Catastrophic Injury in Spokane, Washington


A catastrophic injury is significant and/or permanent bodily injury caused by another’s negligent or reckless act or failure to act. Catastrophic injuries include, but are not limited to death, loss of limb, paralysis, brain injury, or neurologic impairment, and are covered by medical malpractice, product liability, wrongful death, and personal injury law. Common causes of catastrophic injury include unsafe work conditions, medical malpractice, defective products, and automobile accidents. Catastrophic injuries are permanent and oftentimes life changing. If you, or a loved one, have suffered a catastrophic injury in Washington State, it is important that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately, to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Damages in Catastrophic Injury Cases

When a person suffers a catastrophic injury as the result of another’s negligence, he or she may recover damages for economic losses such as lost wages, medical expenses, and legal fees, as well as non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of services, and emotional distress. Recoverable wages include both the wages lost while recovering from the injury and any future wages that will be lost. Lost future wages may be due to a complete inability to work, an inability to continue full time work, or acceptance of a lower paying position as a result of a lack of ability to perform in your previous position. Future medical expenses, as well as those already incurred, may also be recovered from a negligent Defendant. Determining the cost of future medical expenses and the amount of future lost wages may be difficult and oftentimes requires the calculations of an expert.

Time Limitations in Catastrophic Injury Cases

Statutes of Limitations are laws, which prescribe time limits for injured parties to sue. These time limits are meant to ensure that a party is not required to defend him or herself against a claim that has gone stale. In Washington, claims for injury against health care providers must generally be filed within three years of the date the injury occurred, or one year of the date the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered, whichever is later.¹ Claims for personal injury must be filed within three years from the date of the injury.² The time limit, under a statute of limitations, may be altered by limited circumstances, such as the death, imprisonment, or disability of a Plaintiff or a Defendant’s concealment of him or herself. In such circumstances, the time limit may stop running, or tolling, for a certain period. For example, if an injured party becomes imprisoned on a criminal charge, prior to sentencing, the statute stops tolling until said party is no longer imprisoned, or has been sentenced.³ If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in the state of Washington, you should speak with an experienced Washington personal injury attorney right away, as your time to file a claim is limited by these statutes of limitations.

¹RCW 4.16.350. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.16.350
²RCW 4.16.080. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.16.080.
³RCW 4.16.190. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.16.190

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