During this difficult time, Boohoff Law will remain committed to the people of Florida & Washington. We are still available 7 days a week to injured victims who need our help, and we offer FREE PHONE CONSULTATIONS and Electronic Sign-Ups.

Misdiagnosis

misdiagnosisWhen diagnosing patients, medical professionals use a variety of tools. Depending on the type and location of the injury, diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CTs scans, may be necessary. Physicians will report the patient’s account of symptoms: what they experience, when they appeared, whether they’ve increased (or changed) in type and severity. In forming their diagnosis, physicians may examine a patient’s past medical records or consult with colleagues or specialists.

But what if, despite years of training, the patient isn’t diagnosed properly? Misdiagnosis can cause patients further injury and harm, worsen their symptoms, produce new symptoms, and in severe cases, even lead to death.

A cough misdiagnosed as a symptom of the common flu, when it is in fact a symptom of COVID-19, may ultimately lead to a patient requiring a ventilator. A patient may receive a clean bill of health after an annual mammogram, only to find that indications of cancer were missed. Unfortunately, at the patient’s next mammogram, they may discover that the cancer was present, and growing, for over a year.

Misdiagnosis is a category of medical malpractice. Unfortunately, in most U.S. states, misdiagnoses constitute the most common basis for medical malpractice lawsuits.

Incidents of medical malpractice are frightening. Patients have a reasonable expectation of trusting medical professionals’ judgment when they seek an examination. Because we trust medical professional’s opinions, patients may reasonably believe worsening symptoms are caused by the condition itself. Patients may not be quick to question whether their physician properly diagnosed their condition.

Misdiagnosis, like all medical malpractice, violates a patient’s reasonable expectation that they can trust their physician’s opinion. Unfortunately, misdiagnoses can instill fear and panic in patients, and negatively affect their health and wellbeing.

What should you do if you suspect misdiagnosis?

Patients who suspect misdiagnosis should seek a second opinion from another doctor as soon as possible. You don’t need to vocalize your suspicions, but can simply describe your symptoms to a second physician. Obviously, the highest priority is to receive the proper treatment to alleviate or cure the ailment. Seeking a second professional opinion may provide a more accurate diagnosis, and as a result, more appropriate treatment.

But how do patients suspect misdiagnosis? After all, they aren’t medical experts, so how would they know?

The best evidence of a misdiagnosis is your own body. If the recommended treatment plan is not working or the symptoms are worsening, individuals may suspect their diagnosis is incorrect. Perhaps your doctor prescribed medication, but even after completing the prescription, your symptoms have not gotten better. Perhaps your doctor advised surgery or another treatment, but your symptoms remain the same after completing treatment.

If you seek a second opinion and the diagnosis is different, and the recommended treatment works this time, you may have suffered misdiagnosis.

Sometimes, the actions and responses of other healthcare professionals may indicate they are uneasy or suspect something is wrong. If your physician seems uncertain, it’s always a good idea to seek a second opinion.

Sometimes, you may discover or suspect that you were misdiagnosed at a later point in time. For example, a doctor may discover a cancerous lump after you were told a mammogram showed no signs of abnormality.

Always take note of feelings of suspicion and the reasons you were led to feel that way. If you suspect misdiagnosis, it’s prudent to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

How does misdiagnosis happen?

The overwhelming majority of people who enter the medical field want to treat their patients well, with correct and safe diagnoses. Misdiagnosis is seldom intentional.

Healthcare professionals are human. Misdiagnosis can result from mistakes, such as observing symptoms and making incorrect conclusions about the underlying condition. It can result from choosing the wrong interventions to treat a condition. A physician may misdiagnose because they failed to create a thorough medical history for a patient or didn’t feel that further diagnostic testing was necessary.

Misdiagnosis can stem from misreading patients’ charts, incorrectly reading diagnostic tests—and even from mix-ups of charts and test results. In some cases, one patient’s results may be switched with another making proper diagnosis nearly impossible. Misdiagnosis can result from a physician failing to seriously consider a patient’s account of their symptoms. Doctors may be tired, overworked, or experiencing symptoms of an unknown illness themselves.

However it happens, misdiagnosis is a physician’s failure to treat their patients with the appropriate standard of care. Washington state defines the standard of care as:

“[T]hat degree of care, skill, and learning expected of a reasonably prudent health care provider at that time in the profession or class to which he or she belongs, in the state of Washington, acting in the same or similar circumstances.”

What types of medical professionals misdiagnose?

Several types of medical professionals can misdiagnose. Physicians bear primary responsibility for diagnosis in all healthcare systems, clinics, and hospitals. Other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, pharmacists, and aides, typically follow the physician’s diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.

However, other healthcare professionals can also bear responsibility for a misdiagnosis. Laboratory technicians, for example, can misread or miscommunicate laboratory results. Radiologists can misread X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Pharmacists can misread or dispense incorrect prescriptions. Nurses and aides can misread instructions and describe conditions incorrectly.

Finally, hospitals and healthcare systems may bear responsibility if charts and records that contributed to a misdiagnosis were mixed up, misfiled, rendered unreadable, or incorrectly communicated.

