Many personal injury lawyers, including our firm, work on a contingency fee basis when it comes to charging for their services. What this means is that the fee for legal services is “contingent” or dependent upon a successful outcome. If a recovery is not obtained for the client’s injuries, the client does not have to pay for the lawyer’s services, regardless of how much time the lawyer may have spent working on the case. If a recovery is obtained for the client, the lawyer’s fee will be a percentage of that recovery. The amount of the percentage often varies depending on the practice area of the case, as different types of cases have different levels of required investment and risk. For example, a complex malpractice case will have a higher percentage contingency fee than an auto accident case due to the higher case costs and greater degree of risk of losing at trial.

Where can I find a personal injury claim calculator?

In life, there are problems that lend themselves to shortcuts or quick fixes and there are problems that don’t. A personal injury claim definitely falls into the second category. A personal injury claim calculator defies the imagination. The value of a personal injury case is an exceedingly complex question. It takes years of experience to develop the judgment necessary to accurately evaluate a personal injury case, and this process is more an art than a science in most cases. Art is not best left to artificial intelligence, but to a dedicated and thorough practitioner of their craft. The only way to get an accurate idea of the range of possible outcomes in a given case is for the case to be thoroughly evaluated by a very experienced personal injury lawyer.

What are examples of a serious injury?

Like beauty, it is often the case that seriousness is in the eye of the beholder. For a professional athlete or a pianist, for example, the permanent loss of use of even a single finger could be devastating while the same injury may be nothing more than a minor inconvenience to a talk show host. The best measure of the seriousness of an injury is the degree to which it will impact the life of the victim and for how long. Many personal injury lawyers consider an injury serious if it is permanent and causes pain and/or significantly disrupts life activities.

How can I settle an injury insurance claim without a lawyer?

Like performing surgery on oneself, settling a serious personal injury claim without legal representation is not something that any professional in his or her right mind can recommend. There are valuable benefits to having competent legal representation that far outweigh the costs of having an attorney in virtually all such cases. The best advice for settling an injury insurance claim without a lawyer would be to learn as much as you possibly can by doing extensive research to minimize the knowledge and experience gap between yourself and an experienced attorney as much as possible. If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Any discrepancy between knowledge on the part of participants to a negotiation will almost certainly be taken advantage of by the opposing party. If you aren’t open to eliminating the knowledge gap by obtaining legal representation who knows more about the subject at hand than the average insurance adjuster, you may find that you’ll end up getting what you pay for.

How do you file a lawsuit in Washington State?

Lawsuits are initiated in Washington State by the filing and service of a complaint and a summons to each defendant in the case. The filing process is different in each county; some counties require paper filings and some offer electronic filing. Some courts provide additional documents that must be served on each defendant at the time of filing, such as a case schedule and/or a cover sheet. No matter where the case is filed however, each defendant must be served with the filing documents personally. The easiest way to facilitate this is to use a professional process server. They complaint must outline the plaintiff’s case, setting forth the facts that satisfy the elements entitling the plaintiff to the relief sought. A single case may raise the possibility of proving multiple causes of action. The facts supporting each cause of action must be set forth in the complaint. It is generally inadvisable for a lay person to file a complaint on his or her own without first having the documents reviewed by a lawyer qualified in that practice area, at the very minimum.

If I lose a lawsuit what happens?

If you lose a lawsuit in Washington, you will be barred from obtaining any recovery unless you file and win an appeal of the judgment dismissing your case. Generally speaking, you have 30 days from the date your lawsuit is dismissed to file an appeal. If you lost a lawsuit, you may also have to pay certain costs incurred by the prevailing party in defending themselves in the case.

How long does it take to sue someone or sue an insurance company in civil court?

The length of time a civil case is pending before it is resolved can vary widely. If handled quickly, a civil case may be resolved in one year or less. A two-year lifespan is not uncommon for a civil injury case against a single defendant or against an insurance company. Sometimes lawsuits in civil court may last a few years if delays occur. Defendants and civil lawsuits are notorious for implementing strategies that delay civil cases as delay benefits the defense by prolonging the time that the plaintiff must wait to secure justice.

Nursing Homes

Is it negligence or neglect?

Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonably prudent medical provider would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. This is the same standard of care that applies in many tort cases. If a case involves negligence that can be proven to have resulted in injury, the plaintiff is entitled to obtain his or her actual damages.

