If you’ve been injured in Bellevue due to another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. The Bellevue personal injury lawyers of Tamaki Law have been helping Bellevue residents get compensation for their injuries for decades, and we know how to get positive results for our clients. If you’ve been injured and another person or entity was at fault, call us today at (425) 679-6421 for a free consultation, and let us fight for justice for you and your family.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury claims are civil court cases that deal primarily with obtaining compensation for damages or injuries caused by another party’s negligence. They can apply to every kind of injury caused by another party, from slipping and falling on a wet restaurant floor to sustaining injuries from the use of excessive force by a law enforcement officer.
Unlike criminal court cases that seek to convict a person or entity of a crime, civil court cases, like personal injury claims, seek to obtain compensation as their main goal. The degree of negligence that caused a particular accident can sometimes reach the level of criminal negligence, which may affect the outcome of a personal injury claim.
Without their hard work, I would have been completely taken advantage of by the insurance company. – Kelcy
Common Causes of Personal Injury Cases in Bellevue
Personal injury law covers a wide range of possible injuries, physical or otherwise. Here are some common causes of severe injury in Washington:
Motor vehicle accidents make up the largest cause of personal injury cases in the United States, accounting for more than half of personal injury claims.Read More
A collision between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle can be devastating. If the truck driver or his company was entirely at fault for the crash, you shouldn’t have to pay for your medical care and other expenses.Read More
When a motorcyclist is involved in an accident with another vehicle, they’re likely to suffer much more severe injuries than the other vehicle’s occupants. If you weren’t at fault for your motorcycle accident, you could be eligible for compensation.Read More
Although Washington is a bicycle-friendly state, bicycle accidents are on the rise here. Bicycles are small and hard to see, and most motorists aren’t looking out for them when making turns or crossing intersections. If you were injured in a crash of this type that wasn’t your fault, you could seek compensation for your injuries.Read More
Even a walk from a shop to your car across a parking lot can be fraught with danger if there are reckless drivers around. If you’re injured in an accident of this type, talk with an attorney to see if you’re eligible for compensation.Read More
Slip and fall injuries, especially those sustained while on the job, also make up a substantial portion of injury claims.Read more
Losing a family member is hard enough when it occurs in the natural course of life. When someone else’s careless behavior resulted in the accident that caused your loved one’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit can at least bring financial resources to cover your unexpected expenses.Read More
Sustaining an injury due to a doctor’s negligence or carelessness is the basis for a large portion of personal injury claims.Read more
When you’re physically assaulted by someone else, and you sustain injuries, you could have a personal injury claim.Read more
Injuries due to a hazard on another’s property, such as an uncovered swimming pool behind a vacant home, are a common cause for personal injury claims.
Construction sites are riddled with safety hazards, and if one of those hazards was not secured properly or the workers are not properly notified of a hazard, they can easily be injured. Construction workers on the job can file workers’ comp claims for those types of injuries. Visitors to the construction site who are injured because of safety hazards can file personal injury claims.Read more
A dog’s owner may be held responsible for their dog biting someone in Washington, even if the dog had never bitten anyone before or behaved in a dangerous manner.Read more
Steps to Take After an Accident
If you’ve just been in an accident and were injured, here are some helpful tips to keep yourself safe and start the process of building a personal injury claim.
- Get to safety. First and foremost, get yourself or any other injured persons away from danger. Clear the scene of the accident before assessing property damage or injuries.
- Notify authorities. If the accident caused injuries, get emergency medical personnel on site as soon as it is safe to do so. Notify police of the accident if there was property damage totaling over $500.
- Get a medical evaluation. Even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously injured, submit to a full evaluation by qualified medical personnel. They may find internal injuries or brain injuries that won’t manifest immediately. Additionally, this initial doctor visit begins the medical records paper trail that connects your injuries with the accident you were in.
- Get insurance information. If you’re in a motor vehicle accident or any accident where the other party has insurance, get their insurance information immediately. Make sure to get the insurance company’s name, policy number, and policy holder’s name, address, and phone number. The more information you can collect now, the easier it will be to file your personal injury claim.