How can a medical malpractice lawyer help me if I’m misdiagnosed?

If you suffered from a misdiagnosis, your health and general well-being may have suffered. Retaining a lawyer may benefit you in several ways.

Seeking compensation. Misdiagnosed patients who suffered harm may be entitled to seek compensation for the resulting damages by filing a medical malpractice claim. Injured victims may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical bills – Medical expenses including emergency treatment, surgery, hospitalization, doctor’s appointments, urgent care, prescription medication, rehabilitative therapy, diagnostic tests, assistive devices, and more.
  • Wages lost from work – If the condition causes the patient to miss time from work, they can recover lost wages.
  • Lifetime wages – If the misdiagnosis renders the patient unable to return to work at all, they may be entitled to lifetime wages.
  • Pain and suffering – Injured victims may be compensated for the physical, emotional, and mental pain they have endured.

Gather evidence. The outcome of any lawsuit or legal claim depends on the evidence presented by the parties. Lawyers work with investigators and skilled personnel with experience in gathering evidence in cases of medical malpractice and misdiagnosis.

Tatiana Boohoff Lawyer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney, Tatiana Boohoff

Offer expertise in the steps required of malpractice cases. Medical malpractice suits can be extremely complicated. Washington, like many states, has laws intended to shield physicians from false accusations and to keep malpractice damages minimal.

Malpractice lawsuits require more steps and certifications than other types of personal injury suit, including:

  • A Certificate of Merit – Signed by a qualified expert. A certificate must accompany any claim arguing that the standard of care was violated, effectively, acting as a representation that the patient did not receive adequate care.
  • Mandatory mediation – Both parties must complete mediation, which is a process of non-binding alternative dispute resolution.
  • A Certification of Reasonable Inquiry by the attorney – The attorney must state that they conducted a reasonable inquiry into the case before filing a lawsuit.

An experienced medical malpractice lawyer knows these steps and can fulfill them to the patient’s advantage.

For more information, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney today.


Boohoff Law
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121
(877) 999-9999

How Much Does It Cost to Talk to a Lawyer?

How Much Does It Cost to Talk to a LawyerWhen individuals or their loved ones suffer an injury at the hands of another, not only are they burdened by physical pain, but also their financial and emotional circumstances. Depending on the type of accident and the severity of the injuries suffered, victims may require years of recovery or even a lifetime of rehabilitation.

Knowing that another’s action caused pain and suffering—that was most likely preventable—can create a sense of anger among victims that may hinder their recovery. Working with a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer can help alleviate a victim’s stress and anger, so they can focus on getting back on their feet. Personal injury attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to. By allowing an attorney to take on the legal complexities of a personal injury claim, victims can breathe easy as they recover.

Victims certainly will have concerns about the process and the best next steps. When they work with the right personal injury lawyer, they can receive answers to all of their questions, and formulate a plan for moving forward with their personal injury claim. And the best part, injured victims can initially consult with an attorney for free.

How You Get Paid

In representing injured victims, our team works tirelessly to help them maximize their recovery to ensure they obtain the compensation they are entitled to. Naturally, some people have reservations about bringing a personal injury claim against another person. However, in most cases, the claim is filed against the other party’s insurance provider. In the U.S. The most common personal injury claims are car accident injury claims. However, over 70 million people in the U.S. suffer injuries requiring a hospital visit every year.

Hospital visits and the medical services provided can have significant costs. Medical expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcies in the United States. Working with a trusted personal injury attorney can help victims to ease the stress associated with the costs of their recovery.

An attorney may fight for compensation on their client’s behalf for the following damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Present and future medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs

Most victims do not realize just how much their medical care and treatment will cost. Even seemingly minor injuries can result in over $20,000 of medical expenses. The extensive costs are alarming, but injured victims who hope to fully recover deserve the best medical care they can receive. While obtaining adequate medical care may have extensive costs, victims should not have to pay for medical expenses related to injuries caused by another.

Of course, seeking compensation from an at-fault party’s insurance company will not make victims’ injuries and pain magically disappear. However, obtaining compensation can give victims the best chances of making a complete recovery and getting their lives back on track.

Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help injured victims ensure their rights are protected and that the compensation they receive is fair and adequate.

How We Get Paid

As personal injury attorneys, we have a vested interest in the success of their client’s claims. We will fight hard to protect our client’s rights and maximize their compensation. We understand the impacts that unexpected injuries can have on victims and their families.

As a result, we aim to help our clients get back to normal as soon as possible. When we negotiate a settlement or win a verdict at trial, we do so with our client’s best interests at heart. We typically operate on a contingency fee basis. Under a contingency fee agreement, our fees, as well as court costs, can be paid from the settlement funds or award received at trial. Our clients are not responsible for the upfront costs of pursuing their claim, until the claim is resolved.

While it’s true that most personal injury cases settle out of court, victims can still benefit from having a lawyer by their side to negotiate and communicate with insurance companies on their behalf. We try to avoid proceeding to trial because it takes extra time and resources. However, if an insurance company refuses to settle for a fair and reasonable amount, we will be willing and prepared to proceed to trial to ensure our clients receive the compensation they are entitled to.