Neglect is defined as a pattern of contact or inaction by a person or entity with a duty of care to provide the goods and services that maintain the physical or mental health of a vulnerable adult, or a failure to avoid or prevent physical or mental harm of a vulnerable adult; or an act or omission by a person or entity with a duty of care that demonstrates a serious disregard of the consequences of such a magnitude as to constitute a clear and present danger to the vulnerable adult’s health welfare or safety including but not limited to conduct that endangers a vulnerable adult through the exposure to or production of methamphetamine. If a case involves neglect that can be proven to have resulted in injury the plaintiff may obtain his or her actual damages plus reasonable attorneys’ fees. The same is also true if a case involves abuse of a vulnerable adult. Abuse is defined as the willful action or inaction that inflicts injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment on a vulnerable adult. Abuse include sexual abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, and personal exploitation, and improper use of restraint against a vulnerable adult.

Can I sue a nursing home for negligence or neglect?

If a nursing home failed to provide services or negligently provided services needed to maintain the resident’s well-being, it may be sued for negligence or neglect. Whether an individual provider or a large facility fails to provide proper care, the facility may be held responsible for the harm, whether it was ultimately caused by corporate decision-making or by its local staff. Whether to sue for negligence or neglect or both will depend upon the particular case. The best way to get advice specific to your situation is to call an attorney and provide full information about the problems with your own or your loved one’s care.

What can I do if a nursing home is not reporting COVID-19?

If a nursing home or assisted living facility is not reporting COVID-19 cases, the first thing you should do is report the facility to the State. Good infection control processes have never been more important in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and case count recording is an essential part of that process.

If a nursing home is not reporting cases of COVID-19, first called DSHS to report the issue. If you believe anyone may have been harmed as a result of the facility’s silence, contact an attorney right away to discuss your options.

Can I sue a nursing home for COVID-19?

The short answer is it depends. Just because a resident got COVID-19 while being cared for in a facility does not necessarily mean that the nursing home was negligent or neglectful, but facilities do have a special role to play in protecting residents from contracting COVID-19 and to ensure that residents receive proper care in the event of a positive diagnosis. Whether or not a viable lawsuit can be brought heavily depends on the specific circumstances and the protocols and procedures put in place by the nursing home as well as the nursing home staff’s level of compliance with the protocols and procedures that apply.

What can I do if a nursing home is not giving medications?

There are at least four people you should call right away if you discover that a nursing home is not giving a resident his or her medication or other treatments ordered by his or her doctor. These include the person’s doctor, the nursing home administrator, the department of social services to report the incident, and a lawyer qualified to handle nursing home neglect.

What can I do if a nursing home is not adequately feeding my loved one?

As with other types of mistreatment that a loved one might discover, it is very important for family members to bring an apparent nutritional deficiency to the attention of the nursing home administration, the State Department of Social and Health Services, the resident’s doctor, and that family members consider calling an attorney to discuss other legal options. In addition, if the nursing home fails to address the situation immediately, the resident’s family should strongly consider moving their loved one to another facility.

Can you sue a nursing home for bedsores?

It is often considered negligence for a facility to fail to prevent a bed ridden person from developing pressure ulcers, otherwise known as bedsores. For a patient who already has a bedsore before he or she comes to the facility, it may also be negligence for the facility to allow the pressure ulcer to get worse. As a general rule, absent any underlying condition that inhibits healing, a facility exercising reasonable care should be able to prevent the development of bedsores or pressure ulcers and should be able to ensure that pre-existing sores heal quickly and without harming a patient’s overall health. If your loved one has developed bedsores while in a nursing home, in addition to filing a complaint with the State Department of Social and Health Services, you should consider moving your loved one to a different facility and calling a lawyer right away.

Professional malpractice

What can I do if my doctor says nothing’s wrong or fails to diagnose me?

You should never be afraid to ask for a second opinion. The more rare a condition, the longer it often takes to receive a correct diagnosis. This is due to many factors, but a causal factor that medical malpractice cases often bring to light is a physician or other provider’s inexperience in diagnosing or treating the rare condition. For a patient suffering from unexplained symptoms, it is impossible to know whether the lack of a diagnosis is reasonable or not until it’s too late. A second opinion is very valuable in protecting against the possibility of a missed serious explanation for the patient’s symptoms. Health care providers should make sure to rule out “the worst first” but this does not always occur. If you have been harmed by a delayed diagnosis on the part of your doctor, please seek a legal consultation to determine whether you a legal remedy may be available for your injuries.

