An accident can strike in an instant.
Maybe you were walking into a restaurant when you slipped and fell on a wet floor, or you could have been backing out of the post office when someone slammed into you.
However, the accident happened; you now face significant medical bills and the prospect of lost income, especially if your injuries are serious.
Fortunately, a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, Washington, can help. At Kapuza Lighty, PLLC, our attorneys have assisted many people in getting the compensation they need so they can bounce back from an accident that was not their fault.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle
We have built our reputation tackling some of the most challenging cases in the Tri-Cities area involving:
- Car accidents. We have handled rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, and head-on collisions, among others.
- Motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists can suffer devastating injuries when hit by other motor vehicles.
- Trucking accidents. Large commercial vehicles can injure motorists in override, underrides, rollovers, and other accidents.
- Dog bites. The dog owner is responsible when their dog bites a person without provocation.
- Slip and fall. Our clients have slipped or tripped in businesses, on private property, and in public spaces.
- Defective products. Products should work as you expect them to. If a product ends up injuring you, it could be defective in design or manufacture, or it could be missing adequate safety warnings or instructions.
- Nursing home injuries. Neglect and abuse are far too common in Washington’s nursing homes. Residents can suffer weight loss, illness, infection, and physical injuries that warrant compensation when the nursing home staff has been negligent or abusive.
Each case is unique, and we don’t use a “one size fits all” approach to our cases. Instead, we build up a case based on the particular circumstances surrounding the accident and your injuries.
Kennewick Accident Statistics
According to the Washington State Department of Transportation crash data portal, there were more than 1,100 crashes in Kennewick during 2019.
More than 20% of those accidents had at least one injury, 20 of which were severe. Most accidents occurred on the Lewis and Clark Trail Highway between W 27th Avenue and Lewis Street.
However, not all of these accidents strictly involved only cars. During 2019, there were 24 motorcycle accidents and 52 truck accidents in Kennewick. Both categories make up more than 5% of all accidents in Kennewick.
Negligence plays a significant role in crashes that occur in Kennewick. In 2019, there were 75 crashes involving a distracted driver and 50 crashes involving alcohol impairment. These high-risk accidents make up around 10% of all accidents in Kennewick.
Pedestrian accidents are the least likely accident to occur in Kennewick. During 2019, there were only 11 pedestrian accidents.
However, they carry the highest percentage of injuries, with more than 90% of accidents resulting in an injury or fatality.
While accidents involving injury are commonplace in Kennewick, our personal injury attorneys are there to help. At Kapuza Lighty, our personal injury lawyers in Kennewick, Washington, work exclusively with victims of accidents like these.
If you suffer injuries in an accident, a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick can help build your case.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer in Kennewick, Washington Can Help
The team at Kapuza Lighty can help you obtain compensation for your injuries by gathering the evidence necessary to prove that someone is legally responsible for your injuries.
We can also help you document your injuries so that you can seek the maximum compensation available under the law.
A personal injury attorney in Kennewick, Washington can:
- Meet with you to discuss how you were injured;
- Review any police report or defective product;
- Interview witnesses who saw you get injured;
- Gather medical records and other evidence that shows the severity of your injuries;
- Handle all communications with insurance companies so you can focus on your recovery; and
- Negotiate a settlement.
Unfortunately, many accident victims do not think they can afford a personal injury attorney, but the reality is that they can’t afford not to hire a lawyer.
Without an attorney, you will be left to negotiate the terms of a settlement on your own. Don’t expect the insurance company to make a fair settlement offer.
Many unwary victims sign away their right to compensation because they cannot adequately assess how much their injuries are worth.
In addition to medical bills and lost wages, you can also receive money for pain and suffering and emotional distress. Too many victims underestimate the value of these “non-economic” losses, so they settle for an inadequate sum of money.
Remember, once you agree to a settlement, you won’t get another chance to ask the defendant for more compensation.
What to Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
There are thousands of lawyers in Washington. How do you know which one is right for you? Here are 10 tips:
1. Look for an Attorney Who Focuses on Personal Injury Law
Someone whose practice primarily focuses on divorce or criminal matters might not have the experience you need.
2. Consider the Type of Injury You’ve Suffered
When you find a personal injury attorney, you should make sure that they focus on the type of injury that you suffered. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you should find a personal injury lawyer that lists car accident cases as one of its practice areas.
3. Expect Professionalism
A lawyer should have a professional-looking website that contains helpful information.
4. Meet for an Initial Consultation
You can ask the lawyer any questions you want and get his or her perspective on your case. Meeting with a personal injury lawyer is a good way to get a feel for the lawyer’s communication style and knowledge of this area of law.
5. Review the Firm’s Track Record
Before hiring a personal injury attorney, you should get a sense of the firm’s track record by reading client reviews, testimonials, and past case results. This information will give you a sense of the firm’s success rate, which is usually determined by client satisfaction.
6. Ask the Right Questions
Before hiring a personal injury attorney, you should make sure you ask the right questions. Some important questions to ask include:
- Who in your firm will work on my case?
- Approximately what percentage of cases do you settle?
- How do you approach settlements?
- How do you communicate with your clients?