Our team will only collect fees associated with pursuing a claim when the claim is resolved, whether a settlement or an award after trial. Whether we settle your case or we win a verdict at trial, only then do we get paid. While we have every intention of successfully resolving your personal injury claim, if we do not win, you will only be charged court fees and costs. Injured victims can’t afford to not speak with a lawyer about their personal injury case.

Time Is of the Essence

After suffering an injury, victims only have limited time to bring a personal injury claim against the negligent party. The timeline for filing a personal injury claim is governed by each state’s statute of limitations. For example, Washington’s statute of limitations requires a claim to be filed within three years of the date of the injury, whereas, Florida’s statute of limitations provides four years.

No matter what type of accident caused your injuries, you deserve a skilled legal team at your side working hard to protect your rights and maximize your recovery. Having an attorney’s skill and experience on your side offers the best chances of recovering the compensation you need to get better.

Speak With a Lawyer Today

Tatiana Boohoff Lawyer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney, Tatiana Boohoff

Whether you experienced a car accident, workplace accident, incident of medical malpractice, or any other accident causing you injury, you deserve to seek compensation for the damages you have incurred as a result. Someone else’s negligence may forever alter an injured victim’s life. Medical expenses often cause victims and their families unnecessary financial hardship. Do not let the losses caused by another person or company burden your family.

You have nothing to lose by picking up the phone and speaking with a lawyer today. Most firms offer a free consultation and case evaluation.

If you or a loved one has suffered any injury at the hands of another, you deserve skilled legal representation at your side. Don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer today.


Boohoff Law
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121
(877) 999-9999

How to Pay for a Lawyer When You Have No Money

People who get hurt in accidents and incidents beyond their control often face severe financial strain. Medical treatment for an injury can rack up huge bills. Plus, many victims of preventable accidents miss time at work while recuperating, which limits their income.

The last thing anyone struggling through the aftermath of an unexpected injury thinks they can afford is an expensive attorney. However, here is some good news: even if you have no money at all, you can afford a top-notch lawyer to help you seek compensation after an accident that leaves you in dire financial straits. Let’s take a look at how that’s possible.

Free Consultations

A personal injury attorney represents people who have suffered unexpected, preventable injuries through no fault of their own. The attorney’s job is to recover money for those injured people from the individuals or entities whose bad decisions or actions caused the harm.

Virtually all personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. Why? Because personal injury attorneys want to make it easy for injured people to reach out to find out about their legal rights. By offering free consultations, a personal injury attorney ensures that injured people have nothing to lose in connecting with a lawyer who might be able to help them.

A free consultation serves as a “get to know you,” of sorts. During such consultations, injured individuals tell the personal injury lawyer about how they got hurt and who they think may bear the blame. The lawyer asks questions that help him or her figure out if the injured person has a potential legal claim for money damages. Both of them get to size each other up and decide whether they would make for a good fit as attorney and client.

After a free consultation, the lawyer will usually give the injured person a preliminary assessment of whether he or she has a potential legal claim for damages. The lawyer cannot make promises or guarantees, of course. This is just a first meeting, after all. However, the lawyer will usually try to give the injured individual enough information to allow him or her to decide whether to hire the lawyer to handle the case. And again, all of this happens with no up-front payment required.

Contingency Fees

If an injured person decides to hire a personal injury lawyer after the free consultation, the lawyer will virtually always represent the client on contingency. This means that the personal injury lawyer does not ask the client to pay any money up-front for the lawyer’s services. Instead, the client agrees to pay the lawyer a percentage of any money that the lawyer winds up recovering for the client. The lawyer’s fee is contingent on the lawyer getting the client paid.

In other words, even if you have no money to your name, you can still hire an experienced, skilled personal injury lawyer to represent you, and the lawyer will get to work advocating for your interests without you paying a dime upfront. If the lawyer cannot recover compensation, then the lawyer does not get paid, either. On the flip side, the more money the lawyer obtains for you, the more money the lawyer earns.

These days, lawyers and clients will often agree on a sliding scale of percentages based on the amount of money at stake and/or the amount of time or work it takes for the lawyer to recover money on the client’s behalf.

Whatever the arrangement, the lawyer and client always agree on the percentage upfront, in clear and simple terms, so that the client has a clear understanding of how the lawyer will receive a fee.

Why do personal injury lawyers work on contingency? There are two basic reasons. First, working for a contingent fee gives the injured client access to high-quality legal services. Without contingent fee arrangements, many people who desperately need legal help to recover compensation for an injury would never get justice for the harm done to them.

Second, working on contingency lines up the lawyer’s interests with the client’s. Both want the same thing: for the lawyer to obtain the most money possible to pay for the client’s injuries and losses, and for the lawyer to accomplish that goal as quickly and efficiently as possible. By working on contingency, in other words, a personal injury lawyer “invests” in a client receiving fair compensation for an injury.

Many personal injury lawyers will even pay for the running expenses of a lawsuit out of their own pockets, so clients do not have to spend a single penny in seeking justice and compensation for injuries and losses.