Is it professional negligence?

In professional negligence cases, it is negligent for the service provider to fail to comply with what’s called “the standard of care.” The standard of care that a professional must follow is to provide the same degree of care or service that a reasonably prudent  professional acting in the same or similar circumstances would provide. A specialist or one who holds  him or herself out as a specialist is generally held to the standard of care that a reasonably prudent professional of the same specialty would exercise acting in the same or similar circumstances.

What should you do if your doctor doesn’t listen?

A doctor / patient relationship is necessarily based on trust. If you don’t feel like your doctor is listening to you, or if you feel ignored, this can easily deteriorate your trust in your doctor. A good first step in this situation is usually to try and talk to your doctor about the issue to see if it can be resolved amicably. Sometimes just focusing on improving communication can solve the problem of a person feeling ignored in a relationship.   If this does not help, consider changing doctors if you can. It is very difficult to receive good medical care for very long even from a very good physician if you are not able to communicate well and trust your doctor. Perhaps more importantly, if your doctor truly isn’t listening to you, he or she may be missing the information that holds the key to improving your health. Many medical experts teach that the information provided to a doctor by a patient makes up 80 to 90% of the information needed to arrive at a correct diagnosis, so it is very important that this information be received and taken into account.

Can I sue for a wrong diagnosis?

In certain cases yes, but many people are fortunately able to completely recover once they receive a correct diagnosis. If you are not among the fortunate majority who manage to regain the level of health they enjoyed prior to the misdiagnosis and if the mistake was preventable, you may have a viable wrongful diagnosis medical malpractice case. We offer free medical malpractice case evaluations and are happy to review with you the details of your situation.

Can I sue a hospital?

A patient who suffers serious injury or death in the hospital can sue the hospital itself if the hospital violated one of its duties of care to the patient. These hospital-specific duties include providing proper supplies, providing a safe facility, using ordinary care in selecting its employees, and supervising everyone who practices medicine at the hospital. The standard of care requires a hospital to use the same degree of care that a reasonably prudent hospital would acting in the same or similar circumstances. A violation of this duty may be established by hospital accreditation standards or the hospital’s own bylaws.

How long does it take to sue a hospital?

A lawsuit against a hospital or its staff for medical malpractice is almost always a large and complex case. The defense of medical providers against malpractice claims tends to be particularly aggressive compared to other civil cases. In part this is due to the fact that doctors find a good deal of natural favor with many jurors, allowing the defense to win frequently at trial. Additionally, the discovery process is commonly long and arduous, including numerous depositions and frequent motion hearings in court relating to disputes over what evidence must be handed over by each side. As a result, suing a hospital for malpractice is typically reserved for cases involving very serious injuries.

My lawyer missed the statute of limitations. What should I do?

Unfortunately, a missed statute of limitations is fatal to your civil claim in most instances. This is one of the few mistakes that a lawyer will probably be unable to correct. However, a blown statute of limitations is often a breach of a lawyer’s standard of care. You may be able to recover the damages you should have recovered from the defendant in your underlying case from a malpractice claim against your lawyer.

Wrongful death

Who can sue for wrongful death in Washington?

The personal representative of the estate must bring the lawsuit for wrongful death, but he or she acts for the benefit of the statutory beneficiaries. These beneficiaries are family members—not necessarily those named in the person’s will, however. The beneficiaries are the person’s spouse or registered domestic partner, their child, or their children, including step children. If there is no living heir in these categories, the lawsuit can be brought for the benefit of the person’s parents or siblings

Can I sue a hospital for wrongful death?

Yes, a hospital may be a named defendant in a wrongful death case if the hospital or its employees are legally responsible for the person’s death, i.e., if the hospital or medical provider committed negligence or malpractice that resulted in the person’s death. Hospitals are often the subject of wrongful death lawsuits. In addition to being liable for the actions of their employees, hospitals have certain responsibilities to their patients that are unique to the hospital. Among these duties are the duties to maintain safe facilities, to provide adequate and safe materials for use in patient care, to supervise those who practice medicine inside the hospital, and to avoid negligence in selecting their employees.

