If you are injured in an auto accident in Washington, your auto accident law case falls under a subset of Washington personal injury laws. A personal injury is a physical or mental injury caused by another person's negligence or harmful act.
Such a case typically involves private parties bringing their claims under to Washington's tort law. A tort is a mistake or bad act. The person or entity that committed the bad act is known as the tortfeasor, and can be held accountable for the bad act.
Personal injury victims can recover monetary damages for losses caused by, and expenses caused by, an auto accident or intentional bad act. "Damages" is a legal term and means money that will be paid to the injured party to compensate for harm done. Depending on your case, your damages may include compensation for medical bills, lost work income, travel expenses to and from the doctor, property damage, any resultant physical disability, any disfigurement or scarring, emotional trauma, any mental disability incurred, and your pain and suffering.
The statute of limitations is your time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations in cases of personal injury is from two to three years, starting at the time of the accident in which you received your injury.
More complicated cases can take a very long time to settle, but typically cases take anywhere from three to eighteen months.
If the person who injured you was in the act of committing a crime when they injured you, a city, state or federal government prosecutor may decide to charge that person with breaking the law. This is thoroughly different from a personal injury case, although you quite likely will still have a personal injury case under state tort laws. In fact, the pending criminal case may increase the odds that you will win your civil case.
In the event that a person's death was caused by the negligent, reckless, or wrongful act of another, it is considered under wrongful death law. Negligent driving can result in a wrongful death situation. The people who depended on the deceased may be entitled to compensation as a result.