Never Let Money Troubles Stop You From Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer

Tatiana Boohoff Lawyer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney, Tatiana Boohoff

The fact is that anyone who suffers an injury because of someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions should still seek out a personal injury attorney, because the cost is effectively zero unless and until the lawyer recovers money, and even then, the lawyer only gets paid out of the money recovered.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s poor decisions or dangerous actions, then no matter how little money you have, you can retain a lawyer to represent you in seeking compensation for your injuries. Personal injury attorneys commit their careers to the basic principle that no one should ever go without legal representation in a personal injury case because of financial strain. A personal injury lawyer will not turn you away just because you have no money.

To learn about your legal rights after suffering an injury, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today for a free consultation to discuss your eligibility to file a claim.


Boohoff Law
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121
(877) 999-9999

Falling Cargo Accidents: What You Need to Know and How an Attorney Can Help

Everybody knows that trucking accidents are serious crashes that often leave a path of debilitating injuries and devastating damage in their wake. However, when we picture these trucking accidents, we often tend to imagine them involving collisions between trucks and some other vehicles—not realizing that trucking accidents that involve falling cargo are just as catastrophic.

When a truck’s cargo is not secured correctly, it often leads to fatal outcomes involving motorists, pedestrians, and truck drivers. In fact, according to a AAA study, falling cargo contributed to more than 200,000 crashes over four years, resulting in 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths. That is why if you have been in a falling cargo accident, you need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer fighting for you.

How Do Falling Cargo Accidents Happen?

Even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides strict regulations regarding how drivers secure their cargo, fatal accidents unfortunately still happen. Sadly, these falling cargo accidents transpire all across the country—from killing a driver in Georgia to crushing a bicyclist in California. Ultimately, the bottom line is these accidents can happen everywhere and result from a variety of reasons; however, the more common causes include the following:

Cargo Shifting

Just because a truck contains its cargo does not mean that the load is safe. Truck drivers still need to make sure to secure their shipments and take specific measures to prevent the cargo from shifting. In addition, drivers also need to check on their cargo periodically during the transport, ensuring that the load is in place at all times. Failing to do so may result in the cargo spilling out of the truck or in the truck tipping over.

Broken Tie-Downs

Anchors, tie-downs, and other safety devices that secure cargo are crucial in making sure that accidents do not happen. However, what happens when these safety measures fail? To prevent this problem from occurring, drivers need to do regular checks and ensure the condition of these safety mechanisms before securing any cargo.

Uncovered Trucks or Hauling Over the Limit

Materials such as rock, gravel, and sand are not an unusual sight on a truck. However, these loose objects may pose a significant risk to the other drivers and pedestrians if the objects fly off from an uncovered or an overfilled truck. It only takes one rock crashing into a windshield or a motorcyclist to cause a severe and fatal accident.

Serious Injuries Resulting From Cargo Accidents

What makes these specific accidents so deadly is that cargo may fall at any time and without warning—leaving motorists, pedestrians, and the truck driver with little time to react.

As these loads come undone and cause severe accidents, the specific injuries that may result include:

  • Neck and back injuries: As many victims of falling cargo are either slammed into hard objects or crushed by the weight of the cargo, neck and back injuries are common. These injuries range from moderate to severe and may significantly impact a person’s ability to perform daily activities.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: These injuries usually result from an external force to the head, such as a blow or a penetrating wound, and are often associated with several severe symptoms, such as headaches, mood changes, vomiting, dizziness, and concentration problems.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Severe trauma to the spinal cord, which falling cargo can cause, may result in chronic damage to the spinal cord and, consequently, permanent paralysis.
  • Severe lacerations: Broken glass or sharp metal from the crash may penetrate a victim’s skin and cause severe lacerations or cuts.
  • Broken bones: Usually, falling cargo accidents involve more broken bones than a regular car crash. Mainly due to the sheer force and weight of the cargo.

Who Is Liable for Falling Cargo Accidents?

Victims injured in these types of accidents not only have to deal with their significant injuries, but frequently have numerous questions, a list of concerns, and needs that they want to be met. Specifically, who may injured individuals hold accountable for their injuries and damages? Proving fault in these falling cargo accidents is quite complicated and requires the injured party to prove negligence on the part of the trucking company and/or the truck driver. Stated simply, to collect compensation for your injuries, you need to show that the at-fault parties failed to exercise a reasonable duty of care in securing the truck’s cargo.

Trucking Company

If the trucking company failed to secure its cargo correctly or did not maintain its truck in good shape—resulting in doors opening, safety mechanisms failing, or debris falling—then the trucking company is liable. In this case, injured individuals may hold the company liable for resulting injuries.

Driver

Even though truck drivers may not necessarily be responsible for the maintenance of their trucks, drivers are accountable for their actions while driving, such as checking on the load during transport and maintaining good driving behaviors, both of which can help prevent cargo-related accidents.

Third-Parties

Sometimes a trucking company will hire a third party to help with particular tasks, such as loading or unloading cargo. If these subcontractors are in charge of securing or loading the shipment, and they did not properly secure the materials, then the subcontractors may share in the liability for your injuries.

