Were you hurt as a result of a pedestrian accident that wasn’t your fault? Do you wonder how you are going to pay for your injuries? The good news is that you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the Kennewick personal injury lawyers of Tamaki Law at (509) 783-8333 to schedule a free consultation. One of our well-qualified attorneys can review the facts of your accident and let you know how much compensation you may be eligible to obtain under Washington state law.
State laws protect pedestrians from those that operate motor vehicles negligently or recklessly. Drivers have a duty to operate their vehicle in a safe manner, which includes obeying the rules of the road. Hit and run accidents are, unfortunately, all too common. Route 395, Chemical Drive, and W. Okanagan Place have all been recent scenes of pedestrian accidents.
Do I Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
You have been injured by a motor vehicle. One minute you were walking along the road, and the next thing you know, you have been struck by a motor vehicle. You are hurt. You may be in the hospital. Your stay may be lengthy. In addition to dealing with the pain resulting from your injuries, you are probably concerned about how you are going to pay your medical bills. You may be wondering how this accident will affect your ability to work. How long before you are able to return to work? What if your injuries prevent you from ever going back to work? A knowledgeable attorney can provide the answers to these questions as well as any others that you may have.
It is vitally important that you do not speak to anyone about the accident until you talk to a pedestrian accident lawyer. The insurance company representative of the driver of the vehicle that struck you does not have your best interests at heart. Their job is to offer you a low-ball settlement in the hopes that you will accept it. Their offer probably will not adequately compensate you for your injuries and the pain and suffering you have endured. That settlement offer may not provide sufficient compensation for lost wages and other items which the law entitles you to, such as loss of enjoyment of life. Once you accept a settlement from the insurance company, the matter is closed. You may not ask for more money.
Washington state law allows people to recover compensation for economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses include those that have monetary value attached. Such losses include medical expenses, both current and those you may reasonably encounter in the future. Economic losses also include claims for lost wages. In addition to your medical bills, you have your usual expenses, and if you’re without income, you may be having a difficult time paying these expenses. Also, the injuries you have sustained may prevent you from ever working again.
The law also permits an injured party to recover compensation for noneconomic losses. Noneconomic losses can be defined as subjective, non-monetary losses. Claims for noneconomic losses may include pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, injury to reputation, humiliation, and destruction of the parent-child relationship. You may have a claim for loss of enjoyment of life because your life has been turned upside down, and you may not be able to do the things that you once did that brought you joy. For instance, if you enjoyed gardening before the accident but now cannot partake in that activity, the law provides that you are entitled to compensation for that loss. Your loved ones may be entitled to compensation for the loss of your companionship because you are not the same person that you were before the accident.
If an attorney represents you, they can negotiate with the insurance company representative. If negotiations do not result in an acceptable settlement, they can take the matter to court. They can prepare and file a lawsuit on your behalf seeking damages.
An experienced attorney knows how to gather evidence to support your claim. They have access to resources that can be invaluable in presenting your claim to the court or in negotiations with the insurance company.
Why Choose Tamaki Law to Represent You
Tamaki Law was founded over 25 years ago. We have an impressive record of achieving satisfactory results for our clients. We realize that money will not make the trauma you have endured go away, but that is the best that the law can offer to compensate you for your injuries. Our attorneys will work diligently to ensure that you get every dollar of compensation to which the law entitles you.
All of our attorneys have significant trial experience and have won awards in recognition of their skill. Blaine Tamaki, the founding member of our firm, has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law & Politics. In August 2012, he received the coveted award of Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Washington State Association for Justice.
All of our personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing upfront for our legal services, and we only get paid if you get paid.
Types of Pedestrian Accidents We Handle
We handle pedestrian accidents that have been caused by the following:
- Distracted driving, such as when the driver was texting on a cellphone
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving under the influence of a controlled or illegal substance
- Mechanical failure
- Tired driving
- Poor maintenance of the roadway
- Poor maintenance of traffic signs and signals
- Improper maintenance of the vehicle
This list is by no means exhaustive but rather provides a sample of the potential causes of pedestrian accidents.
The injuries sustained by pedestrians that have been struck by a motor vehicle may be relatively minor, or they may be life-threatening and life-altering. Common injuries sustained by people that have been injured in a pedestrian accident include:
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Traumatic brain injury
- Road rash
- Spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial/dental fractures
The first step we will take if you choose Tamaki Law to represent you is to conduct a thorough investigation of your accident. We will use our network of valuable resources, which include accident reconstruction experts, traffic engineers, and mechanical engineers, to analyze the accident. We will also obtain all of the records the police have, including any lab work they may have done to determine whether alcohol or drugs played a part in the accident. This analysis will help us determine why the accident happened and help us discover all of the parties responsible for your injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of common questions that people who have been injured in pedestrian accidents have:
The law in Washington state sets out a statute of limitations. This law states that any claim for compensation must be filed within three years from the date of the accident. Should you wait to file your lawsuit until after the statutory deadline has passed, your case will likely be thrown out. If that happens, you have missed your opportunity to pursue damages from the at-fault party in court.
Washington state follows the doctrine of contributory fault. Under this doctrine, any negligence on your part will not bar you from collecting damages. However, any award of damages will be reduced by the percentage that you are determined to be responsible for the accident. For example, if the court determines that you are ten percent responsible for the accident and the court awards you $100,000, you will receive an amount that is ten percent less. You will ultimately receive $90,000, which is ten percent less than $100,000.
The law in Washington state does not permit a claim for punitive damages. The one exception is if the accident was caused by the willful or malicious conduct of a minor, then the parents or legal guardians may be subject to a claim for punitive damages. However, such a claim is limited to $5,000.
Yes, you may sue the government, but there are certain legal requirements. If the state or local government is responsible for your injuries, the law requires that a formal notice must be filed with the government entity. A complaint may not be filed in court until 60 days have elapsed since the formal notice was given.
If you have suffered injuries as a result of a pedestrian accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to damages. Contact Tamaki Law at (509) 783-8333 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys today.