Washington is a no-fault car insurance state, which means that you can recover damages for personal injuries regardless of who caused the accident. In addition, Washington law allows you to recover damages for economic and non-economic losses. Read on to learn the types of damages recoverable under Washington law.
Types of Recoverable Personal Injury Damages
In general, there are three types of damages that injured plaintiffs may be able to recover in a personal injury lawsuit: non-economic, economic, and punitive damages.
Non-economic damages are those that reimburse the plaintiff for non-financial losses. These include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement or disability
Economic damages are those that reimburse the plaintiff for quantifiable financial losses. They include things like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Property damage
The court may choose to award punitive damages in cases of particularly egregious misconduct on the defendant’s part. They are meant to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar behavior. While there are some exceptions, Washington State generally does not allow punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
When calculating pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases, a few factors come into play. The most crucial is the severity of the injury, as this will determine how much the injured person is likely to suffer. Other factors include the victim’s age, occupation, and lifestyle.
In Washington, the courts can award economic and non-economic damages to victims in personal injury cases. Economic damages are intended to compensate the victim for medical bills and lost wages. On the other hand, non-economic damages cover emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and other issues related to the injury. In most cases, both types of damages are awarded.
The amount of pain and suffering damages that an injured person can recover will vary depending on the individual case. However, you need to follow the general guidelines to get an idea of what a victim might be entitled to. For example, someone who suffers a severe injury that requires long-term treatment and results in a significant loss of income is likely to be awarded more than someone with a minor injury that has no lasting effects.
To determine the amount, you need to multiply the average annual wage by 0.43. Then, you should multiply the figure by the life expectancy based on the life expectancy tables of the insurance commissioner. But the life expectancy should be at least 15 years.
Limitations on Damages
Statute of Limitations
You have three years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations sets this deadline, and if you miss it, you will be barred from seeking compensation for your injuries.
If you are found to be partly to blame for your accident, you can still recover damages, but your percentage of fault will reduce them. For example, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault, you can only recover 80 percent of your total damages.
The amount of damages you can recover in a personal injury case will also depend on the specific facts of your case. If you were injured in an accident, it is crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand what damages may be available to you and how much compensation you may be entitled to.
At Polaris Injury Law, we assist and guide injured clients through the personal injury lawsuit process so they can focus on recovery. We are staunch advocates of our clients’ rights, working hard to help ensure they receive the best possible outcome to their cases. To learn more about what we do, reach out to us for a consultation.