How an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Can Help

Tatiana Boohoff Lawyer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney, Tatiana Boohoff

Nobody can replace a loved one or remove the pain of a falling cargo accident. However, by obtaining an experienced truck accident lawyer to handle your case, you are ensuring that you’re doing everything you can to maximize your ultimate compensation. These attorneys can not only investigate the accident, obtaining all of the crucial evidence needed for your case, but they can also ensure that you name all potential defendants in your case and pursue all possible avenues of compensation.

If you suffered injuries due to falling cargo, do not wait any longer; contact a knowledgeable and experienced truck accident lawyer today.


Boohoff Law
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121
(877) 999-9999

Getting the Facts: What Happens After a Deposition in a Car Accident Case

A car accident can turn your world upside down. Your vehicle may be damaged, leaving you struggling to get from point A to point B. You may be injured, trying to make sense of your new reality, and juggling your day-to-day responsibilities between doctor’s appointments. On top of all that, you will need to determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your expenses. Should you decide to pursue legal action against the other parties involved in the accident, the process can be complicated.

Personal injury lawsuits often involve processes that you may be totally unfamiliar with. For example, depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may be required to respond to interrogatories or participate in a deposition. Undoubtedly, the personal injury claims process will involve big decisions that may affect the amount of compensation you can recover. You may have to decide whether you will benefit more from settling your claim or proceeding to trial.

Read on to learn more about the discovery phase of a car accident case and what you can expect after.

Building Your Case

As you think about your circumstances, you may be considering filing a lawsuit. Two important components of your case will be demonstrating negligence and establishing damages. The strength of the evidence supporting each of these elements will help you make important decisions about how to handle your case.

Negligence

To prevail in a car accident lawsuit, you must demonstrate that the other party acted negligently or intentionally. In addition, you must show that the negligent or reckless behavior caused the accident and your injuries. Depending on the facts of the accident, several different parties may be negligent. Potentially negligent parties include:

  • Another driver. If the other driver violated a traffic law, which caused the accident, they may be found negligent. Examples of traffic violations that may demonstrate negligence include speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, or running a red light. Some evidence of negligence may be included in a police report. However, other evidence of negligence will be harder to determine at the scene of the accident. At times, it may be easier to uncover evidence of negligence through a deposition or interrogatories.
  • Car manufacturer. If any vehicle involved in the accident malfunctioned in a way that caused the accident, the manufacturer may be responsible. Alternatively, your vehicle’s safety equipment mat malfunction. For instance, an airbag may fail to deploy or deploy unnecessarily. In either case, the malfunction may cause you to sustain more severe injuries. To establish whether a vehicle malfunctioned, it may be necessary to conduct a deposition of a mechanic or manufacturer. Document production may also help provide helpful evidence.
  • Local government. If the local government failed to properly maintain the roadway where the accident occurred, they may be liable. Local governments have a duty to maintain roadways that are safe for drivers. If a traffic signal malfunctions and causes an accident, the local government may be responsible for any resulting damages. However, securing information and pursuing a lawsuit against a governmental entity has restrictions and additional requirements that can be complicated to navigate.

To establish negligence, you will need to gather evidence about the events leading up to the accident. A police report or other documentation of the accident scene can provide valuable evidence initially. If law enforcement officers do not respond to the scene, be sure to file a collision report, as this is an obligation under Washington law. To build a strong case, you may also need additional evidence, such as interviews of witnesses or videos of the accident.

Damages

Getting the Facts What Happens After a Deposition in a Car Accident Case Boohoff LawAfter a car accident, you are likely to be dealing with damage to your vehicle and as well as physical injuries. Depending on the seriousness of the accident, injuries can range from scratches and bruises to traumatic brain injuries.

Types of damages that are often recovered after sustaining injuries in a car accident include:

Medical expenses: The amount of your medical expenses will depend on the severity of your injuries. However, medical costs are likely to include doctor’s bills, hospital stays, and medications. If your injuries will require future care or ongoing rehabilitation, these expenses may also be recoverable.

Loss of income: Your injuries may require you to miss work, resulting in lost wages. These lost wages along with future time off are potentially recoverable damages. If your injuries limit your ability to perform your job or opportunities for future advancement, you may recover lost future earnings.

Property damage: Chances are high your car was damaged in the accident. In addition, the accident may have also damaged property you had with you in the vehicle. In your personal injury claim, you can seek the costs of repair or replacement of damaged property.

Emotional distress: Injured victims often experience emotional distress after an accident. Emotional distress can take many forms. For example, victims may experience depression from immobility caused by their injuries or PTSD that is triggered when riding in a car. You may recover for these damages.

Loss of enjoyment: Your injuries may limit your ability to perform activities you previously enjoyed, like playing an instrument or participating in sports. Injured victims may recover for the loss of enjoyment of these activities.

Punitive damages: You may have heard of defendants securing huge sums of money in the form of punitive damages. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate victims for their injuries, but rather, to punish the defendant for egregious behavior. Washington State does not permit a jury to award punitive damages, but in select circumstances, a court may award increased damages.