- Start documenting immediately. If possible, start documenting your accident and surrounding circumstances immediately. Take photos of the scene of the accident, any property damage, of emergency personnel on site, or any visible injuries sustained. If possible, obtain an incident report from the police and the records of any medical treatments administered to you. This information will be invaluable when building your claim.
- Watch what you say. Don’t speak to any other involved parties about the cause of the accident, and refrain from posting anything about it on social media. Even an apology can be taken out of context and construed as an admission of fault. It’s important not to let your words be used against you, as they could diminish the amount of your compensation.
- Get legal help. If your accident was the result of another party’s negligence, retain legal counsel as soon as possible, preferably before speaking to the liable party’s insurance company. Don’t answer questions about the accident or sign any forms from an insurance agent without first hiring an attorney.
Do I Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury law spans a wide range of injuries and accidents. Determining whether you should pursue a personal injury claim for damages depends on a few key factors.
- Severity of the accident. Generally, the more severe your accident or injuries, the more important it is to seek compensation afterward. In order to obtain compensation, you must have experienced some form of material loss that is substantial enough to affect your or your family’s health and well-being.
- Negligence caused the accident. If you believe that your accident was caused by another party’s negligent behavior, you may have a valid personal injury claim. Negligent behavior is defined as failing to behave in a manner that someone with ordinary prudence would behave, either by action or omission of action. Driving while drunk or a police officer using excessive force during an arrest are examples of negligent behavior.
- Collectability. Collectability refers to the ability of the defendant to pay for damages if a court finds them liable for your accident. With personal injury claims involving large insurance companies, such as car or truck accidents, collectability is not an issue as these companies have huge legal teams and resources available, but with smaller companies or individuals that have little or no insurance coverage, even if a court rules in your favor, you may not be able to obtain much in compensation.
If you’ve been involved in an accident that caused you or your family member severe injury, the accident was caused by another party’s negligence, and the negligent party could potentially pay compensation, you may have a valid personal injury claim, and you should seek legal help right away.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Personal Injury Claim in Bellevue?
Though you’re certainly able to file a personal injury claim on your own, having an experienced attorney to assist you is beneficial in many ways.
Personal injury firms are well versed in insurance company tactics. We take pride in knowing how to deal with insurance adjusters and the myriad of ways they will try to either deny your claim outright or offer you a settlement far below what you deserve. We will take the lead at the negotiating table and make sure you get full and fair compensation for your losses.
We will do the hard work for you. If you or a family member has suffered a traumatic experience that left you injured, taking the time and energy to build a comprehensive personal injury claim is not high on your list of priorities. We will do all the legwork, including investigating your accident, interviewing witnesses, and gathering evidence to support your claim so you can take the time to recover from your injuries or help your family through this ordeal.
Knowledge of Washington personal injury case law and experience with personal injury claims is vital to accurately estimate the amount of damages you may be able to recover. Anyone can present a copy of a bill for medical treatment or an estimate for repairing damage to a vehicle, but an experienced attorney will look at all damages from an accident, not just the material ones. Noneconomic damages, like mental anguish or loss of enjoyment of life, factor heavily in determining the total amount of compensation due to an accident victim. Your attorney can help you make sure that the amount you’re requesting in compensation corresponds to all your injuries, not just the ones you can see.
Reputation is also an important factor in personal injury law. An insurance company is going to take a demand letter from a reputable personal injury firm more seriously than they would a letter from an individual. Hiring an attorney shows the insurance company that you won’t be satisfied with a settlement to cover medical bills and that you’re in this for the long haul.
Hiring a lawyer also brings the threat of a lawsuit to bear on an insurance company. If you try to pursue a claim for damages on your own, and the insurance company denies you outright or offers a settlement far less than you’ve requested, you have little recourse. But with a lawyer representing you, you can file a lawsuit if you’re denied compensation. Taking a case to court costs time and money. Even if the insurance company is able to successfully argue that their client was not responsible for your accident, they still have to calculate whether they want to spend money on litigation, court fees, and expert witnesses to do so.