Pay close attention to how the lawyer responds to your questions. You should feel satisfied with how the lawyer responds before hiring him or her.
7. Consider a Firm That You Can Trust
You should make sure you choose a personal injury lawyer that will answer your questions and address your concerns.
A lawyer should not try to mislead you or exhibit condescending talk or behavior. A lawyer that is honest with you about the law applicable to your case and your chances of settling or winning is the type of attorney you should look to hire.
8. Get a Reference from a Family Member or Friend
If you know someone who was involved in a personal injury case, chances are they might know a good personal injury lawyer. If you are struggling with finding the right personal injury lawyer for you, asking a family member or friend for a referral is a great first step.
9. Look for a Lawyer Who Has a Compatible Personality with Your Own
Personality is a key but often overlooked trait when considering an attorney. It is important to hire a personal injury attorney with a personality compatible with your own because you will be working closely with him or her for an extended period.
You want to like your attorney and feel like they are working with your best interests in mind.
10. Ask the Attorney About How He or She Charges Fees
You should feel comfortable with the fee agreement before agreeing to sign on with an attorney.
Keeping these tips in mind when considering a personal injury lawyer will help you find a lawyer who is the best fit for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Value of My Case?
The value of your personal injury case depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries and insurance policy limitations.
The seriousness of your injuries usually has the most impact on the value of your case. Generally, the more serious your injuries, the more damages you have. Damages in personal injury cases include things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Having more damages will most likely increase the value of your case.
However, insurance policies can limit the amount of a settlement payout and reduce the value of your case. Insurance companies usually do not offer settlements that are over the policy’s limits.
Discussing your case with a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, WA, can help accurately estimate the amount of compensation you could recover.
How Much Will My Case Cost?
Personal injury lawyers typically take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you usually don’t have to pay the lawyer any money up front, but the lawyer will take a share of your final settlement or court award.
The attorney’s percentage of your award may vary depending on the size of your claim and your case’s length. If your case involves many personal injury claims or multiple defendants, the lawyer may require a larger share of your recovery than for a simple claim against a single defendant.
Additionally, if your case proceeds to trial, your lawyer will incur extra expenses, increasing the cost of your case. These extra expenses might include court fees and costs for bringing expert witnesses in to testify. Usually, these expenses will be taken out of your final award before calculating attorney fees.
The details of how your attorney’s fees will be calculated and how you will be charged for extra expenses should be included in the fee agreement you reach with your lawyer. Talk to a personal injury lawyer in Kennewick, WA, today to find out how much your case might cost.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Personal Injury Claim?
Like other states, Washington law imposes a strict deadline on how long you have to bring a claim for damages. You must file a lawsuit with the court within three years of the accident for Washington personal injury claims. This deadline applies to accidents, such as:
- Auto accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Bicycle accidents,
- Truck accidents,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Slip and fall accidents,
- Dog bites,
- Negligent security, and
- Boat accidents.
This is a strict legal deadline, known as the statute of limitations. If you miss the deadline and try to file afterward, the court will most likely deny your claim and dismiss your lawsuit. Three years might sound like a long time, but it isn’t. You are better off filing early than risk missing the deadline.
There are a few exceptions to the three-year rule, but don’t mistakenly assume they apply in your situation. Always confirm the statute of limitations with your attorney. Accidents that may have a different deadline typically involve medical malpractice or product liability. That is because sometimes an injury is not discovered until later.
In some cases, you could be facing a shorter deadline. For example, if a surgeon left a foreign object in your body you have one year from the time you discovered or should have discovered it to file a claim. This means that if you discovered it three years later, you would have another year from the date of discovery. However, if you found the object one year after the surgery, you still only have one year. That means the deadline in this case is shorter than the standard three years for personal injury cases.
What Damages Are Available in Washington?
Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you could be eligible to receive economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that can be quantified through specific financial losses. You can prove them through your financial records. Economic damages include:
- Medical bills to date,
- Future medical bills,
- Property damage,
- Loss of income, and
- Loss of earnings.
Non-economic damages are those damages that are not monetary losses and are subjective in nature. These damages include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish,
- Loss of consortium (spouse claim), and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Some states cap the maximum amount of non-economic damages you can receive. Washington outlawed damage caps.
You may also be familiar with punitive damages, which are awarded to punish or deter the defendant from engaging in similar activity. While Washington allows punitive damages, courts very rarely award them.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Kennewick, WA, Today
Accidents happen, but there are things you can do to bounce back stronger than before. At Kapuza Lighty, PLLC, we practice exclusively in personal injury law, and we have a long list of satisfied clients. Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience.
We understand that each case is different. For that reason, we will tailor our services to the needs of your case.
Unlike some law firms, we represent only individuals. As a result, we have battled with many insurance companies. Using our services can give you leverage against your insurance company that could result in a favorable case result or a higher settlement amount.
Additionally, working with the personal injury attorneys at Kapuza Lighty, PLLC, can help you avoid making mistakes in your case. Although most cases settle, we prepare for every case as if it will go to trial.
To find out more, please contact one of our attorneys to schedule your free case evaluation. You have nothing to lose.