Calculating some damages will be straightforward, but others may require the input of experts, such as an economist or a medical expert. Include the full extent of the impact of your injuries in your damages claim. Any potential settlement or recovery will be based on the damages you assert in your claim.

Conducting Discovery

While a police report and pictures of the accident scene will provide valuable insight, more in-depth research and evidence is often needed to build a strong case. The phase of a trial where the parties gather evidence is called discovery. The process utilized during discovery and the timeline is mandated by the courts. Parties often mutually agree to extend the timeline for discovery. Scheduling and gathering the required information can be a time- and work-intensive process.

Depositions

Depositions provide sworn, out-of-court, oral testimony of witnesses or parties to a lawsuit. While it is sworn testimony, depositions do not happen in court or before a judge. The person being deposed is the one being questioned. Normally the deposed party, their lawyer (if they have one), the lawyer for the opposing party, and a court reporter are present. Any party to the case and their attorney also have a right to be present.

The deposition is conducted by the lawyer for the opposing party. The attorney for the deposed party can object to questions being asked of their client. Some depositions are calm and simply a fact gathering process. Other times, they can become heated, especially if they are addressing a contentious disputed fact of the case.

All depositions must follow the procedural requirements of the relevant state. After a deposition, a court reporter will generally prepare a transcript for review by both parties. At this point, it is important to identify any errors or omissions in testimony because the testimony may be referenced later in court.

Depositions allow the parties to gather evidence and receive a preview of any evidence that may be used against them at trial. Depositions are also helpful in preserving witness testimony while it is fresh, rather than waiting months or years before a trial.

Interrogatories

While depositions are oral testimony of a witness, interrogatories are written questions provided to the opposing party for response. Interrogatories are also called “requests for further information.” Any questions included in interrogatories must be relevant to the issues involved in the lawsuit. Interrogatories are intended to clarify facts.

For example, in a car accident case, interrogatories may seek to undercover facts that demonstrate the other driver’s negligence, such as:

  • How fast were you driving at the time of the accident?
  • Within the past five years, have you been involved in any other automobile accident?
  • Where were you coming from when the accident occurred? Where were you going?
  • Did you consume any alcohol or medication in the 24 hours before the accident?

The above questions are just examples. However, they are intended to illustrate how well-crafted interrogatories can help draw out important information for the case. The questions will vary for each scenario. Additionally, the responding party will do their best to avoid providing harmful information where possible.

Document Production Requests

Depositions and interrogatories focus on getting information directly from people. In many situations, however, relevant evidence is contained in documents under the control of another party. To gain this information, a party will have to issue document production requests, also called “requests for production.” This is a legal request for documents, electronically stored information, or other tangible items that pertain to the subject matter of the lawsuit.

The other party is not obligated to produce any documents that are protected by attorney-client privilege or any other privilege. Other reasons for not producing documents may be that they are unavailable or if providing the document would be unduly burdensome.

Strategy After Discovery

The discovery phase of the trial, including depositions, will likely provide valuable information that will help evaluate the strength of your case. After this phase is completed, it is a good time to reevaluate your strategy. You may reconsider whether you want to continue to trial or attempt to settle.

Settlement

The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled outside of court. Settlements are often favored because they offer a quicker resolution, more immediate compensation for the victim, and certainty in the outcome. Discovering evidence of the other party’s fault through depositions or other discovery, may provide leverage for an improved settlement offer. Alternatively, if discovery failed to provide you with solid evidence, you may consider a settlement to ensure some recovery.

Trial

While a much smaller percentage of cases proceed through the entire trial process, sometimes this is the better strategy. If the depositions or other discovery provide strong facts to support your position, it may become clear that the settlement offer is inadequate. Knowing you have strong evidence on your side may reduce the risk of an uncertain outcome at trial.

Should you choose to proceed to trial after discovery, it will be necessary to file and resolve any motions about the admissibility of evidence. If key evidence is found to be inadmissible, this may be another juncture to consider your settlement options. The jury will also be selected before the trial officially begins.

The parties are authorized to settle at any point before a final verdict is issued by the jury. The amount of negotiation power will depend on whether the arguments in the courtroom tend to support your position.

Contact an Attorney for Help

Tatiana Boohoff Lawyer
Seattle Car Accident Attorney, Tatiana Boohoff

Many aspects of a personal injury case can be overwhelming and complicated. While it may be very clear that you were injured in the accident, it is often not enough to ensure you will recover for your damages.

A qualified attorney can help injured victims analyze the facts of their case and prepare a strategy for seeking recovery. Additionally, an attorney can build leverage during the discovery phase of the trial to benefit the case. Depositions, interrogatories, and production requests are valuable tools for securing evidence to support your claims of negligence and damages.

If, however, you don’t follow the procedural requirements, you may not receive any helpful information. Experienced attorneys are familiar with the procedural requirements associated with discovery. They may ensure that injured victims can secure the facts to support their cases.

After you have completed discovery, and throughout the process, you will want to continuously explore your settlement options. When appropriate, an attorney can help evaluate any settlement offer and consider the pros and cons of settling versus continuing through the trial process.


Boohoff Law
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121
(877) 999-9999

Paying Medical Bills After a Car Accident – Who is Responsible?