Is wrongful death civil or criminal?

Wrongful death is a civil cause of action. A wrongful death lawsuit can only result in an award of money damages, not jail time or other criminal punishment.

What is the difference between wrongful death and negligent homicide?

Wrongful death is a civil cause of action. Negligent homicide is a crime. Because negligent homicide is a crime, it must be proven by a prosecutor beyond a reasonable doubt, and it can result in jail time if the prosecutor prevails. Wrongful death, As a civil tort, must only be proven by a preponderance of the evidence or 51%, and it can only result in an award of money damages.

Is wrongful death medical malpractice?

The short answer is sometimes. Medical malpractice may form the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit if the medical malpractice results in a persons death. A car accident could also form the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit if it results in a persons death, or any other type of preventable injury that results in a person death.

Civil rights

Police misconduct

What is the definition and what are the remedies for police brutality?

Police brutality cases involve the excessive use of force. The courts have interpreted the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution to prohibit any use of force that is unreasonable under the circumstances. This and other legal rules prohibit police violence that is not strictly necessitated by a given situation. Lawsuits brought in such cases may result in an award of actual damages for the injury incurred, as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees in some cases.

What is qualified immunity and what can defeat police immunity?

Qualified immunity is a limited protection against a law enforcement officer being sued in his or her individual capacity. Whether or not qualified immunity is available to a particular officer in a particular case is heavily dependent upon the specific facts and circumstances at issue, and the degree to which the officer is deemed by the Court to have been on notice that his or her conduct was illegal.

Can I sue for a police officer for wrongful arrest?

Yes, a police officer may be sued individually for an arrest made without probable cause, so long as in doing so he or she violated a clearly established constitutional right, as he or she otherwise may be able to successfully claim qualified immunity. Often, the question will come down to the egregiousness of the arrest made without probable cause to believe that a crime was committed.

How do I sue the police for negligence?

According to a recent decision of the Washington Supreme Court, the police can be sued for ordinary negligence in certain circumstances, such as for negligence in executing a search warrant. There are also a multitude of other causes of action that might apply to police misconduct, so legal advice on the specific facts involved in your case is necessary in order to determine whether and how the case should be filed.

Do police have liability insurance?

Whether a department is insured or self-insured for the misconduct at issue depends on the circumstances. For example, many departments have policies providing that they will indemnify individual officers for damages that they are ordered to pay for conduct that they engaged in, even if the department or its liability insurer would not itself be on the hook for the verdict.

What can I do if I was the victim of a police shooting, pepper spray, taser, or other excessive force?

Bringing excessive force cases against police officers who use unreasonable violence under the guise of their official acts or engage in other unconstitutional or unlawful misconduct can result in justice for victims and it can make a real difference in our communities. If you were the victim of a use of force such as a shooting, tazing, pepper spray, or other violence perpetuated by a police officer that you believe was not warranted by the circumstances, you should contact a civil rights attorney to discuss your options.

What is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a federal statute that provides an avenue for recovery when a person’s First Amendment right to freedom of religious exercise is violated by the government, even if his or her religious conduct violated a seemingly neutral law, so long as the law substantially burdened the plaintiff’s religious freedom and the law is not necessary to further a compelling government interest.

What can a free speech lawyer do to help protect my rights?

Thanks to the First Amendment, the government cannot restrict the right to freedom of speech except in very limited circumstances. A free speech lawyer can help protect your rights if this freedom is violated. For example, you cannot be retaliated by the police solely on the basis of words that you say that are not “fighting words” or fall within some narrow exception to the freedom of speech. The right to criticize public officials is a common exercise of speech that may draw unlawful retaliation. If you believe that you were harmed as a result of a violation of your First Amendment rights, you should take advantage of a free consultation to determine whether you may have a civil rights case.

Can a housing discrimination lawyer help me?

Landlords and sellers are prohibited from discriminating against tenants or buyers due to their membership in a protected class. For example, a housing discrimination lawyer may be able to help you if you were discriminated against in the context of a housing opportunity on account of your age, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or family status.

Can a company cut your pay or rescind a job offer on the basis of discrimination?

A company is prohibited from discriminating against its employees or potential employees due to their membership in a protected class. As a result, employers must not make hiring decisions or implement an adverse action such as a suspension or termination on account of an employee or a potential employee’s age, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or family status.



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