And lastly, having an attorney may help you get more in compensation than you could get on your own. A 2016 study from Martindale-Nolo research showed that having an attorney pays off: 91 percent of personal injury victims that retained legal counsel received a payout or settlement, compared with just over 50 percent of those that didn’t. Not only that, but the average payout amount also increased substantially with the help of an attorney. The average settlement amount for personal injury claimants without an attorney was $17,600. The average settlement amount for those that did have legal counsel? Well over $77,000. Hiring an experienced attorney for your personal injury claim may not be necessary, but it certainly helps.
Why hire Tamaki Law for My Personal Injury Claim?
Tamaki Law has been helping our clients get compensation for their injuries since 1994. We are a group of diverse, dedicated legal professionals that put our clients’ needs first and fight for fair and just compensation for their injuries, regardless of the circumstances. We’ve seen all types of personal injury claims, from slip and fall accidents to civil rights violations, and we have the experience and the credentials to get the positive outcome you need.
The founder of our firm, Blaine Tamaki, has been practicing law for over 30 years and received the distinguished Trial Lawyer of the Year award in 2012 from the Washington State Association for Justice. He was also designated a ‘Super Lawyer’ by Washington Law and Politics. Blaine founded Tamaki Law in 1994 with the intent to help his clients pursue personal injury claims while also giving back to the community. Tamaki Law supports several community businesses, organizations, and charities through regular donations.
The most important reason you should choose Tamaki Law for your personal injury case is that we get positive results. We’ve helped our clients recover hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, and though we can’t guarantee a positive result for your claim, we will apply the same professionalism, integrity, and zeal to your case as we did to theirs.
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover?
The amount of compensation you may be able to obtain varies widely. Each personal injury claim is unique, and determining the total amount you could obtain is difficult without knowing the full circumstances of your accident or injuries.
“Compensatory damages” are compensation meant to provide relief for losses suffered due to another person or entity’s negligence. The more extreme these losses, the more you may be able to obtain in compensation. Compensatory damages can apply to the following economic and noneconomic losses:
If an accident caused damage to your property, such as a vehicle or motorcycle, you can seek compensation to cover this loss.
Some personal injury cases, like those involving sexual assault or civil rights violations, can cause severe anxiety, depression, or loss of well-being. Compensation for emotional distress can help make up for this loss.
If you or a family member has been severely injured, you can seek compensation to cover hospital stays, prescription medication, or emergency room fees.
Sustaining an injury after an accident can often mean time off work for recovery. If you or a family member were forced to take time away from work to recover from an injury or care for an injured loved one, you may be able to recover compensation to make up for lost wages.
If an accident leaves you disabled in the long term or affects your ability to work in the same capacity as before the accident, you could be compensated for the lower rate of pay or long-term medical care.
If an injury leaves you unable to drive or transport yourself, you could be compensated for any added transportation costs, particularly to and from medical appointments.
If an accident ends in a long-term disability like paralysis, you may need to increase the living space for the victim or provide adequate in-home medical care. You could be compensated for these added expenses.
If the worst should happen, and an accident ends in a family member’s death, any loved ones or family dependent on them for survival can seek compensation for the emotional impact and loss of income.
Washington state does not cap compensatory damages like many other states. This means that we can pursue the full amount of compensation for your losses, especially noneconomic losses like pain and suffering or emotional anguish.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost in Bellevue?
Costs for hiring a personal injury lawyer vary depending on the type of injury and the amount of work needed to obtain a settlement or award. Most personal injury lawyers, Tamaki Law included, work on a contingency fee basis. This means that we take payment in the form of a percentage of the settlement or award you receive as compensation. If we aren’t successful in getting you compensation for your injuries, you don’t pay anything. This contingency fee plan is helpful for personal injury claimants because it means you pay nothing upfront, and it’s helpful for personal injury firms because it gives us good incentive to work hard to get you the compensation you need to get back to your life.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been injured in Bellevue and another party was responsible, call Tamaki Law today and start down the road to recovery. We will help you get compensation for your injuries and restore your peace of mind. Call (425) 679-6421 today for a free consultation, and let us put our years of experience with personal injury cases to work for you and your family.