Maybe you saw it happening in slow motion, like in the movies. Or maybe it was a jarring jolt out of the blue, leaving you shaken and shocked. No matter how it happens, being involved in a car accident is a traumatic event no one wants to experience. Car accidents almost always result in property damage and frequently cause injuries with varying degrees of severity. Unfortunately, accidents occur more than we would like to believe. In the United States, there are six million car accidents each year.

Accidents are always unexpected and usually traumatic experiences. After you recover from the shock, you might be thinking “This wasn’t my fault, so why am I paying all these medical bills?” When another’s negligence contributes to an accident that causes injuries, they may be liable for any resulting costs. Liable parties may be responsible for medical bills and any other accident-related damages.

Read on to learn more about how to recover financial compensation for medical bills and other damages after a car accident.

Establishing Fault

Paying Medical Bills After a Car Accident Who is Responsible Boohoff LawThe first step in determining whether another party might be responsible for your medical bills is establishing fault. To establish fault, injured parties must demonstrate that another’s actions were intentional or negligent when causing their injuries.

Oftentimes, the driver who caused the accident was negligent in doing so. However, there are additional parties who may be responsible for damages caused by the accident. Potentially liable parties may include:

Another driver: If you were hit by another driver who acted negligently, they should bear the responsibility of your damages, including medical bills. If the driver was violating any traffic laws at the time of the accident, their behavior will likely be considered negligent. Accidents commonly occur when a driver runs a red light, speeds, or drives under the influence of alcohol. All of which involve a violation of every state’s traffic laws.

Driver’s employer: When employees, acting within the scope of their employment, cause an accident, the employer may share liability for the resulting damages. For example, if you are hit by a truck driver on their delivery route, the employer may bear responsibility for the driver’s actions.

Local government: Perhaps a large pothole or a broken traffic signal caused your accident. The local government might share in the liability for any accidents caused by inadequate roadway maintenance. Local government agencies have a duty to keep the roadways of their towns safe for drivers. Inadequate maintenance or a failure to properly monitor road conditions are a breach of this duty. Unlike many states, Washington permits individuals to file claims against governmental entities to recover financial compensation for any damages caused by the government’s action or inaction.

Vehicle manufacturer: Cars are complicated pieces of machinery, and if any one component fails or malfunctions, there can be dangerous consequences. If a vehicle’s failure to operate properly contributed to an accident causing injury, the manufacturer may be responsible for any resulting damages.

Establishing the fault of another party can be a complicated and fact-intensive process. You will need to ensure that you compile sufficient evidence demonstrating fault. To ensure any evidence from the scene of the accident is preserved, be sure to file a collision report. A collision report may record witness information, photos, and whether any citations were issued. Furthermore, not only will a collision report help collect evidence, but it is also a requirement under Washington law.

Injured victims must consider whether additional evidence, e.g., interviews or documentation, will help to support their case. Should you decide to pursue legal action, after filing a personal injury claim, you will have the opportunity to engage in discovery. During the discovery phase of the claims process, injured parties may interview eyewitnesses or gather documentation of their injuries and treatment. Any piece of evidence that may demonstrate another’s fault will strengthen your claim. Discovery can be a complicated process, but an attorney may help injured parties navigate the process.

Determining Damages

Even when an accident was another party’s fault, injured victims may only recover compensation if they can prove the accident caused them damages. Evaluate all potential damages so that your request for recovery is comprehensive.

Of course, injured parties may be entitled to recover compensation for their medical bills. In addition to medical bills, you might miss work or cannot participate in activities you enjoyed before the accident.

Common damages accident victims may be entitled to include:

  • Medical expenses: In addition to medical bills, you should be sure to consider the cost of future care. Injured victims may recover the costs of long-term rehabilitation or any assistive devices, such as crutches or a wheelchair.
  • Loss of income: Your injuries and medical visits may require you to miss work or work reduced hours. In some cases, injured victims may be entitled to recover for their lost wages. Additionally, your injuries may affect your long term ability to perform job duties or work full time. If this is the case, you may consider seeking recovery for loss of future earnings.
  • Emotional distress: You may be suffering from emotional distress after the accident. Perhaps your injuries have left you isolated and feeling depressed. Car accident victims frequently experience symptoms of PTSD that may be triggered whenever the brakes are slammed in a car. If you are dealing with ongoing emotional distress, those damages may be included in your recovery demand.
  • Property damages: When another’s negligence causes damage to your property, including your vehicle and its contents, you may be entitled to compensation for any necessary repairs or replacement.
  • Loss of enjoyment: Your injuries may keep you from participating in activities you previously enjoyed. For example, if you no longer can play an instrument or participate in sports, you may recover for your loss of enjoyment.

In some cases, injured victims may also be entitled to punitive or compensatory damages. These damages are not meant to compensate victims for the costs of their injuries but rather to punish the behavior that caused the injury. Punitive damages are typically only awarded by a jury, and are generally not available in Washington.

While some damages calculations are straightforward, such as adding up medical bills, others may require the input of experts. For example, an economist may be needed to help predict a victim’s lost future earnings. A medical expert may need to advise on the anticipated costs of future care required for the specific injuries. When appropriate, an attorney may help injured victims coordinate with any necessary experts. Expert testimony can help to ensure that injured victims have sufficient evidence to support their claims for damages.

Working With Insurance Companies

After being involved in an accident, if you are able, you should always exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved. Insurance companies are almost always involved in paying for costs resulting from a car accident. It is important to realize, however, that the insurance companies’ interests may not be aligned with yours. Depending on the amount of coverage the driver’s policy provides, the full extent of your damages may not be recoverable from the insurance company.

When dealing with insurance companies, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Report immediately. Make your insurer aware of the accident and any relevant details as soon as possible. Do not rely on the other party to report the accident to their insurer. They may avoid reporting the accident, especially if they are likely to be found at fault. You may need to contact the other party’s insurer to make them aware. However, be careful not to share too many details when speaking with other driver’s insurance providers.
  • Be cautious. The other party’s insurer is there to represent the interests of the other driver, not your own. Be sure not to say anything that could be interpreted as an admission of your own fault. A seemingly innocent statement about how the accident happened could be twisted to point fault back in your direction.
  • Expect pushback. The responsible party’s insurance company will be motivated to pay the least amount possible for the claims brought against them. Representatives will try to discredit the extent of your injuries and the amount of damages you claim. It is helpful to keep documentation of all medical visits and medical recommendations as evidence.
  • Avoid early settlement. Any early settlement offer from an insurance company is likely an amount that is much less than you deserve. The insurance company will be preying on your need for immediate financial relief to pay your medical bills or repair your vehicle. If you can be patient, it will likely pay off in the long run.
  • Avoid signing paperwork. An insurance company may try to overwhelm you with paperwork, but be sure to read every document before signing it. Oftentimes, settlement agreements will require victims to waive their right to claim additional damages in the future.
  • Be persistent. Insurance companies may try to drag out the process to incentivize you to settle. However, delays in the claims process may potentially cause you to miss the opportunity to file a personal injury claim. In Washington, the statute of limitations requires injured parties to file a personal injury claim within three years of the date of the accident. Washington law places requirements on insurers. Insurance companies have an obligation to act reasonably promptly in response to communications and to promptly settle claims. Make sure the insurance company you are dealing with knows you are familiar with these requirements.

Sometimes, the other party’s insurance company or your insurance company will fully satisfy the damages you claim. In that case, you may not need to file a lawsuit to recover additional damages. Oftentimes, insurance companies will refuse to fully compensate you or the policy limits will be insufficient to cover all of your damages.

When appropriate, an attorney can assist injured parties in communicating and negotiating with insurance representatives. Experienced attorneys can help injured victims evaluate whether the settlement amount offered is fair. An attorney can ensure that you understand your rights under the law and advocate for them appropriately.

When to Expect Payment

Receiving payment for your damages can be a long process. How quickly your claim is resolved will depend on factors that include your desire to settle or take the case to trial.

  • Settlement: All parties in a personal injury claim may settle at any time throughout the claims process. Settlement offers will almost always be lower than the full amount of damages you have requested. On the other hand, you may receive prompt payment when you accept a settlement. However, you must decide whether the benefit of prompt payment outweighs potentially receiving more money by taking the case to trial. The primary benefits of settlement are speedier receipt of payment and certainty of payout.
  • Trial: Taking your case to trial is likely to be a long process. Typically, after initiating a personal injury lawsuit, the parties will complete the discovery stage. Throughout discovery, parties have an opportunity to secure additional evidence. The parties may perform interviews or collect documents. Additional evidence may strengthen your settlement position, or it may demonstrate that you are better off accepting a settlement offer. After discovery, the injured party will decide whether to proceed to trial or resume settlement negotiations. Although you may receive a higher payout at trial, the outcome is never certain. In some instances, a jury may determine that the injured party is not as injured as they claim. In that case, you may receive a lower amount than the insurance company initially offered to pay in a settlement. Given this uncertainty, the majority of personal injury cases are settled before trial.

Ultimately, the amount of time it takes to resolve your claim will depend on whether you are inclined to settle or take the case to trial. Extremely complex cases may take several months or years to reach a resolution without a settlement. It will help to work with an experienced attorney to understand the strength of your case and whether a settlement offer is worth accepting.

Find an Attorney Who Can Help

Tatiana Boohoff Lawyer
Seattle Car Accident Attorney, Tatiana Boohoff

If you have suffered from injuries in a car accident, the last thing you want to be doing is fighting to get your medical bills paid. The other party may deny fault or discredit the extent of your injuries. Insurance companies may intentionally delay the claims process in an attempt to encourage you to settle.

A qualified attorney regularly works with injured victims to develop a comprehensive plan for their recovery. Each plan will take into account the unique facts and circumstances of the injured party’s case. An attorney may work with their clients to help them understand and evaluate the evidence.

When appropriate, they may communicate with the other insurance companies and advise a strategy for settlement. Lawyers can also help their clients understand when they should expect to receive payment and how the timing may impact their current financial obligations.


Boohoff Law
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121
(877) 999-9999